Here is a quick guide for taking simple, clear images with your cell phone. You may think you need a well trained dog, a fancy camera or lens and all sorts of trinkets but this is not necessarily true. Sure “better equipment” has it’s place, if it didn’t no one would use it. But you can still capture great memories with your cell phone camera.
Here are a few tips to help you capture amazing images with a simple iPhone
- Make sure you dog is comfortable. I always tell people “Images are as happy as the people in them.” This includes dogs. If your dog is the scared/ anxious type, keep the location familiar and comfortable. Avoid taking him to place he’s never been, or avoid a high traffic location or other stressors like noise, other dogs if she’s not dog friendly, etc. Keep your dog out of high heat and other extreme temperatures. All of these factors are things to consider when wanting to make sure your dog is relaxed and happy for your session.
- Consider posing and body language. You know your dog, but there are a few things to consider when capturing your dog’s Pawsonality. These things include ear position, body posture, and tongue to name a few. For a select breeds, having a long hanging tongue is normal and natural and not a sign of stress. However for many breeds, when the tongue extends below the lip and jaw, hanging outside the mouth, this is an indicator that the dog is hot and or stressed. The same is true for ears: typically ears in a forward natural position, or even perked, indicate the dog is alert, curious, and/ or relaxed. Ears pinned back in particular with hunched body posture, often indicates the dog is stressed. Keeping surroundings familiar for a relaxed experience as mentioned in #1 can contribute to these things. Make sure you stay relaxed yourself: try not to become overly anxious or commanding to your dog to create anxiety to perform.
- Use an assistant. An assistant can help you get your dogs attention, bring toys, treats, sounds or anything that will help your dog per her ears. You know her best. Sounds your dogs likes like squeaker toys, phrases, etc can bring a cute curious head tilt.
- Find a pretty background…. Especially for small dogs, the location need not be as fancy as you think. Just some simple grasses can provide the perfect scene. Look at your garden, your pet’s favorite piece of furniture, or if you have a large fleece blanket you can hang it and allow your pet to sit on it for a simple one color “backdrop”. These are just a few ideas, what can you come up with?
- You need nice lighting. There are a couple considerations with this. You’ll want to avoid dappled light where there is a mix of bright spots and shadows. We often find this in the woods, and around trees, in particular in midday sun. On that note I typically avoid midday sun and look for evening shoots, the hour or two before sunset. If it’s a cloudy overcast day, earlier times of day are fine. If your dog is black you’ll need more light than for a white dog, so keep this in mind. Often for darker dogs if I’m not using artificial lighting I’ll turn them towards the sun. This allows light to enter the eyes and look more appealing to avoid the “blob of darkness”. White dogs I often like backlit by the sun. You can see in the examples provided that I have taken simple face shots of black and white dogs with a simple iPhone 8.
- Get low and be creative with your position and angles. We often like to shoot “down” on the dogs. After all this is how most of us look at them. In the interest of time and to be speedy, this is the angle I chose with my pups below to get good face shots. You might be more creative. Browse the galleries on my site and look for other angles I’ve used on client images. Lay on the ground and get at your dogs level, or put your dog on something like a big rock and shoot up and get the sky in the background. Be creative and have fun.
Here are some simple quick illustrations I did with my iPhone 8. No special iPhone lenses or anything fancy. I did use a squeaker toy to get their attention and a few choice words they like. My dogs aren’t trained to sit or stay, they are pretty poorly behaved in fact, so don’t worry if your pup isn’t trained either.
I hope this helps you create a fun image that captures your dog’s Pawsonality! Happy snapping and we hope to see you in our calendar contest for CARE. Click here to enter. You’ll want to be sure you enter the “capturing Pawsonality” contest to have your image featured on a “day” of the month. Please do not enter the pro category.
We have 2 voting options for prizes:
1. The “Pro” Category. Please do note enter this category, but feel free to vote. These folks secured a pro session when we launched this contest earlier this year. These 14 dogs will be featured as a featured dog of the month as well as the front/ back covers. The dog in this category that gets the most votes gets the grand prize, a spot on the cover!
2. “Capturing Pawsonality”. This category is for anyone to enter a cell phone image they took of their own dog that they feels captures their dog’s personality best. The image will be featured on a day of a month of our choosing. The winner in this category with the most votes will receive a portrait session and spot monthly feature in our 2021 calendar.
The proceeds from this calendar will cover printing costs and the rest will be given directly to CARE.