Puppies really are the ultimate bundle of joy. For their first few months they are small enough to hold in one hand, and all they want to do is eat and sleep and squeak. Luckily for Elle, her sister had a litter of eight beautiful springer/cocker spaniel puppies earlier in the year and she got to spend bountiful amounts of time looking after them. She also found that they make the perfect models for photography! Last summer, Elle spent the day photographing her little sister's dogs, and the puppies this time around made for a great comparison. Puppies, especially at the age that her sisters were at the time of photographing, were a lot easier to capture as they were too small to run around, and were very much in the heavy sleep phase of their lives. We thought this week we would share what we have learned to improve your animal photography.
It is important to get right down onto the ground for your photography to capture the best images. Obviously there is no rule and some high above shots can be great, but to really get the most personal photos of the dogs, you want to be in their eye line. For puppies, especially with the age that Elle photographed hers at, this can be less important as they may well not have their eyes open.
With older puppies and dogs, everyone knows that their energy levels are boundless. They run at such high speed and when they’re in the mood to play, there is no stopping them. You will need to be shooting at a really high shutter speed - 1/5000 is a good place to start. Most DSLR cameras will reach this, although some lower market ones will go up to 1/4000 - this will work too. I much prefer outdoor animal photography to indoor photography; it feels a lot more natural and they can expound their energy, showing off their personalities. Though the puppies were much too young to go outside when Elle photographed them, she was able to get her little sister's dogs to run around all afternoon last year. I am also a much bigger fan of natural light than studio or indoor light. It warms up a photo in a very different way, and creates the atmosphere that I think we are all looking for in our pet photography. Just like everyone on instagram, even puppies and dogs photograph well in golden hour. Now that the warmer months are ebbing closer and closer, there is no reason to not get outside in the evenings with your camera!