External Flash Power and Dog Photography
Another option for adding supplemental light to your dog photos is to use an external flash unit. These are battery-operated units that connect to your camera’s hot shoe and provide much more flexibility than a built-in flash does. This flexibility does, of course, come with a downside: price. An external flash unit runs you anywhere from $140 for a low-end, less-powerful unit to $500 for a higher-end, more-powerful unit.
The concept behind an external flash is similar to the concept of bouncing light. Ultimately, you can rotate, pivot, and swivel the flash head as you please so you can bounce the flash off of a ceiling, wall, or anything else. This indirect light eliminates (you guessed it) the dreaded demon-eye look.
Another advantage to an external flash unit is that you can also use it off-camera by simply connecting a wireless transmitter to your hot shoe and a receiver to the actual external flash unit that connects to a light stand.
This means that your light doesn’t always have to come directly from your camera; you can position your external flash unit wherever you’d like and even experiment with light modifiers like umbrellas and soft boxes.
Some dogs find flashes frightening. If yours is among them, don’t force the issue. Like most things, getting your dog used to the flash takes patience, time, and positive reinforcement. Go slowly at first; fire the flash once and then reward him. If he runs away, just wait for him to come back; don’t drag him back. Gradually increase the number of times you fire the flash before rewarding him.