Kerry Martin is a professional dog photographer and founder of Melbourne's Akemi Photography Studio. According to Martin, Australia Day is the perfect opportunity to capture some lasting memories of your furry friends while (hopefully) also getting some exercise and sun. Here are ten photography tips that will make your snaps stand out from the pack.
"Summer is a fabulous opportunity to take great photos of your dog,” Martin explains. “You can use your photos to tell the story of summer for your dog. It could mean jumping the waves at the beach, riding in the car with the window open, evening walks in the park or camping with the family."
Here are Kerry's Top 10 tips to help you capture the perfect canine portrait:
- Location is key: "Picking a great summer location can really add to the feel of your dog photos. The ideal location for capturing your dog in summer would be your local dog friendly beach. Capture them racing through the water or as they shake themselves dry after their swim."
- Maximise colour: "Bright blue sky, white fluffy clouds, golden sunsets, aqua water, golden sand and your dog in the midst of it all. To help maximise your colour saturation, use a lens hood or shade your camera with your hand (making sure it’s out of the frame). This reduces the risk of flare which lowers image contrast and reduces colour saturation."
- Get on their level — literally: "Regardless of their size, photographing your dog at their eye level is one of the most engaging ways to photograph a pet."
- Capture what your dog loves: "If your dog has an old, torn sofa where they sleep away their hot summery afternoons, taking their photo here is going to give wonderful memories of your pooch’s nature and favourite things."
- See spot run: "If your dog loves to run, a space where they can do just that will be fabulous in the photos. Try to get in as close as you can while they are running, either with your zoom or your legs. Otherwise your fast moving dog could be just a tiny dot in your photos."
- Lighting tips: "There is lots of bright light and daylight hours in summer, allowing you to leave the flash off and work with natural lighting. If you’re taking photos in the middle of the day, look for shaded areas for more flattering and even light. Dogs will squint or blink when they are looking directly into the sun so wait until a cloud obscures the sun or wait until later in the day to photograph your dog."
- Timing is everything: "Summer can be hot. I love to wait for the gorgeous evening glow of the Australian long summer days. It keeps your dog happier and the lighting is gorgeous for photography."
- Time to look glam: "Don’t forget to make your pets gorgeous for their photos. Brush their fur, clean away any eye goop, trim nails, etc."
- Eliminate distractions: "A hot day at the beach or a run in your favourite park can be the idea of many people. Pay attention to what is going on in the background of your photo, as it can be easy to overlook things when you’re focusing on your dog. If you see distracting elements – other people and dogs, towels, beach umbrellas, shoes or rubbish that will take away from your main subject – then pause for a second to remove them or change your angle or perspective to eliminate them from view."
- Always be prepared!: "Pets can be spontaneous and unpredictable. Having a camera within reach and ready to go will mean that you are best able to capture some of their most entertaining antics."
Photo: Akemi Photography
On a final note, Martin stresses that just like with child photography, it's important to keep things fun:
Dogs don’t always understand exactly what we are wanting them to do, particularly when it’s something new for a photo. If you keep it fun, the photos will reflect the wonderful times you are having with your dog and their beautiful happy nature.
Photo: Akemi Photography
You can see more examples of Martin's fabulous dog photography on the official Akemi Photography Facebook page.