I’ve always loved photographing the beauty spots in and around Bradford, and since getting our dogs Lennon and Ringo it’s been even more fun exploring new places. There’s something about the joy a dog brings that makes the whole experience brilliant – just seeing them walking, exploring and playing with a wagging tail makes all of the effort of dog ownership worthwhile! We sadly lost Lennon last year to illness and it was heart-breaking, but I’m so glad we had so many adventures and that I caught them on camera, as I’ve now got so many lovely photos of him to look back on. He absolutely loved Shipley Glen and Baildon Moor, and there’s even a bench we regularly visit that we call ‘Lennon’s bench’.
Lockdown has been hard for lots of reasons but being able to get active outdoors with so many beautiful places on the doorstep is a godsend. You really don’t have to look very far to get out into nature – and it’s all the better with a furry friend at your side.
My Top 5 Tips for photographing dogs
If you’re using an SLR camera, make sure you have your shutter speed fast enough to catch the action – dogs move quickly and this can cause blurry pictures! If you’re using your phone, make sure you have plenty of light and set it to burst mode which most cameras have these days – it means you’ll get a continuous stream of photos as long as your finger is pushed down, giving you more to choose from.
Get down to their level
Whenever possible, photographing dogs while crouched down at their level will give you a better view of their face, and how the world looks from their height. This makes a huge difference in the quality of shot you’ll get as it puts the viewer in the same position as the dog and this creates a closeness which is visually pleasing.
Have plenty of treats available!
Having a treat just out of shot can work wonders if you need your hound to be looking a certain way, to run towards you… whatever you need them to do, a little treat always gives them the right encouragement. Ringo is always happy to work for a gravy bone! If you’re using your phone you can actually buy a treat holder which clips to the top of your camera, meaning your dog will always be looking straight into the lens : )
Anticipate the action
From many, many walks photographing the dogs I have learned to read their behaviour and how this translates to a good action shot. I know when they’re about to break into a run, jump up for the ball or when their ears are going to be in full swing. Take time to observe your dog’s actions and movement and be ready a couple of seconds beforehand so that when the moment happens, you’re set up to capture it. If your dog is more of a gentle stroller, you can actually create the above moments yourself by throwing a ball or playing with their favourite toy. The beauty of digital is that you can practice this til your heart’s content. The important thing is to remember it’s for fun and not to get too stressed with yourself or your dog!
Consider time and place
Walking your dog in photogenic locations and weather conditions certainly helps with the aesthetics of what it’s possible to capture on camera – early morning sunrises, sunsets, shaking off the rain, snowy hills, heather on moorland and bluebell carpets in spring… giving your location and the weather some thought in advance means you’re more likely to catch one or two really magical shots.
Take a look at Faye’s pet photography portfolio here: FKB Pet Photography Sessions
#RespectProtectEnjoy Please follow the Countryside Code so we can all enjoy Bradford’s magnificent greenspaces responsibly.
- Leave no trace of your visit, take all your litter home. Remember there are very few bins away from towns.
- Keep dogs under close control, and always on a lead around farm animals.
- Dog poo – bag it and bin it!
Remember to follow rules and restrictions during Coronavirus. Please wash your hands regularly, wear a face covering when required, and maintain a safe distance from others.