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How to Take Photos of Dogs Chewing

Let’s face it: Most dogs chew, and you might want to photograph an action shot. Whether he’s laying into his favorite toy or your favorite shoes, chewing is probably a big part of your pooch’s life. Unless you have Cujo as a pet, this little activity falls on the slower end of the action spectrum, so you have a little more leeway than you have with running or fetching.

Here are some ideas and tips for capturing the gnaw:

  • Check your camera settings.

  • Use something enticing to promote a nice, long chew session — the plush bunny that Murphy likes to nibble the ear of, that rope toy that he still thinks he’ll get through one of these days, or even a Kong toy stuffed with frozen peanut butter.

  • When he’s really into his chewing, coordinate your colors and background. Because you have a little more control over this action than, say, a stretch, consider the color of the chew toy and the best backdrop for the setup.

    For example, have him chew his bright orange bumper toy in the green grass, or if he’s already plopped down on the bed, perhaps find a complementary-colored pillow or blanket to place behind him.

    Here, Cody enjoys a Kong toy stuffed with goodies. Because the Kong toy was bright red, the photographer decided to position Cody on a similarly colored couch to add even more red to the shot.

    image0.jpg

    43mm, 1/250 sec., f/8.0, 200

    Alternatively, consider working with different colors that complement each other well. If you’re shooting color photos, be aware of your surroundings; try not to shoot a black dog against a dark carpet, for example. You want your subject(s) to always “pop” off the background.

    image1.jpg

    28mm, 1/250 sec., f/6.3, 250

    Here, Lulu sits with her pink donut chew toy, which was strategically placed on a light blue chair for her to find.

  • Get down on your stomach and shoot at the dog’s level. You can even rest the camera on the ground if you have to.

  • To get a different look, shoot from above and try to get just enough of his attention so that he looks at you with his eyes but continues chewing. Try making a clicking sound (like you would to call a horse) as opposed to calling his name or using a squeaker, which will likely elicit too much of a reaction.

  • If your dog likes to chew his toy on a chair or sofa, you can take advantage of the angle by getting on the floor beneath him and shooting up.

  • Remember to continue shooting even if he stops chewing. There’s just something about a sleepy dog that’s pooped-out from chewing his favorite toy that’ll get you every time.

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