Friday, December 19, 2008

Puppy Shots 101

October 4, 2008
Sandy Creek Park, GA

People often comment on the nice portraits I take of my dogs. I attribute the results I achieve to Nikon Inc., a little bit of planning, lots of practice and a healthy dose of luck. My Nikon D80, equipped with a polarizing filter, delivers the rich colors. Knowing how to get the most out of your camera helps, and that comes with lots of practice, but in addition to knowing how to work the camera, you need to know how to work the model ... and when the model is a dog, it is imperative that the dog has a pretty solid sit-stay, so you have a few moments to compose a nice image. Some dogs take to it faster than others, and sitting, much less staying, is not Tessa's forte; we would soon realize that "whoa" came much more naturally and as you will see in later posts I used that to my advantage ad nausea!

The photo on the left shows that taking photos of a puppy with no formal training is not without challenge. At the time of this series there was no such thing as a sit-stay. The sequence, again and again, was sit-jump, often not even giving me the chance to click the shutter, much less compose an image. The result was plenty of photos like this one, but in the end, with some patience and lots of bribing the model, I got a few shots that were acceptable, and Tessa received some training in the process.

A word of caution though: As you can see here, Tessa is wearing her leash. We were in a park setting, but as long as I can not fully trust her to stay put, the leash remains attached. Even later on there will be situations when I can not take my chance with an off-leash sit-stay because the dog is simply not focused enough and/or we are in a location where an off-leash breakaway would jeopardize my dog's life. So while leashes and check cords clutter up an otherwise perfect image, I use my best judgement as to when and where to shoot these portraits and whether or not to unclip that leash. Because my dog's safety always come first, a lot of these photos have leashes running through them.
What a nose!

1 comment:

  1. What a nose, indeed. :)
    Great write up... you guys are doing great. She is very photogenic.