How to Include Other Animals in Your Dog Photographs
Group shots don’t always consist of canine buddies. Part of dog photography can include whatever other species your dog has befriended. Whether cat, ferret, baby chick, or horse, photographing Cheyenne means capturing her buds as well!
Now the tables have turned — Jake is no longer the “ruff”est animal to photograph! Most other domesticated animals won’t sit and stay on command, so the focus of these photo sessions is all about the other species and getting them in and out of the frame quickly.
The most common type of noncanine friend is a cat, and if your dog is the cat’s BFF, you definitely want a photo of them together. To get the photo, follow these steps, and make sure you do everything slowly and steadily so you don’t startle either animal:
Get the dog in place first because he’s more likely to stay put when told.
Have an assistant wrangle the cat and attempt to comfort and calm her down in his arms.
Have the assistant sit next to the dog, with enough room between them for the cat to be placed.
The assistant can place the cat down next to the dog while continuing to comfort and pet the cat.
Have the assistant slowly inch his body out of the frame.
If the cat appears to be comfortable enough to stay in place, your assistant can slowly let go of her. If the cat seems apprehensive, she’s probably going to bolt the second your handler lets go, so instead, have him keep his hand on the cat’s back end so she continues to feel that secure touch. You can always remove the assistant’s hand in postprocessing, just like a leash.
This technique is for dogs and cats that already know each other and get along. Never force a dog and cat together if they’re not comfortable with it!
Inevitably, you’ll come across a group of animals (whether it’s a mixture of species or a dogs-only group) that simply won’t look at the camera at the same time. One dog will look at you, only for the other to look away. It’s actually quite comical and can sometimes seem as if the animals are doing it on purpose.
If you’re having trouble in this department, remember to shoot multiple photos from the same distance, angle, exposure, and focal length. If you can at least get a photo of each animal looking at you one at a time, you may be able to fix things in postprocessing.
24mm, 1/80 sec., f/4.5, 250