Tip of the Day – Puppy dog eyes

Tip of the Day – Puppy dog eyes

Image 1 of 5 of Scully’s Session in the series Creating Variety in Your Dog Photography Sessions

Welcome to the first post for Scully’s session! Scully is a lovely young Border Collie girl who is described by her mum and dad as “a serious puppy”. She does like having a good time though, a little too much of a good time when there are cyclists and cars to chase! So we chose a nice quiet location where there wouldn’t be too many distractions for her.

The “puppy dog eyes” shot is a staple I always like to include in every session if I can. It’s the view that most dog owners are familiar with – your dog sitting looking up at you with those big soft eyes – everyone can relate to that! It’s one of the few shots I take where I don’t follow the rule of getting down to their level.

Use treats to direct their gaze to the camera – you might need to “prime” this behaviour before you start shooting though. Have them sit and treat them often for looking up, then slowly introduce the camera in front of them, always holding the treat near the camera. Start shooting only when they reliably look at the treat regardless of where your face or the camera is.

It’s common for dogs to make eye contact instead of looking at the treat, so if you cover your face with the camera too soon, you may lose their attention.

If treats don’t work but they do love to stare at their owner, have their owner right next to your camera lens while you’re shooting.

You can also use a tennis ball or favourite toy to direct their gaze, though this might give them a different expression.

Canon EOS 1D X, Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II @ 41mm, ISO 1250, 1/640 sec, f/2.8

This daily tip is tip 16 of a 25 part series called Creating Variety in Your Dog Photography Sessions. To receive a new tip each day from this series direct to your email inbox, sign up below.

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