How to Photograph Multiple Dogs

Photographing more than one dog at a time raises the difficulty quotient immensely. Getting one dog to sit still on your own can be hard enough. Getting multiple dogs to sit still can be downright impossible if you’re working alone.

Sure, you may occasionally come across the amazingly well-trained pack that makes photographing multiples a breeze, but you’re more likely to hit some speed bumps in this area, so slow down and hang on tight!

  • Assistants is the word of the day when it comes to photographing multiple dogs in the same shot. Try to recruit one assistant for every dog in the photo. Assign each dog to an assistant so every dog has a human counterpart he can look to when confused. Your assistants should be people other than those in the photo though!

  • Have your first assistant position whichever pooch is most obedient and will likely sit the longest while the others get into place. Then, one by one, have each additional person position the other dog(s), all while assistant number one is making sure his dog stays in place.

    Try this with sit and stay commands or consider keeping the dogs in place by attaching them to leashes that you can later remove in postprocessing.

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    24mm, 1/100 sec., f/4.5, 100

  • Have your noisemakers ready to go so that as soon as each dog is situated, you can start the next task of getting them all to look at you at the same time. Because different dogs respond to different sounds, you may have to try a few different types of attention-grabbers before you find one that they all respond to.

    If squeakers or clickers aren’t doing the trick, perhaps the whole pack will know a certain word or phrase, like, “Who wants a cookie?!”

  • If you’re shooting with a wide aperture (small f-stop number), try to place the dogs on the same plane so they all stay in focus. Better yet, if you have enough available light, use a greater depth of field (a larger f-stop number) to ensure that each dog is within your focal range.

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