It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas…

I was stunned to see Christmas merchandise in a store this week.  It was peeking out from in between the clearance summer items and the Halloween costumes.  I am not ready to think about Christmas yet.  Can’t we get past Halloween first?  Maybe watch the leaves on the trees change colors first?  But ready or not, here it comes!

Annie Girl'One of the holiday traditions I enjoy most is exchanging Christmas cards.  Ironically, that is the same holiday tradition that creates the most stress!  For the past 12 years my card has featured, you guessed it, Annie Girl.  When we added a baby into the picture, the challenge to find the perfect picture grew.  I am convinced they team up before all photo sessions to make sure they never cooperate at the same time.

In hopes of sparing others a few of those frazzled, want to pull your hair out moments, here are a few dog photography tips I’ve learned.  The great news is they work year round, not just for Christmas cards.

  1. Seize the moment.  I was once told that the best camera is the one you have with you.  So true!
  2. Get on her eye-level.  This angle captures more than the top of her head and shows more of her personality.
  3. Use trained commands such as sit and stay to keep her in the frame.
  4. Allow sniff time.  Allow time for her to get used to the surroundings, props, people, and equipment.
  5. Make a new, fun noise.  If I can make a sound she has not heard before, I can usually get a curious, fun look.
  6. Work with her energy.  If I want her sitting peacefully, I need to photograph her when she is tired out a bit.  I can get action shots she is energetic and playful.
  7. Turn off the flash to avoid the crazy eyes look.  Look for  natural light.  Shoot near a window if inside.  Cloudy days can be the easiest to photograph outdoors.
  8. Limit props.  Too many props may stress her and/or clutter the photo.  Allow her to interact naturally with the prop rather than being posed.
  9. Be patient and flexible.  Try not to get caught up in recreating a perfect pose I saw somewhere.  Have fun with her and let her play and move naturally.  Allow time for her to take a break or two to play.
  10. Reward her by petting her, praising her, and maybe even giving her a few of her favorite treats for a job well done.

Coincidentally, most of these work well for photographing kids as well.  If you are working with dogs and kids, I suggest an extra dose of number 9!

When all else fails, know that they have to fall asleep sometime and they all look like angels when sleeping!

Charlotte Dog Runner

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