Saturday, May 17, 2008

Photographing your dog

It's no secret that your little doggie is always hogging the limelight and your attention. What better way to spend some quality time together, learning subtle nuances of each other's moods and personalities, and create memories that last?

Digital cameras now are the way to go, especilly for amateur photographers like us. You get to see the reults, keep the good ones and delete the failed projects in a snap!

Here are some tips from the expert:

1. Candids
You know how quickly your doggie can move so always be prepared for a candid shot. These sometimes turn out to be the best photos - him/her trying to lick the lens or him/her yawning in the face of the camera... sleepy dogs sometimes look like they're smiling or even laughing in a still picture!.

If you have the option, setting your shutter speed for 1/125th of a second (at a minimum) can help ensure that you'll capture the moment when it happens.

2. Lighting
Natural light is the best and easiest to work with. Whether outdoors or near a big picture window, natural light can offer the warm, golden hues of sunrise and sunset or the soft, indirect light of an overcast day. Both lighting conditions remove the worry of harsh shadows and will give you the richest colors.

Red-Eye reduction helps by constricting the pupils, but can be annoying for your doggie. Try removing as far as possible to introduce lots of light and make do without flash. Or, conversely, try angling your pets gaze in a slightly different direction, away from the camera.

3. Composition
In good photographs, composition is key. Spend a little time thinking about the distance between the camera and your doggie, the angle of your camera and the scenery surrounding you.

a. Get closer: A good rule of thumb is to fill up your camera's frame (or viewfinder) with your subject. While you should get as close as possible, ensure that you have enough distance to focus properly. For most point and shoot cameras with auto-focus, you can't get more than 2 or 3 feet from your subject and still be in focus.

b. Dog's eye view: Perspective is everything when you're taking pictures. Getting on the same level as your dog can help your images tell an authentic or unique story.

c. Watch the scene: Get as far away from walls as possible, especially while indoors and using a flash, in order to avoid capturing harsh shadows. Avoid backgrounds with strong lines, patterns or distracting colours.

d. Two-thirds rule: One simple way to compose a good photograph and make it more visually interesting is to avoid centering your pooch in the middle of the frame. To do this, visualize a tic-tac-toe grid in your viewfinder, dividing the frame into thirds both horizontally and vertically. Try to place your pooch in one of the intersections away from the center. Similarly, avoid placing the horizon line in the center of your frame. Try for the top third or bottom third of the frame.

So get snapping! Notti Paws will be holding a photography contest soon so watch out for it - attractive prizes to be won!

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