Photographers Challenged To Create Great Dog Portraits

By Guest Writer, John Chambers

It's a rare dog that does not, at the most inconvenient times, behave like a human being. According to the belief of some dog owners, dogs need to be loved and cared for because they are also emotional beings.

An animal portrait may successfully be done because of the application of this recognition and study of dogs' moods, likes, and dislikes.

To show that he does not want to have a picture taken of him, a dog would bark at the wrong moment or not prick up his ears. The portrait artist would have a difficult time dealing with other matters because the dog would keep him distracted.

Instead of appealing to the dog's sense of smell to get it to do a noticeable pose, try to surprise it by appealing to its sense of hearing. When a dog gets a whiff of a scent, it would usually extend its neck and create an undesirable pose, but when a dog is startled mildly, it would stand straight and prick up its ears.

The peak of a dog's alertness and brightness is early morning, before he is fed, making it the best time to photograph the dog. The hungry dog's alertness causes him to pose more readily.
Usually at this time he is cool, and his mouth is not so apt to hang open as at later hours in the day, after exercise and play. Tired looking dogs and dogs with mouths wide open do not make good portraits.

Although completely different, radio broadcasting studios and dog photographers' studios are the same in one aspect. Sound effects of every imaginable description are on hand for instant use, on the theory that if one fails to attract the desired attention, another will succeed.

Among the different sounds available are duck quacks, pop guns, mouse squeaks, and many others.

A breeder is expectant to see a perfect form and excellence in how his dog is featured in the proofs of the portrait. An artist who sketches has work that is distinct from an artist who photographs dogs.

It's the objective of the artist in drawing a picture to only capture what he sees with his own two eyes and not what he thinks should be there. When working with dogs, the other way is true, and the photographer must be able to get into the picture what should be there and not what is seen.

Emphasize the length of a daschund's body when taking its picture. The bodies of the dogs should be tilted at a slight angle and they should have all four feet planted firmly on the ground for the shot.

The German boxer is the most sophisticated of breeds. Though quite a friendly dog at times, it can be nasty when other dogs are present.

There are cases in which amateur photographers forget that taking pictures of dogs is easiest when the dogs are hungry.

Feeding the dogs before or during the photo shoot is a mistake, because they will end up with subjects who won't be active. A dog's alertness would make him do the pose without difficulty.

Photographers would, in a lot of cases, ask owners not to be there when they are posing the dog. Dog owners can put up a fuss about their dogs, and so they do this for that reason.

Also, a dog would be too familiar already with his master's tricks. On the other hand the various sound effects devised by a stranger invariably evoke a desirable reaction from the animal.

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