Activities For Photographers With Dogs

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Introduction

For all you dog owning shutterbugs out there, boy do I have some great news! Two of your favorite things in life, photography and your dog, can be metaphorically melded together to provide you with a number of fun and engaging activities that can help you honed your skills as well as further bond with your favorite four legged friend. Whether you consider yourself to be more of a landscape photographer, a portraiture aficionado, or an urban photography guru, I think that you'll find the following list of activities and exercises to be unique and  fulfilling ways to merge two of your biggest passions in life.

Urban Photography

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Any Day
Free
Easy
30 min
Items needed
Camera
Leash
Camera Bag
Activity description
This first activity can be performed by simply going out for a walk round the block or by travelling the busiest metropolitan area near you with your dog in tow. The idea behind this activity is to try and tell a story by only featuring your dog and an element of the city in a given shot. For instance, if you're looking to take picture of a famous building or other kind of landmark, try to get a shot of your dog looking a the landmark or try to block and stage your shot to make it seem as if your dog is right next to the landmark.
Step
1
Scout out locations
As any good photographer will tell you, urban photography is all about location. But it's not "location" in terms of what's the most popular area you can find as opposed to which area has the most character or which area tells the most interesting stories.
Step
2
Pack accordingly
After you've figured out where you'd like to shoot, pack the appropriate pieces of equipment you'll need to get the kinds of shots you've got in mind. When you're scouring the city looking for interesting venues to shoot at, you won't want to have to lug around every monopod, C-stand, or lens hood that you own. Determine the essentials you'll need for your shoot and only bring those along via a camera bag.
Step
3
Tell a story
Dogs have an interesting way of saying quite a lot by doing very little; dogs have naturally expressive faces and many breeds often sport very pensive dispositions when left to their own devices. Suffice it to say, dogs are naturally capable of telling great stories with the slightest tilt of their heads or the wagging of a tail, so try to capture the emotion you dog naturally brings to the shoot.
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Doggie Dress Up Photoshoot

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
30 min
Items needed
Clothing Options For Your Dog
Camera
Lighting Kit
Activity description
This activity is really gives dog owning photographers a chance to test out their color coordinating skills as well as their ability to use clothing times to tell a story... or more often than not, get a good laugh out of their audiences. Try holding a dress up photo shoot with your dog, garbing your pet in a number of outfits and accessories to try and get the perfect look for your pet. You can come up with a theme that ties all of the outfits you plan to have your dog wear together, or you can try a random assortment of clothing options. The sky's the limit!
Step
1
Stock up
The key to a successful dress up photoshoot is to have a vast array of clothing options on hand to try on throughout the shoot; if you have a particular theme in mind, like a cowboy themed photo shoot for example, be sure to bring different types of hats, as well as different colors and even sizes.
Step
2
Set up
Next, it's time to set up all of your lights, reflectors, and the like. This phase is crucial because you can begin to get an understanding of how light and shadow will affect your final pictures. If you have any gels on hand, now's the time to set them up and give the shoot some extra color.
Step
3
Dress up
Alright, now for the meat and potatoes of this activity; actually dressing up your dog. The hardest part of this portion of the activity will be containing yourself once you see your puppy dressed up as a cowboy, a police officer, an astronaut, or anything in between. Be creative and use all the options you have to their fullest potential.
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Headshot Photography

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
30 min
Items needed
Camera
Lighting Kit
Reflectors
Activity description
"Headshot" photography is the unofficial name of portraiture photography. In the same way how portraiture experts aim to create a an expressive scene by focusing on the face of their subjects, so too will a dog "headshot" photographer aim to create an expressive scene by only capturing their pet's mantle (the area that extends from their shoulders all the way up to their heads.) This style of photography requires that the photographer be able to work within a much more restrained space. Headshot photography can be thought if as the antithesis of landscape photography; whereas the former focuses on a wide field of vision, portraiture only features on one subject.
Step
1
Plan the shoot
As mentioned before, headshot photography focuses on one subject while de-emphasizing any elements that are located in the background. While it's easiest to do this by shooting your subjects against a black background (or any other solid color that isn't too bright), it's possible to take a subject's headshots in an area such as a park or a forest.
Step
2
Test things out
Once you know where you'd like to shoot your dog's headshots, you'll want to take a few photos to get a sense of the area. This step is twice as important for anyone looking to shoot an outdoor area or for anyone who plans on solely relying on natural lighting.
Step
3
Get while the getting's good
Undoubtedly the hardest part of this activity will be getting your dog to sit still for extended periods of time. If your dog has already undergone some obedience training, this problem may be alleviated to a degree. Nevertheless, it's advised that you shoot in short bursts before your dog gets restless, allow them to stretch their legs for a bit, then get back to work.
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More Fun Ideas...

Landscape Photography With Your Dog

Are you out for a nice stroll along the beach or are going along an adventurous hike along the mountains? Have you decided to bring your camera and your dog along with you? If you, you've got just about everything you need to take a number of compelling landscape photos featuring your dog and the environment.

Do A Doggie Documentary

For dog owning photographers with a good DSLR and solid editing software on hand, consider attempting to make a documentary film of a short that features your dog in their natural environment; your home. Try to capture your dog going about their daily life while also looking for opportunities to use imagery to convey emotion.

Conclusion

So there you have it; as I've hopefully conveyed with this article, going out for photo shoots with your dog can be a great way to improve your relationship with your dog while also improving your skills as a photographer at the same time. Most dogs are very photogenic creatures who just getting the extra attention from their owners. Others are a bit more bashful on camera, who might try to hide away when they see a camera in their vicinity. Both offer valuable emotions for photographers to try and capture during any given photo shoot or videography session.