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Thread: Shooting the family dog.

  1. #1

    Shooting the family dog.



    So last night I was asked to shoot a family dog along with their son this coming spring. What I would like is some pointers on how to incorporate a family pet in with a picture. The candids shouldnt be too difficult but what Im loathing is getting the dog to pose with the up and coming senior for some nice portraits.


    Any pointers on what works well for getting the dogs attention, should I tripod the camera with a remote, go handheld, which lens would be best (24-70 2.8, 70-200 2.8 IS, 85 1.2) etc.Im leaning more towards the 85 1.2


    So any help with the posed portraits would be great....if you have examples, feel free to post them at will. Oh the dog is a chocolate lab.


    Thanks


    Joel

  2. #2
    Alan
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    Re: Shooting the family dog.



    Quote Originally Posted by Joel Bookhammer


    So last night I was asked to shoot a family dog along with their son this coming spring. []
    <div style="clear: both;"]</div>


    Say it isn't so, Joel!

  3. #3
    Senior Member clemmb's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting the family dog.



    Quote Originally Posted by Joel Bookhammer


    Oh the dog is a chocolate lab.
    <div style="CLEAR: both"]</div>

    Lots! &amp; Lots! of patiance.


    Any of these lenses would be great. I think I would lean to the 24-70. I always start with tripod but sometimes have to handhold. The lens and hand hold alows for faster adjustments. Us a clicking type noise maker to perk the dogs ears up but be careful. I tmay make him jump up. Just play around and have LOTS of patiance.


    Mark
    Mark

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    Re: Shooting the family dog.



    Quote Originally Posted by Joel Bookhammer
    Any pointers on what works well for getting the dogs attention

    Treats is the answer. Use the type that the dog likes and (very importatnt) his/her stomach is used to. You don't want to swamp them with a vet bill. Believe me those things happen[]


    Quote Originally Posted by Joel Bookhammer
    should I tripod the camera with a remote, go handheld

    I usually go handheld at high ISOs. Its usually the pet that moves most, so tripod does not help too much. Have the owners help you with posing and keeping their dog's attention.


    Quote Originally Posted by Joel Bookhammer
    which lens would be best (24-70 2.8, 70-200 2.8 IS, 85 1.2)

    My favorite lens for kid and pet shots is 70-200 2.8. You can frame a moving target easier with a zoom. You do not need anything wider than 2.8. Too shallow DOFmay blur dog's muzzle which does not look natural.


    My last piece of advice iscontrol your technique but foremost take manyframes.In my personalexperience there aren't a lot of keepers when you shoot pets.

  5. #5
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    Re: Shooting the family dog.



    I would probably say that I am a Dog owner first and Photographer second. Always have had 1-3 dogs in the house.


    I'm no expert... but while it will depend on the dog... I would say use the 70-200 2.8 IS Lon autofocus for the casual running around candid shots if you're shooting in a larger open area and maybe swap to the 85 1.2 on manual focus for the 'portrait' shots (make sure your DOF is sufficient).


    If needed (i.e. if it's a dog that has a hard time holding still) wear the dog out before the portrait shots. You might end up with a little more panting, but you can always give the dog a few minutes to cool off or just take a lot of shots and pick out the good ones (which you should do anyhow).


    Hopefully the dog won't mind the camera being pointed at it. It's not real common, but one of my current dogs doesn't like it when you're pointing the camera at her. I suspect it's a previous owner problem (was a rescue), but it's really hard to get a decent photo of her if she isaware of you doing it. If this becomes a problem the longer lens will probably be mandatory and you'll need to make an effort to not get noticed by the dog.


    I'm at work right now, but when I get home I'll post a couple shots of past and present pets.

  6. #6

    Re: Shooting the family dog.



    Alot of good advice so far.



    Alan: I figured that fraising would raise an intersting response


    I like the idea of attempting the wear the dog out before hand, as well as using a treat or "clicker".


    With the 85 1.2 I was planning on using a higher aperature to insure sufficient depth of field, I have only been able to use it a couple of time so far on jobs, and in the results I have had so far the 85 1.2 is significantly sharper at 2.8 then the 70-200 is, but when I get past 5.6 so far they have seemed about even with full body shots.


    Thanks for the advice so far and Cory I lookd forward to seeing your pictures.


    Thanks


    Joel

  7. #7
    Senior Member Dave Johnston's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting the family dog.



    Haha Alan, Totally what I was thinking!
    5D mark III, 50D, 17-40 f4L, 24-70 f2.8L, 70-200 f4L ​IS, 28 f1.8, 50 f1.8, 85 f1.8, 100 f2.8 Macro

  8. #8
    Administrator Sean Setters's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting the family dog.



    Quote Originally Posted by Joel Bookhammer
    So last night I was asked to shoot a family dog along with their son this coming spring.

    I'd use a deer slug on the dog, but leave the kid alone--unless he's really annoying you.

  9. #9

    Re: Shooting the family dog.



    Thanks Sean, I was planning on leaving the kid alone it, but unfortunately I donot own a slug gun, closest is a 300 win mag.


    Sean have you shot anyone with a pet or an animal along with flashes? The only thing I've ever shot was a girl with her horse, and the horse wasnt too spooked by the flashes going off, not sure if you have any input with flashes and animals but if you do it would be greatly appreciated.


    Thanks


    Joel

  10. #10
    Administrator Sean Setters's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting the family dog.



    Hmm....let me think. I do remember one shoot where a family wanted a dog in their family picture (more of an after-thought, really), but they couldn't get the dog to stay still so we simply didn't do it. So as far as how well pets react to the flash, I don't know.


    However, I do know that when I set up and shoot, I'm shooting in that particular location because that's where the lights are. I move when the lights do. Sometimes it's hard to get pets to sit still right where you need them. That's when the painter's pole and Kacey Pole Adapter comes in handy (assuming you have an assistant). You could simply follow around the subjects until the opportunity arises where they're both still and comfortable wherever they are. Amber and I used this technique while photographing a wedding reception not too long ago. The mobile setup worked relatively well (and look how happy Amber looks to be carrying around the lighting rig...she's so cute!). I purchased a 25" Creative Light translucent umbrella specifically for this use. I figured the smaller umbrella would still soften the light a bit while allowing for much more maneuverability in a crowd. For your use, I can't think of a reason why you couldn't use a normal 43" umbrella for even more flattering results.













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