Shooting dogs?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by bob5820, Nov 4, 2006.

  1. bob5820 macrumors 6502a

    bob5820

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    #1
    Any advise on shooting dogs. I'll be taking pictures of my dog as well as other dogs in an off leash dog park. I imagine that I'll want to be on shutter priority but what speeds will be best suited for stopping the action. I intend to get down low and shoot at dog level rather then shooting down on them. Any other recomendations would be most helpfull.
     
  2. milozauckerman macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2005
    #2
    For doggy portraiture, treat it like a human - a normal, handholdable shutter speed. I would set the camera for aperture-priority, at a wide but decent aperture - f/4 or f/5.6 - you get enough depth of field to account for focusing errors, but enough to (usually) blur the background.

    The hard part will be focusing and framing, keeping the dog's attention, keeping him/them looking at you.

    I pulled out my Bronica SQ-A medium-format gear to photograph my parents' new beagle outside, finally got him to look at me, in decent light, etc.. Open it up and find out I loaded the film backward it had been so long since I used the camera. Next time I'm just taking my digital and shooting away.
     
  3. Dogger macrumors member

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    Oct 29, 2006
    Location:
    Vancouver BC
    #3
    Beagles are tough, they always have their noses stuck to the ground and are always on the move. Here is our Jerry caught in a snap shot.
    sorry about the background :)
    4.5
    1/800
    70mm
    ISO 200
    Cropped
    Nikon D80

    [​IMG]
     
  4. milozauckerman macrumors 6502

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    Jun 25, 2005
    #5
    Aw, cute beagle.

    One I took of Darwin two or three days ago, uncropped D70
     
  5. xrays macrumors member

    xrays

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    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    #7
    Generally, you have to shoot a lot when in group situations to get more interesting shots of animals, especially if you're looking to capture a special moment between two dogs or simply trying to isolate one animal in a natural situation. I haven't tried hitting the dog park yet, but I will be doing that eventually for a side project (pet products store needs some stock shots). It helps if you know the animals, because they will trust you, which means they might ignore you long enough to act normal while you struggle to focus and shoot. Having a fast telephoto zoom lens really helps.

    I shot this image of my dad's dog last fall, and it's one of the best in a series of about 40-50 images taken in about 10 minutes. Dogs tend to move around a lot and change their angels, so you need a bit of luck when outdoors. In a studio, it's a whole different ballgame that I'm not even willing to try.

    x.

    Canon 20D, ISO-800, 50mm f/1.8, 1/60sec @ f/2.6

    PS> It's very important to make sure the focus is sharp on the eyes, as it is with people photography as well.
     

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  6. maxi macrumors regular

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    May 23, 2006
    Location:
    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    #8
    this is newton. I love shooting dogs from down below.

    FM2, 105mm f/2 wide open, using ilford XP2 400iso

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Dogger macrumors member

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    Oct 29, 2006
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    Vancouver BC
    #9
    I know this look ! lovely dog and nicely done with the pic too.
     
  8. dogbone macrumors 68020

    dogbone

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    #10
    The best skill to have is mechanical not technical and it is a similar skill that you will see in all good photography particularly theatrical or reportage. Bresson used the term 'decisive moment' and it is the main reason why leica m series rangefinders are popular with this style.

    If you keep in mind that the perfect moment is er... momentary and that shooting at 5 frames per second still won't mean you get that moment, you will realise how important it is to practice this skill.

    It's a bit like stopping someone who was bouncing on a trampoline, you would try to get them at the point where they are neither going up or down. However you can easily predict when this is happening. But you can use it in more subtle ways. For example say you have a good model for a portrait who can hold a good pose for a while. All you need to be aware of is blinking eyes. The time when someone is less likely to blink, dog or person is right after they have already blinked. Also with models who appear to hold a similar pose you will find, if you concentrate that they have micro moment to moment subtle variation, which if you are tuned into, you can capture. Which is why two people can take apparently the same shot at almost the same time but one is much better than the other.

