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Allow Light to Determine When You Photograph Dogs

Take a second to ponder all the moments of your pooch’s life that you want to try to capture. That’s the first step to deciding when to pull out your camera. Do you want to photograph mealtime? Playtime? Naptime? Drop-a-stink-bomb-but-blame-it-on-the-cat time? A little mental inventory can go a long way in achieving photographic success!

After you decide which moments you want to catch, you have to take into account the main determining factor of indoor photography: lighting. When photographing indoors, lighting is a big deal.

Different rooms in your house get different light at different times. Make sure the room you use as a backdrop is at its brightest when you photograph in it. If your kitchen gets bright morning light, capture mealtime photos during the breakfast hour.

If late afternoon sunbeams pour through the living room windows, take advantage of the richness by taking some shots on the carpet or the couch around 3 or 4 p.m. When you book photo shoots for clients, ask them when their home gets the best light and plan around that.

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42mm, 1/250 sec., f/4.5, 100

This image of Jill and her human makes use of the abundant natural light that was flooding into their kitchen through floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors.

Also, take into account the weather. That may seem weird, given that you’re inside, but shooting on a bright, sunny day gives you a lot more light to work with than shooting on a cloudy day. Because most of the natural light outside is blocked by walls (unless you’re lucky enough to have floor-to-ceiling windows), you should capitalize on the extra brightness of a sunny day.

Even though the level of light determines what room you use as your backdrop, your dog’s energy level is what determines how he poses. Being in the bedroom doesn’t mean you have to make him lie down.

If he’s ready to play, go with it and get some shots of him bouncing around in the pillows. Or if he’d rather lie on the cool floor of the kitchen than eat his kibble there, be a dear and oblige. Forcing a dog to do something he doesn’t want to will be a miserable experience, and your photos will reflect it. Always follow your dog’s natural lead.

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