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November 4, 2013

My Dog Taught Me How To Use A Camera

There’s no doubt that dogs are teachers.  They teach us about love, patience, loyalty and character.  I recently realized that for the past 2+ years Eko has also taught me how to use a camera.  Here are a few of the tips I have picked up from Professor Eko in
There’s no doubt that dogs are teachers.  They teach us about love, patience, loyalty and character.  I recently realized that for the past 2+ years Eko has also taught me how to use a camera.  Here are a few of the tips I have picked up from Professor Eko in Pet Photograph 101.  Rhodesian Ridgeback, adventure, marking our territory, chicago, dogs, blog, photo 
Avoid using flash whenever possible.  I love this photo of Eko, but my flash gave him “pet eyes” (the equivalent of red-eye in flash photos of people).  Flash photography can also make photos look unnatural so I do my best to use it sparingly
   

Rhodesian Ridgeback, adventure, marking our territory, chicago, dogs, blog, photoComposition is key. I took this photo with an older cellphone so the quality is not great, but I love the photo because of the composition.  A great and simple reference for photo composition is “The rule of thirds.”  If you take a bit of time to think about composition it can make for some really unique and memorable shots

I took the vast majority of photos on this blog with the Canon S100.  It is a compact but great little camera, perfectly suited to use in one hand when you have a leash in your other hand.  As Eko has grown, so has my knowledge and interest in photography so I decided it was time to invest in a new camera.  I needed something that was portable but powerful.

After a lot of research I settled on the Sony NEX-6, and after watching for a sale, using credit card points and some earmarked money I pulled the trigger (shutter?) on the purchase.  And I am thrilled with my initial results.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, adventure, marking our territory, chicago, dogs, blog, photo

Shoot in “manual” mode to get the best photos.  When I started this blog I was afraid to ever turn the dial on my camera from the safe and comfortable “Auto” mode.  Now that I have made the foray into manual settings I can’t imagine ever going back.  I take a lot of TERRIBLE photos as I’m learning to shoot manually on my new camera, but I also take some amazing photos that would be impossible on “Auto.”

Along the way I have also discovered that photos are not finished after you click the shutter.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, adventure, marking our territory, chicago, dogs, blog, photo

To get the most out of my photos I shoot in RAW (a file format you can easily switch to on most digital cameras) and edit in Adobe Lightroom.  Editing photos can seem intimidating, but Lightroom makes adjustments as painless as possible.  I promise, if I can learn to use it, anyone can.  I highly recommend purchasing Lighroom, it can help make your photos the best they can be

When I started this blog, I had a suspicion Eko is really a dinosaur, but I could never prove it.  Now thanks to Eko and everything he taught me about photography I finally have proof.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, adventure, marking our territory, chicago, dogs, blog, photoWelcome… TO JURASSIC BARK!!!

I have learned a lot about photography in the past two years, but I am still an amateur. One of my favorite parts about checking out other blogs is to see and learn how other people take pet photos.  I can’t begin to count the tips and ideas I have seen on other blogs so thanks to all of you as well!  If I can pay it forward by answering any basic questions, just let me know.  And if you have any other tips I could use, make sure to share those too!

   

Comments for My Dog Taught Me How To Use A Camera

  1. Hello Will and Eko – so enjoying all your posts!

    I am an artist with absolutely no camera ability at all! Photographs of my art work are mostly not good – photos of my beautiful boy Orlando are only good by accident or because he is so very photogenic even I can’t stuff it up! 🙂

    I look forward to reading more about your camera discoveries, this was interesting and helpful!

  2. stevebuddy says:

    I sometimes love taking pictures in black and white, also with flim to, to me it brings out the features just so much more clear.
    But then on these fall days, color is the way to go, to capture all the great colors.

  3. Wow! Quite informative. I’m an amateur as well, learning mostly be trial and error and a bit of reading. My best photos are taken outdoors, so lucky me that I write about my garden. Early morning and late afternoon have the best light. Midday photos are the worst, and I avoid taking them if I can help it. The high bright sun makes for poor shots.

    I’m still afraid of manual mode…I’m afraid I’ll never get my settings back.

    Baby steps….

  4. alellzey says:

    Thanks for this post! I literally just got a camera Friday and tried it out by taking pics of Laney, my dog-child. Result: not so great! Good to know about the no flash and manual settings!!

  5. Great photos all……but I can’t help but go “Awwwwww” with that sweet baby photo of Eko – “flash eyes” or not – it’s adorable!

    Pam

  6. Photos are the biggest benefit of blogging. No more wishing we had taken more photos, more wishing we hadn’t taken so many and learning to improve on photography. Manual is tricky, especially indoors with a moving target. Mom tries hard to use manual as much as she can but if she has to have the shot and we are all involved she will revert to the standby auto even though it makes her mad. We have a Nikon D5100 and really like it. We will have to see what lightroom is like, we have photoshop elements right now. We also tried raw files but couldn’t figure out how to adjust them, so gave that up. It is fun watching you humans learn 🙂

  7. Sage says:

    Those laser-eyes get you every time–I turned off my flash also. 🙂 I do love the second picture with the mountain in the background. It’s a really nice shot.

  8. That second shot is lovely. I find myself snapping away on my phone a lot since my camera decided it only wants to work half the time but I think the quality of the photo is really in the composition not the high definition.

    Saying that, I am addicted to reading reviews of camera to help me pick a new one!

    ~ Amy

  9. harrispen says:

    I’ve been shooting with an Olympus OM-D E-M5 for both still and video for just about a year and love this camera. I usually shoot in aperture priority mode and do my editing in photoshop and/or lightroom. I also have the Google Nik Collection add-on software that does a fantastic job too. Of course you still have to take a bunch of picture to get one good one. Something about the dogs always looking away just as you push the button. Love the baby Eko picture.

    Cindy

  10. Hmmm… my dog didn’t teach me to use the camera, but she did make me more interested in taking pictures consistently. 🙂

  11. We still use the ole canon eos, but that’s not the best choice for quick shots , sadly I can’t do something in “slow motion” :o) The last picture is great, Eko the Veloci-ridgeback LOL

  12. I’m well known for taking the worse pics ever. Your pics are always great and so is the model. Photographing a black dog it’s a pain in the neck, I went for a hike this weekend and tried to take some nice pics of the beast, with all the bushes and shades it was impossible to see him.
    I’m gonna check that Sony Camera you bought, I’ve been looking for one, I made the terrible mistake of buying a hipster camera, I can’t even focus the lens and I’m too lazy to read the manual.

  13. sisubeads says:

    Kimi has that same lion toy.

  14. Will all of you pictures are great so Eko has taught you well. Hugs and nose kisses

  15. Good photography is certainly an art. I tend to think it’s mostly about composition and POV that lends to the success, and you certain are stellar in that regard. I like the Jurassic Eko shot, is that in High Def or something?

  16. You certainly grew into those ears Eko 🙂 Lovely x

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