Your Pug and The Art of Dog Photography
Is Dog Photography an art? There’s no doubt that when you see a great picture (especially of a Pug!) you realize that’s it the work of someone with a lot of skill, luck or, more likely than not, someone with a lot of that number one ingredient for all great photographers – patience! We cannot stress enough that dog photography is a study in patience. Almost anyone can take a good picture if they go about it the right way. Let’s take a look at some of the basics in photographing your dog. Although many of the points listed here apply to all dogs, there are some other references that apply directly to Pugs.
Do you need special equipment to photograph a Pug or any other dog? The simple answer is no but, having said that, you’ll find some things very useful especially if you’re going to get serious or want to start a business on the side. If you can possibly afford it get a digital camera rather than the develop and print type. A digital camera allows you to see your results instantly and that is a very useful feature. Actually that’s true when you photograph anything not just dogs! There are many similarities between dog photography and photography in general. The ability to re-shoot a scene until you get it exactly the way you want is something you’ll learn to appreciate quickly. A digital photograph also gives you tremendous flexibility once the picture is taken. You can view the pictures on a computer without printing them. That is not only convenient but, in the end, it can save a lot of money.
It’s also easy to store digital pictures because you can save them like any other computer file. You can have folders that organize your pictures and the best part is the quality of the photograph will not deteriorate. A photograph or negative ages and can be seriously degraded over time. The danger with a digital photo is that it could become corrupted so make sure you save your files in more than one place. The zip drives available for any PC have really come down in price and provide a safe back up filing system. Don’t make the mistake of saving it to your hard drive in two location and think that you have a back up. If your hard drive gets damaged you could end up losing both files!
Another feature that is very useful (but not necessary if you’re on a budget) is to have a camera that gives you the flexibility of shutter speed and aperture which is how “wide” your lens is open and how much light is being let in when you take the picture. Don’t worry if you don’t understand these concepts. You’ll still be able to take pictures anyway. If you’re going to get serious about dog photography or photography in general we would suggest reading up on these concepts. Any book on photography will give you some very good basic information on these concepts. And, yes, there are books specifically on dog photography. Also make sure that you read the user’s manual that came with your camera!
Of the two things mentioned here, shutter speed is the most important. Any dog moves and the younger the dog the more the movement. Pugs move a lot – they respond to what’s going on around them and love to be a part of the action. The higher the shutter speed, generally, the sharper the picture. The lighting is important and whether or not your camera will automatically adjust is important as well. A shutter speed of 1/60th of a second is the slowest we like to go for a photograph of a live subject. A shutter speed of 1/120th of a second or higher is even better especially if the picture is of your Pug in motion! A shutter speed of 1/250th of a second or faster can capture your Pug in mid air!
Posing your Pug and Dog Photography
can be a challenge to even the most experienced photographers.
Hundreds of books have been written on photography and probably a few dozen on dog photography. It would be impossible to cover everything about the perfect lighting and exposure for a picture. You can spend a lifetime (and a lot of money!) on equipment and studying photography but our guess is that most people want to be able to take a good picture of their little Pug. So we’ll continue to concentrate on just the basics.
If you do not have a digital camera it would be our suggestion to buy the highest speed film your camera can handle. The higher the speed of the film the less light you’ll need to take a sharp photograph. The higher the speed the faster the shutter speed you can use. We have found the best pictures of our Pug are the ones that do not require a flash. The coloring always seems more natural and so does he. If you’re using film, a speed of 400 or higher would be our suggestion but you can try different ones to see what gives you the best results.
What to do with your Pug Pictures
Every Pug owner who has taken a picture of their furry little friend and been pleased with the results has probably wondered: would anyone buy my pictures? The answer, of course, is a qualified YES!
While there is money to be made from
the qualification is that you should really pursue this first as a hobby rather than thinking you can make a living as a dog photographer. The real reward is spending time with your Pug and enjoying his company. If you get some great photographs in the process so much the better. You will, however, be happy to know that there is a market for Pug pictures and it can be a very enjoyable hobby as well.
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