When people find out I am a dog and horse photographer, the question I am asked the most is, “How do I take better pictures?”. Here is a look at five simple things you can do to get photos that look amazing.
Look at your location. Think about the height of your subject and what will be directly behind them. Are there houses, light poles, cars, etc.? These can be very distracting to even the best photo. You also want a background that contrasts with the colors of your dog/horse so they “pop” off the background rather than blend in.
Watch the sunlight. You always want to shoot with the sun at your back. This allows your subject to be illuminated by the light and will provide those desired highlights in their eyes. Don’t disregard a partly cloudy day, as when the sun is behind the clouds it provides a filter to keep your subject from squinting because of the sun. Also wait to photograph when the sun is low in the sky to avoid unflattering shadows on your dog/horse.
Get eye level with your subject. In most cases, this is not standing up! For dogs this means sitting on the ground or for small dogs, laying on your stomach. With most horses you can stand for or slightly bend your knees to get the best perspective of their entire body.
Have an assistant. It can be hard to hold your camera still while at the same time trying to get your dog/horse’s attention. For the best chance at an “ears up” photo, have another person in charge of making silly noises, jumping up and down, or feeding treats.
Bring “high value” treats. The cookies you normally feed may not do the trick, so bring a new treat to get your dog’s attention. Get something that is small in size so they will be eager to get more. For horses, try shaking a bucket of grain, flicking a towel, or using carrots, apples, or sugar cubes.
Just using these simple tips will give you photos you are proud to say you took yourself and have others asking YOU, “How did you take such a great photo?”.