Dog Photography Skills You Need to Excel - dummies

Dog Photography Skills You Need to Excel

By Kim Rodgers, Sarah Sypniewski

Just like any new activity, dog photography takes practice. As long as you’re willing to spend the time learning techniques and trying them out, you can excel. Of course, having a few of these skills helps you produce even better photos:

  • Creativity: Photography is an art, but dog photography is art with four legs and lots of slobber. Not only do you have to get creative with perspective, style, composition, color, and all that stuff you learn about in art school, you also get to work with subjects that don’t really understand English, which makes things really interesting.

    From how you get a dog’s attention to how to coax a shy dog to pose to how you do your final edits, dog photography really requires out-of-the-box thinking!

  • Dog handling skills/basic understanding of dog psychology: There’s lots to know about how dogs think and how to best work with them. If you want to photograph them, you have to understand them and be willing to communicate with them in their language.

    You need to be comfortable with how dogs interact with one another and with people, and you need to be able to direct them to some degree — at least enough to keep them safe and happy during your session. Of course, the better you are at understanding and interacting with your canine friends, the better your photos will most likely be.

  • Proficiency with cameras, lenses, and more: Obviously, you need a lot of technical knowledge and skills to be good at dog photography. You need to understand how the different parts of a camera work together to create the photograph you want. This is especially important with dog photography because the subjects move so fast.

    If Luca suddenly starts doing something really cute but you’re occupied with fiddling around with your settings, chances are you’ll miss the shot. Knowing where to set your aperture, what lens to use, and how much light you need for any given shot should be second nature. Practice until it is!

  • Business acumen: If you want to make a business out of dog photography, a love of dogs is a good starting point, but you need much more than that. You have to be a good researcher, manager, marketer, salesperson, planner, accountant, and about a dozen other things. If you truly want to succeed, you have to work hard to develop all these areas.