Guest post from NPL Featured Photographer Amiee Stubbs of Amiee Stubbs Photography
I’ve photographed thousands of dogs, cats, and other animals over the last five years, and my fur-loving friends at Nations Photo Lab have asked me to share some of my favorite pet photography tips for National Dog Day!
1. Safety is number one!
I’d say 95% of the dogs I photograph are on a leash, and I remove the leash later in Photoshop. Keeping the dog on a leash will ensure he’s safe from distractions, like cars and other dogs. It can also help keep him in place for your photo, too!
2. Every dog is different.
Some are motivated by treats, some by toys, and others might only get excited when they hear the jingle of car keys (are we going to the dog park?!?). Bring plenty of squeaky toys, noisemakers, and fragrant treats to help get their attention.
3. Make sure you’ve got a fast shutter speed…
…because you never know what they’re going to do. One minute they’re sitting still, and the next they’re jumping around. As a general rule, I’d recommend nothing slower than 1/250 to avoid photos with blurry tails, ears, and tongues.
4. Keep the dog’s eyes in focus.
Be especially mindful of this if you’re shooting with a shallow depth of field. You don’t want a sharp nose and soft eyes. Also, be sure to get at eye level with the dog rather than looking down on him. This means you might be all the way on the ground, so pack a blanket to lie on if you’re worried about getting dirty. I promise that photographing them at their level will make your pet photos much more engaging!
5. Don’t use flash!
Using a flash can often cause strange colors to reflect in a dog’s eyes, so unless you want to spend even more time editing, avoid the flash in general. Plus, some dogs might be scared of the flashing light. I always keep a few reflectors with me during my pet sessions, and they work perfectly!
Amiee Stubbs is the Official Photographer for the Nashville Zoo, the Photojournalist for Animal Rescue Corps, and an Artist Member of HeARTs Speak. She was voted Nashville’s Best Photographer in 2014 and 2015.