Dog's Eye View
When it comes to photographing animals, one of the first tips I always give is to get down low. If you think you are down low already, try to go lower. Why is this the number one tip I give new photographers? Because the simple act of getting on eye-level with your subject will transform your images. Shoot from their eye view, instead of your own. Anyone can take a top-down photo of a dog - and don't get me wrong, I love that type of photo too. But getting down low opens up all sorts of interesting angles and perspectives that will add more interest to your photos.
During most of my photo sessions - no matter the size of the dog - I'm usually lying down on my belly to get as low as possible. Once I get their attention, this angle gives me a direct view of their gorgeous eyes. Getting down low can also help to remove distractions or a cluttered background. Many images can go from blah to wow with just a simple angle change! Don't be afraid to experiment and move around.
Use Natural Props
This type of angle is not always gotten by laying flat on the ground. You can also use a natural object to pop the dog upon, such as a tree stump, park bench, or steps. Buy always remember - safety first! I always ask the owners to keep the dog on a leash and stand close by to prevent the dog from jumping off the object and possible incurring an injury. With my lens and focal length, I can isolate my subject and the owner doesn't have to worry about being in the photo at all. Propping the dog up on something has a dual effect - it gets the dog higher so you can photograph from down low and also helps keep them positioned and still while you do it. This might not work for every dog, but you can have a discussion with the dog's owner to determine the dog's comfort level in doing something like that.
Alright! Now that you know my number one photography tip, the next step is to practice! You don't even need a live animal to practice - you can use a stuffed animal or backpack, or really anything! Try different low angles with your subject, then compare the images afterward. Which ones are more pleasing to your eye?
Want more tips about getting down low for dog photography? Of course, you do! To see them, just click on the link below, then continue along the blog circle till you end up back here.