7 tips for great pet photography

Photographers Brig Van Osten and Isky Iskandar offered fabulous tips for taking photos of your  dog (or other pets) at the Friends of the Sepulveda Basin Off-leash Dog Park (SBOLDP) meeting on Tuesday, March 19.


Brig Van Osten

Their tips come just in time: Our first photography contest is set for Sunday, June 23. The deadline for entering is Monday, June 17. Check the home page for details.

Both Brig and Isky are dog lovers who visit SBOLDP in addition to being excellent photographers with a gift for capturing dogs in action. Here are their tips for getting better dog photos.

  1. You must enter to win. Deciding to enter a photo contest forces you to go out and take pictures, to experiment and to analyze why some of your photos are better than others. That process helps make you a winner as a photography. Think about this: in the Friends of SBOLDP Photo Contest, you have 18 chances to win. The 18 top-vote winning photos will be used in a 2019-2020 Friends of SBOLDP camera being planned.
  2. Take lots of photos. Brig and Isky both recommend this. Isky suggests learning to use the burst mode on your camera so you can get a rapid sequence of photos to get the best action and composition.

    Photographer Isky Iskander

    Isky Iskandar

  3. Go low. See the world from a dog’s eye level. Both of our experts recommended this.
  4. Forget fancy equipment. The camera you have with you when you need it is the best one to use. Your phone camera does fine. Isky has a set of lenses that he can clip on to his phone to get closer, wider or get different effects.
  5. Learn how to use depth of field and your camera’s focusing powers to isolate the background from your center of interest.
  6. Use photo aps on your phone to enhance shots. Brig is a fan of PhotoShop Express on the iPhone. Isky talked about Snapseed as a way to get rid of distracting details or to make whiskers pop.
  7. Leave space around your center of interest. Unless you’re using an expensive single-lens reflex camera, what you see may not be what the camera catches. Leaving space around the focus of your photo ensures that it doesn’t get cropped by the camera. You can always use PhotoShop, an app or the editing tools of your camera to crop in closer if you want. You can never replace parts of an image the camera cropped out.