First the disclaimer: We’re not professional photogs. Not even close. But in nine years of dog boarding on Oahu, we’ve taken thousands of pics. And the most fun ones aren’t the posed shots, but rather the candid, unexpected (sometimes blurry) ones that manage to capture a dog’s quirky personality or amazing talent and make us laugh.
Here’s what works for us in posting social media pics for our pet boarding parents.
- Get up close and personal – There’s just no other way to do Packer’s toothy grin justice or to capture the sweetness of Rocky offering a paw shake.
- Go eye-to-eye – Set your dignity aside and get down on eye level with your pooch. Careful, though. I remember videoing a playful German Shepherd named Geneva at eye level. Camera lenses being what they are, I didn’t realize how close she was until she barreled into me and she, me and the camera all went upside down. Made for interesting vid, though!!
- Be sneaky – Some of the best shots are caught when your canine BFF doesn’t see you coming. For months I was sure that Jeni Rose was peering out a kitchen window to keep an eye on me when I went outdoors. No problem, except her front feet would have to be planted on the kitchen counter, a clearly understood no-no. One day I crept back inside, caught her in the act, and snapped a shot of her looking back over her shoulder in guilty surprise. If a dog could say “uh-oh” this would be the time.
- Take it easy – Forget about shutter speeds, light meters and composition, and use a point-and-shoot camera that you can grab in a hurry. We do best with our phones. Yes, we have an expensive Nikon, complete with extra lenses and a plethora of settings – none of which we know how to use. But by the time we get the “professional” camera out, we’ve missed the shot. (FYI, the Nikon’s for sale if anyone’s interested.)
- More is better – Take five or six shots instead of one. You can keep the best and delete the rest.
- Have fun – You get to play with your dog, and your dog gets to have your attention. If you miss the perfect shot, you’ll probably get another chance. If not, the blurry, off-center mug of your pup will bring a smile to your face, and it just might be worth sharing.