Dog por­traits

Sarah Wells went from shoot­ing her dog to start­ing her ca­reer in pet pho­tog­ra­phy, and with her D3200 in hand she wants to pho­to­graph them all

NPhoto - - Over To You -

As a child I used to love go­ing to the shops and buy­ing dis­pos­able cam­eras. I would take pho­tos of ev­ery­thing. I couldn’t wait to get them de­vel­oped at the chemist so I could add them to my photo al­bum. When I turned 14 I was bought my first point-and-shoot dig­i­tal cam­era. I would take lots of pho­tos of my cat, (who I still have now) and this meant a lot to me, as they’re mem­o­ries I can keep and cher­ish for­ever. From that time on I knew that I wanted to fo­cus on tak­ing pho­to­graphs of pets.

More re­cently I’d been yearn­ing for a D-SLR. I wanted some­thing that wouldn’t break the bank but was also re­li­able. I spoke to a friend who is very much into his pho­tog­ra­phy, and he rec­om­mended the Nikon D3200. Af­ter read­ing the re­views I de­cided it was the per­fect choice for me.

I don’t be­lieve you need the most ex­pen­sive equip­ment to cap­ture good pho­tos of your dog, just good knowl­edge of the dif­fer­ent set­tings on your cam­era. I have taken some lovely por­trait shots of my dog, Sam, us­ing the 18-55mm kit lens. Ob­vi­ously if you in­vest in a fast prime lens you get that lovely creamy bokeh, es­pe­cially if you get down low and shoot the dog at eye level.

On top of the world

Above ev­ery­thing else, I love pho­tograph­ing Sam. Here [3] I wanted to get a por­trait of him look­ing happy and breezy. It was a beau­ti­ful clear blue sky day, so I laid on the grass, threw the ball, and then waited for him to bring it back and get into the right place for me to cap­ture

I don’t be­lieve you need the most ex­pen­sive equip­ment… just good knowl­edge of the dif­fer­ent set­tings on your cam­era

this shot. I love how care­free he looks here, al­most as if he’s on top of the world!

Dis­trac­tion tech­nique

Molly [2] is very cam­era-shy, so it’s very hard to get a photo of her. I was prac­tis­ing some ac­tion shots here with Molly, throw­ing treats into the fields and get­ting her to come back. Luck­ily this dis­tracted her from the cam­era. I love how her ears flop around un­con­trol­lably and I wanted to cap­ture this. This was a bit of a chal­lenge for me be­cause I had to get into the right po­si­tion to get a head-on run­ning shot. A shut­ter speed of 1/1000 sec froze her mo­tion.

Char­lie [1] has a very dif­fer­ent tem­per­a­ment from Molly – he doesn’t mind the cam­era one lit­tle bit. This lit­tle dog has a very big per­son­al­ity. He is very cheeky, and I think you can see that by look­ing at the ex­pres­sion on his face.

Char­lie loves to be out­doors run­ning in the woods, so I pho­tographed him in his favourite place. I shot with the aper­ture wide open at f/1.8 on my 50mm to cre­ate a shal­low depth of field. Try­ing to keep him still was a bit of a chal­lenge as he just wanted to keep go­ing, but shoot­ing wide open in the for­est gave me a shut­ter speed of 1/1000 sec with ISO400 so I could freeze his move­ment. Of course, per­suad­ing him to keep still with some tasty treats helped as well.

1 Char­lie Nikon D3200, Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G, 1/1000 sec, f/1.8, ISO400 2 Molly Nikon D3200, Nikon AF-S DX 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED VR II, 1/1000 sec, f/4.2, ISO160 3 Sam Nikon D3200, Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II, 1/1000 sec, f/1.8, ISO400

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