Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Animal Photography

A lot of friends have asked me how I managed to take so many action shots of Curly as well as still shots where he looked right into the camera.

I am no professional photographer, so I don't have much to share in terms of technique.  Though I do have a few tips to share (with those who struggle with this):

1. STAY command for STILL shots - Absolutely necessary otherwise your picture will always be fuzzy and out of focus.  You need to be able to make your dog stay still (willingly - if forced down, your dog's expression will show it). 
2. TOY or TREAT to capture attention - For still shots, if you have a toy or a treat in one hand, not only will your dog be more willing to stay for the picture, but also he/she will more likely have a happy/ excited expression on his face.  In Curly's case, his eyes basically light up!  For action shots, it helps to throw a toy in the direction you want your dog to run to.  In many cases, you need to do it repeatedly to get the best shot.
3. EYE CONTACT for STILL shots - Cameras, phones are inanimate objects hence not the most interesting things to stare at for a long time while you try to set the focus or adjust the flash.  After you've done all the adjustments, try not to stare into the camera viewfinder or the screen of your iphone, but lower it a little so you can have eye contact with your dog.  This helps to capture your dog seemingly looking at the camera.
4. GET DOWN on your knees - Especially if you have small dogs, you get much better shots of your dog's expression and movement when you lower yourself (and your camera) to their eye level.
5. TV MODE of DSLR cameras for ACTION shots - iPhone is fine for still shots, but definitely not suitable for action shots.  If you have a DSLR, TV Mode can help you really capture the movement as if you've stopped time.  I love mid-air shots of my dog.

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