View Full Version : help with first dog shoot

30th of May 2012 (Wed), 03:00
hey everyone come sunday I will be doing my first dog shoot ever and I've never shot any kind of animal. I've dipped my toes in about all of it, wedding's, automotive, sports, landscape etc. My customer (my boss) has two award winning show dogs and he wants pictures to go with his awards. I've been cruisen the different threads getting ideas of what I think he'll like but I don't know how much to charge. I believe I'll have at the most 2 hours to shoot before he has to go to work. On top of rentel fees what do you guys think is respectable for price.

And other then the fact that animals are unpredictable is there anything else I should be aware of??

30th of May 2012 (Wed), 11:10
what kind of dogs are they?

30th of May 2012 (Wed), 12:02
Dogs are no more unpredictable than people if they are well trained. My dog Subi will sit for a portrait as long as he gets a small nibble of cheese as a reward. I've used off camera softboxes with him very successfully. You may also want to include the owner in some shots, as he will likely be a reassuring and steadying influence on the dogs. Also, show dogs are generally taught to stay in place when commanded. Finally, make sure some of your shots are from approximately dog head height rather than standing human head height.

31st of May 2012 (Thu), 00:54
Good question rick, I have no idea. I guess that will be one of my questions when I talk to him tomorrow.

I'm pretty sure he wants panning shots as the main pictures for his awards but I'm sure he'll enjoy the posing shots for his personal enjoyment. He also wants the pictures at the dog beach near us.

Hugh because I will be at the beach at 10am should I get a soft box set up or just stick with a reflector and off camera speed light

31st of May 2012 (Thu), 11:55
You can probably go with just off-camera flash and a reflector. For dogs you usually want the hair sharp, and the off camera flash without softbox should do that just fine.

31st of May 2012 (Thu), 12:06
If the dogs are moving think sports photography and make sure your SS is 1/1000 or faster. Also, dogs have long faces so getting both the nose and eyes in focus will require a smaller aperture for any close up portrait work.

1st of June 2012 (Fri), 16:23
thank you voaky didn't think of those points

9th of June 2012 (Sat), 02:50
I show dogs myself and do a lot of show dog photography. I charge $600 for a show dog shoot. As far as tips - wow...that would be a whole book. To get good advertising shots of show dogs you need to KNOW show dogs and their conformation. You need to be able to analyze the dog and see what their conformation strengths and weaknesses are and make your images accordingly.

For instance for this cover shot I knew my subject was a tad short on leg so I was flat on my stomach on the (freezing cold) ground shooting up at her. If she was leggy I would have done the opposite and shot slightly down on her. Her head isn't her strong suit, so I purposefully didn't shoot any 3/4 front angle shots as it's not her best angle.

This bitch has unsurpassed ring presence and attitude coupled with a stunning headpiece so I like to capture 3/4 angle front shots of her that really capture her intensity.

Always try to get all 4 legs fairly evenly spaced when doing 3/4 front angle shots and use a long enough focal length so you don't get distortion.

And don't forget to capture the silly moments that show a lot of personality.

Get plenty of head (IF they have a nice headpiece for the breed) and full body shots.


And they don't always have to fill the frame. Sometimes the surroundings either tell a story or add a lot to the image making it more dramatic.

10th of June 2012 (Sun), 21:57
First off... Those are great shots Bayberry!

A couple of my pointers for general dog photography...

It is easier to shoot a dog if you have someone handling the dog for you. Often the owner is best because the dog is most comfortable with that person. I will often recomend a show lead on the dog because it provides some security but is very narrow and easily Photoshopped out.

