I’ve photographed my fair share of dogs. It’s all about speed when you work with canines. They are a lot like a two year old with a relatively short attention span. Dogs are easily affected by any distractions in their environment so I prefer to photograph them in the studio. I prefer head shots when I can get them and I seldom use props with dogs. I feel props take away form the portrait. Most dogs react to a sudden noise such as a a squeak sound or a dog toy with a squeaker. I elevate my subject on a carpeted box that can be rotated several ways to get the proper height. By elevating the dog they can’t move around as much and you can get your studio lights to light their eyes properly. Most larger dogs are a little leery of being placed on a box and they may jump off several times. The secret is to get their attention quickly and take the shots quickly. Quite often my best photo is taken on the first or second shutter click. I seldom work with a dog beyond 10 minutes. They lose interest very quickly.
I ran into a guy at the park who had 3 gorgeous white huskies. I asked him if I could get some photos of them and invited him to my studio. When he arrived I asked him to bring one dog at a time in for pictures. Trying to photograph all 3 at once would have been a real challenge. I told him to bring in the easiest one to work with first and we would take the toughest one for last.
I preferred a high key portrait so I used a white background and a white base. The secret is to try to get proper lighting on the background to get a pure white, while not getting flare from the background as it reflects light toward the camera. I may have erred a bit on the underexposure side of the background but I got reasonable results.
The above 3 photos were the selections I made for a composite of the 3 dogs. I had to blend and match the whites to get a decent composite which was a bit tricky.
I added vignettes to each photo to get a better blend.
I then added the individual images to the composite which I printed to a 20×24 for the client. He was thrilled with the photo.
I used a Photoshop add on filter called Lucis Art to produce a print that looked like an artist sketch. Below is a closeup of one dog using this filter.
Lucis Art – Husky
Images done in Lucis Art have considerable impact when printed 16×20 or larger.