    With animals you have an advantage that you can play the same trick on them and they won't wise up. With people I sometimes have my camera ready and focussed at a point where they are not looking and also not seeing me, then I wait until they naturally turn around. Trouble is you only get one chance. So you need to be calm and not panic when they turn around as it will take them a few milliseconds before they notice you so you can afford to wait a fraction of a second.

    But with animals you can use this trick over and over. Let the dog look away have the camera ready and focussed then make a noise or something to attract it's attention. Study the dog a while and plan the type of expression that you'd like to capture (this is much more reliable than with people) and notice what situations it happen in. You can then artificially set these up with your camera ready and with good lighting. Maybe even had an assistant to hold a reflector, (ie a piece of white paper) which can work well for dogs who usually have large dark pupils.

    Be prepared to be patient and take the time to get exactly what you want.
     
  9. milozauckerman macrumors 6502

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    Jun 25, 2005
    #11
    Unless it's a beagle (grumblegrumble).
     
  10. n8236 macrumors 65816

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    Mar 1, 2006
    #12
    I though this post was about "shooting" dogs, as in with guns :D
     
  11. mjstew33 macrumors 601

    mjstew33

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    Illinois
    #13
    ditto. :eek:
     
  12. bob5820 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    bob5820

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    #14
    I'll give the aperture priority at f4 - f5.6 a try. Initialy I thought that I'd be better served shooting shutter priority but I can see why aperture priority would make sense. Shooting in a dog park is tougher then I thought. The dogs are moving quite a bit and usually in different directions. They always seems to be to far away or too close. Shooting down low can be a problem because as your composing the shot on one dog another is checking you out for treats. I'll keep trying there as I'll be at the dog park anyway, but I think that I need to find an easier subject to hone my skills with.
     
  13. bob5820 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    bob5820

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    #15
    Another mistake was shooting at ISO100. I'm headed back up today and think I'll give ISO400 a try.
     
  14. srf4real macrumors 68030

    srf4real

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    paradise beach FL
    #16
    I've found it helps to have a human nearby to hold the dog still.:p
    I took this at 1/1600 sec with flash to be sure I got a clear shot...

    [​IMG]

    Whenever shooting dogs, it's also wise to make sure that there is nothing else the vet can do to help.:D
     
  15. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    Oct 29, 2006
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    #17
    I actually got this from photographer friend yesterday. Enjoy.


    How to photograph a puppy .... :)


    Remove film from box and load camera.

    Remove film box from puppy's mouth and throw in trash.

    Remove puppy from trash and brush coffee grounds from muzzle.

    Choose a suitable background for photo.

    Mount camera on tripod and focus.

    Find puppy and take dirty sock from mouth.

    Place puppy in pre-focused spot and return to camera.

    Forget about spot and crawl after puppy on knees.

    Focus with one hand and fend off puppy with other hand.

    Get tissue and clean nose print from lens.

    Take flash from puppy's mouth and throw in trash and wipe off.

    Put cat outside and put peroxide on the scratch on puppy's nose.

    Put magazines back on coffee table.

    Try to get puppy's attention by squeaking toy over your head.

    Replace your glasses and check camera for damage.

    Jump up in time to grab puppy by scruff of neck and say, "No, outside! No, outside!"

    Clean up mess.

    Fix a drink.

    Sit back in Lazy Boy with drink and resolve to teach puppy "sit" and "stay" the first thing in the morning.
     
  16. bob5820 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    bob5820

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  17. srf4real macrumors 68030

    srf4real

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    Location:
    paradise beach FL
  18. dogbone macrumors 68020

    dogbone

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    Location:
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    #20
    If you are only using flash illumination as in your case then the shutter speed is irrelevant, it's the flash duration that determines the speed.
     
  19. cgratti macrumors 6502a

    cgratti

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    Dec 28, 2004
    Location:
    Central Pennsylvania, USA
    #21
    get at eye level to the dogs when shooting. If your shooting a running dog I would set the shutter to at least 1\500th sec.
     
  20. Buschmaster macrumors 65816

    Buschmaster

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    Feb 12, 2006
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #22
    Wow... you scared me with your topic title... But I love taking pictures of dogs!
     

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