I most often use flash both indoors or outdoors. Indoors, I will shoot with a multi light-setup such as this (this one, is for small size dogs). BTW, I will set up my lights using a substitute such as a stuffed animal or statue. I cannot expect the dog to have the patience to wait for me to fool around setting up lights...

http://rpcrowe.smugmug.com/Other/Photo-Equipment/Studio-for-Dog-Portraits/1010683186_NCpPD-L.jpg (http://rpcrowe.smugmug.com/Other/Photo-Equipment/12760684_65fXBq#!i=1010683186&k=NCpPD&lb=1&s=A)

Resulting in this...

http://rpcrowe.smugmug.com/Pets/MALTESE/JPEG-Joey-retouched-002/237131197_uTv44-L.jpg (http://rpcrowe.smugmug.com/Pets/MALTESE/4071290_fCncJW#!i=237131197&k=uTv44&lb=1&s=A)

For quickie shots, I will bounce a flash modified with a Joe demb Flash Diffuser pro...

http://rpcrowe.smugmug.com/Other/MALTESE-RESCUE-DOGS/i-cJ2BGfn/0/L/Cherry-02-small-L.jpg (http://rpcrowe.smugmug.com/Other/MALTESE-RESCUE-DOGS/12443645_zQBPRj#!i=1798631943&k=cJ2BGfn&lb=1&s=A)

I like to use a fairly long lens because I don't want the dog's nose to seem elongated. IMO, long lenses are as flattering to dogs as they are to people. My favorite dog (and people) lens is my 70-200mm f/4L IS.

I also like this lens for action shots. I will use AI Servo and burst mode. The focus capability of my 7D really stands out in this type of photography...

http://rpcrowe.smugmug.com/Pets/Holly-Doodle/i-xkc4nps/0/L/Bailey-01-small-L.jpg (http://rpcrowe.smugmug.com/Pets/Holly-Doodle/4347180_Sb4Pqd#!i=1792187351&k=xkc4nps&lb=1&s=A)

Another tip is to try to shoot from the dog's eye level. I am an arthritic old geezer; it hurts like heck to bend down and if I kneel, I might not get up. My solution is to pose the dog on a higher level such as this retaining wall...

http://rpcrowe.smugmug.com/Other/Boxers/Boxer-011/891845006_MoAMk-L.jpg (http://rpcrowe.smugmug.com/Other/Boxers/12453921_GKHtpF#!i=891845006&k=MoAMk&lb=1&s=A)

Additonally, be cognizent of your background. Selective focus is one way to enhance a background and to draw attention to the dog,,,

http://rpcrowe.smugmug.com/Pets/Holly-Doodle/i-ZTkkrdC/0/L/Holly-202-240-Pixels-L.jpg (http://rpcrowe.smugmug.com/Pets/Holly-Doodle/4347180_Sb4Pqd#!i=1284721830&k=ZTkkrdC&lb=1&s=A)

By the way, IMO, shooting more than one dog increases the difficulty geometrically, especially with puppies. Having helpers can be a Godsend...

http://rpcrowe.smugmug.com/Other/Boxers/Boxer-Photo-Setup-web/891865496_Y8vA3-L.jpg (http://rpcrowe.smugmug.com/Other/Boxers/12453921_GKHtpF#!i=891865496&k=Y8vA3&lb=1&s=A)

Use something to attract the dog's attention. I like to use a plastic squeeker which is designed to be sewn inside a squeek toy. These squeekers can be found in craft shops (Michael's has them for twenty five cents). I put a squeeker between my teeth and squeek by clamping down. That way I have both hands free to handle my camera and when the dog is attracted to the squeek, it looks straight into the camera...

Finally, high noon is as bad a time to photograph dogs outdoors as it is to photograph people.

10th of June 2012 (Sun), 22:44
Bayberry....WOW....just...WOW! Those are phenomenal works of art! You are my new hero, I wanna be able to do that quality of work! Do you do any field or obedience photos (those are my events)?

11th of June 2012 (Mon), 01:14
Bayberry....WOW....just...WOW! Those are phenomenal works of art! You are my new hero, I wanna be able to do that quality of work! Do you do any field or obedience photos (those are my events)?

Thank you! And yes, I have shot a ton of different dog sports.