Guest blog by Alice Loder
Photographing puppies can be a challenge. Just like children, puppies are easily distracted, extremely hyperactive and have short bursts of energy before they get bored and need a battery recharge. However, puppies are one of the most rewarding subjects. Not only because they change so quickly, giving the images a quality and timelessness, but also because the challenge really does pay off when you successfully capture all of that cuteness in one image.
Puppies are not like dogs. Whether you are a photographer or a pet owner wanting to photograph your new arrival, no matter how much experience of photographing, you cannot apply the same techniques to puppies as you do adult dogs.
Puppies have delicate immune systems. Whether the owner chooses to vaccinate their puppy or not, it is important to be careful where you do the photo shoot. Very busy public places can be a higher risk of passing on nasty bugs and diseases, so go for a quieter and less populated location for puppies who haven’t had adequate exposure. Be also careful putting the puppy where it can jump off or get hold of things they can chew (including your equipment).
2. Don’t set the bar too high
Puppies are not accustomed to the same things as dogs, so taking a puppy out can create unpredictable reactions. Be aware that your puppy may find props, backgrounds, or something as simple as standing on a log scary. Whilst it’s great to have ideas of what you’d like to create, be realistic. If your puppy wants to run around instead of crossing its paws and tilting its head then go with it, save yourself frustration and the puppy a negative experience.
3. Don’t do too much too soon
It’s one of the biggest mistakes people make. Puppies, whilst they have a lot of energy, only have short bursts of it. So if you do action shots or play don’t do too much, or when it comes to getting the puppy to stay still or pose they will be tired and fed up.
4. Use a longer lens
Anything in a puppies face is edible. Therefore distance is your friend; it is also great for getting puppy to run back to you for some quick action shots!
5. Be patient
Puppies very rarely understand what you want. Whether it’s getting them to sit still, hold something in their mouth or run towards you, you need to expect to have to try a few times before you get the result. When it comes to making noises to get your puppy’s attention it’s important to not overdo it when one works. If you find a noise that makes puppy tilt his/her head save it for when you have the perfect shot lined up.
The most important thing to remember, have fun! Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and puppy to perform and you will find that with patience and fun you will get some creative shots to cherish before they get too big.
Alice Loder is an international multi-award winning photographer specialising in canine and equine portraiture. Her passion is creating natural portraits capturing the essence of an animal’s character, challenging stereotypes and exploring the unknown. Alice is based in the UK travelling worldwide offering both corporate and private photo shoots, workshops, one-to-one tuition, branding and one-off original prints.
One of her awards is Kennel Club Dog Photographer Of The Year 2014.
Look up Alice’s photography workshop at Enjoy Your Dog on our Events page.