A Bark Gallery session provides you with high quality photos to remember your pet forever. What about the memories I miss by not being there? I figured I would offer some quick tips and tricks to get the best candid photos when your pet does something out of the ordinary and I am not there to capture it! The tips are based primarily on cellphones, and entry level cameras. The best camera is the one that you have with you! I am constantly pulling my iPhone out to capture something unique or interesting that Bear is doing. All of the photos in this blog post were taken with an iPhone. They would not print to the large wall size but they are great for sharing on social media, and with friends.
Photography needs light, this is the basic part of all photos. If you are in a dimly lit part of your house it's not ideal for photography. Look for a large window, or a room with a lot of light. One bulb in a room would be considered "dim". This helps the camera to get better results for your photo. It's best to not use flash on your phone or camera. Flash on entry level cameras and phones is very basic and doesn't offer the best results. The results sometime give the pets glowing eyes, which looks great around halloween but probably not every day of your pet. Make sure that the flash is shut off and not on auto.
Once you have your light, find something to get your pets attention. This can be a ball, treat, or other favorite toy. This is so that your pet pays full attention to you. If you have your timing right most pets will react the best the first few times of a noise, or a treat and then start to lose a bit of interest. Take several photos so that you can chose the best image. It doesn't cost anything to click several photos at once to get the best image.
If you are shooting indoors I would look for an area without a lot of clutter around. It seems like kitchens, and living rooms can work well for this. It keeps the photo simple and helps draw your attention to your pet. The majority of cameras will focus a few feet away from the subject so give a little distance from the camera. The best little trick specific to iPhones is that if you hold down the "shutter" it will take a burst of images, this works wonders as it captures several photos and you can pick the best moment. Do not use the zoom function on your entry level camera or iPhone. The zoom just doesn't work well and it will affect image quality. It's better to shoot wide in this case and crop the image later.
When you are outside, look for nice even light. If you are taking photos be aware if your shadow is creating bad light on your dog. The best days for photographing outdoors for portraits are cloudy, overcast days. This is because the light is scattered across the clouds and there isn't harsh shadows. You can also achieve the same results in open shade during the day. When you are outdoors the distractions can be a lot higher. This is a wonderful time to maybe get some profile photos. Entry level cameras work best within about 10 feet, if your dog is playing at the dog park and is further away it may be best to just enjoy the time with your pup and put the camera down. When photographing outdoors it's best to try and capture the "golden hours", which is the time around sunrise and sunset. You can sometimes try to find something a bit elevated to put your dog on to get a different perspective. When you are outdoors look for unique walls, backgrounds, for photos. Bright colors can be a lot of fun. Safety is always key, so make sure that your pet is always on a leash and you are in control.
Once you have clicked some frames, it's best to narrow down your images. We all love our pets but pick the best images and then post away on social media. One thing to keep in mind is that even though you may not get amazing photos everyday, you will have a few fun moments to share with friends. When you are ready for professional photos give me a call at Bark Gallery!
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Rick Vierkandt - Bark Gallery