Tips & tricks for photographing an "active" pet?


Girls just wanna- have fun ...
Barked: Mon Dec 4, '06 11:38am PST 
Hi All,

My brother Pip and I just joined this group. I love having my picture taken and will pose for hours on end, but Pip has ants in his pants & just can't sit still. She Who Feeds Us feels bad that we don't have many good pictures of Pip, so do any of you other photographers out there have suggestions?

Don't hate me- because I'm- beautiful...
Barked: Thu Dec 7, '06 1:51pm PST 
use the setting on your camera that is for sports, or in motion photos for one thing...and keep snapping youre bound to get one or two out of a hundred that look really good, other than that...groom him make him stand for a long time on a table to be brushed etc...then take it..he'll be too happy to lay down and relax!
Archie-Bold,- RN, CGC

What's yours is- mine! I Parti in- Color!
Barked: Sun Dec 10, '06 5:51am PST 
Hi Layla,

since I'm into posing for pictures, daddy's the one who can best answer your questions....

The first thing to ask is: which camera do you have? Most point and shoot cameras, and all of the current "digicams" and digital SLRs out there have the ability to change the settings that it takes images. The first recommendation is along the lines of what Jasmine said: put it in 'sports' or action mode, if you can. This will work best when taking pictures outdoors. Indoors, it gets a little more complicated almost always because of the lighting.

Instead of fighting the lighting, ask your mommy to get some good, strong 'halogen uplights' or, better yet, some 'natural' or 'sun' bright lights (also called full spectrum). All the indoor pictures I have of Archie start off yellow because of the lighting, and I have to fix it in the post-processing software that came with the camera. It's much easier to start with white lighting.

Once you have a relatively bright place to take pictures, the other tips that Jasmine talked about help out. The question for your mommy here is: 'what type of picture are you looking for?" Do you want a portrait of Pip, or are you looking for 'Pip in action'? Or, some of both? If you want a nice portrait picture, and grooming him doesn't work, then take him for a good run. Strap on some roller blades, and let him pull you along, or go on your bike with him next to you. When he's tired, brush his hair, then take his picture. He'll be a lot more cooperative when tired!

The other suggestions I have involve shooting in RAW, if your camera can do that, using a very fast 'bright' lens, if your camera can change lenses, and using time priority at above 1/500 (preferably 1/1000 or faster), to stop motion, if that's what you're looking for (by the way, sports mode would automatically do that, but on my camera, would make the pictures JPG, and I want RAW images that I can process).

Finally, perspective is very important - most humans are much taller than their puppies. I spend a lot of time on my belly, taking eye level pictures of Archie (or put him on a table or tall chair, and sit on the floor - that's how I got the current picture of him on his profile). If humans would do that (or hold the camera very low to the ground, and point to their pups), we'd get tons of very useful portrait-like pictures, instead of backs and tails.

Does any of that help?

Oh, and even with all of that, we still throw away something like 80% of the pictures anyway. He moved too fast for the focus, daddy missed focusing on his face (and focused on tail instead....?), set the speed too low (like 1/25!) and got a blur, or any number of mistakes. I think I've made most mistakes of what could happen (even setting the aperature too large for the light, and getting the image wiped out...).

Good luck!

Archie and Archie's dad