Earlier this week, I posted about Toki’s puppy playdate. Of course, I took the opportunity to try and set up some shots posing Toki with the little guys, with varying success.
Some things I learned:
1. Puppies don’t like to stay still! They’re always interested in wandering over to check out something more interesting. So try to envision your shots ahead of time, and be ready as soon as you place your subject (i.e. the puppy). You might only have a few seconds before he starts wobbling away.
2. Sometimes, the most interesting thing to a puppy is your big, shiny camera lens. It can be difficult when your subject is more intent on licking your camera (or your nose) than posing for your photo. So think of some props you might be able to use to keep your puppy still. What about a gigantic, juicy bone? (I think Milo is jealous!)
3. Puppies sleep a lot. Take advantage of the downtime to document their adorable puppy naps.
4. Puppies are small. If you have a big dog that you want to include in the photo, it can be hard to fit everyone in the shot! A wider angle lens will help. (I used a 35 mm lens for this outing, and I wished that I had brought a wider angle lens.) But . . . most importantly, work with what you’ve got.
5. It’s hard to pose puppies and dogs. You’re working with a lot of moving parts. Take advantage of different angles and techniques to capture two subjects that might not be interested in sitting right next to each other. In this case, Toki was more interested in a bone on the table, but she happened to be lined up just right.
6. Working with puppies is unpredictable. Just go with the flow, and remember to take some breaks to relax and put down the camera. Everyone–including you–will have a more enjoyable time. Plus, who doesn’t want to play with puppies?
7. When setting up a posed situation, your dog’s “stay” and “watch me” will come in handy. If you’re a camera hound, you’ll want to practice these commands with your pup! For little puppies, see tip number one. You can also encourage them to look at you (or at least make some funny faces) if you use a squeaky toy or make strange noises.
Success, kind of!
8. Frustrated? Focus on the candid shots. Posing puppies can be difficult, but hang around for long enough, and they’re bound to do something really charming.