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January 5, 2016

Taking Better Photos of My Dogs

Our photos are not our stories, but they are invaluable tools in telling our stories. Better photos help us tell better stories. I don’t make specific New Year’s resolutions, but each January I like to check in on my continuing resolution to be a better photographer. In January
Our photos are not our stories, but they are invaluable tools in telling our stories. Better photos help us tell better stories.

I don’t make specific New Year’s resolutions, but each January I like to check in on my continuing resolution to be a better photographer.

In January of 2012 I was armed with a simple point-and-shoot camera. My entire knowledge of photography was summed up in the camera name. I knew how to point the camera and I knew how to press the shutter

I almost exclusively left the camera in “auto” mode. So my growth as a photographer was limited to understanding better framing and better lighting

In 2013 I bought a new camera and passed along my old one to Eko. The above shot was taken with me new camera as I fiddled with settings I didn’t understand

2013 was a “one step backward, two steps forward” year as I tried to get the hang of aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings. I’ve never taken so many horrible photos and I’ve never learned so much

This photo is from Jan. 2014 and I think exemplifies the progress from the previous year. Not only did I have a much better understanding of my camera, I also began to edit my photos in Adobe Lightroom

My low-light photos transitioned from dark/blurry messes to sharper/better exposed shots 

In January 2015, I once again upgraded my camera. This time with a much better understanding of what I was doing. Lots of trips to the beach helped me refine my action photography skills

I spent more time last year studying focal lenses and shooting techniques in order to stretch my knowledge and improve my photos

And here’s a shot from January 2016. It’s far from perfect, but between the photo and the editing, I think it captures the sum of my growth

In 2016 the plan is the same, keep stretching to get better!

Luckily I have a couple willing assistants to help me with the cause

Photography can be seriously daunting, but by taking small steps I’ve managed to go from a total neophyte to a practiced-amateur. All while spending quality time with my dogs. Not a bad deal!

If your looking to take better photos of your dogs, regardless of camera or skill level, I highly recommend you check out this quick guide. It’s a great starting resource.

I still have a long way to go on my journey to take better photos. But I have received a lot of help along the way so I am always eager to pay it forward.

If you have any questions about the basics of (dog) photography just let me know in the comments. Also, if you have any good resources for dog photography please share those as well. I’m always looking to learn more. Thanks!

Comments for Taking Better Photos of My Dogs

  1. NM says:

    That first picture of eko and you ‘sharing’ a muffin is priceless. Eko cannot take a bad picture. He is superb. I fall in love with him more and more…if that is possible.
    Penny is adorable..she makes me smile every time..
    Happy photo perfecting Will. Thank you for sharing- we reap the rewards of your all your trials and errors.

  2. Mona Sigal says:

    While your photography skills have certainly improved, there isn’t really a chance to take any BAD pics of pups like yours!

  3. We love your photos and the story they help create. Mom started out as you did, but she also got a DSLR back a few years ago which she now upgraded to a fancier one and she loves it. Amazingly, the more fancy, expensive, feature rich, Nikon she now has is easier to use than the old one and takes better photos! Photography is a wonderful hobby, and I don’t think any human ever says “I’m good enough”. Luckily some of us dogs love to be models for our poor humans as they learn and experiment.

  4. Victoria says:

    that guide is a good one -i’ll try what he says to do and see if it helps – meanwhile if anyone needs tips on taking pictures of a dogs behind or the back of their heads – i can help with that!

  5. dashlilly says:

    Looking forward to seeing more of your photos this year — the good, the bad, the ugly! They are all fabulous and bring a smile to my face!!

  6. Wow! I have loved your photos from day one, but the progress you have made is just unreal, it gives me hope!! Thank you for sharing!

  7. Kismet says:

    I don’t care how expensive your camera is, Penny will always be a blur.

  8. Stef says:

    The photos from January 2016 are exquisite!! Wish you would go on tour to shoot for your fans professionally! We’ll have to find you some sponsors and then get you on the road!!!

  9. coastingnz says:

    Stephen is the photographer in our household but I’m happy to say I do manage to capture some nice shots of our boys – particularly in action. For me it is just a matter of shoot, shoot, shoot cos if you want Ziggy’s ear action then you’ll just got to keep on pointing and shooting. They move too fast to do anything more. Any record of the kids is a good record.

  10. I’ve about given up getting any better at photography – I think I have a mental block. I”ll check out this resource though, maybe it will sink in.

  11. Such great pups to work with n they are not shy to comply. They are so beautiful n u could not find a better sister for Eko than Penny, she is so sweet

  12. I loved seeing the progression of your photography skills, and of course your models are flawless. With the addition of Tallulah Bee to our little family, my human mommy could use a little work on her action photography. 😉

  13. Love the Muffin photo too! Thanks for the link! I am a photo idiot, thank goodness for my DSLR! My goal is to take some time this year and learn more about my camera too.

  14. Me says:

    I love photography and bought a fairly decent camera a few years ago, but I just don’t have the patience to learn…I find it all so confusing!

    My dad is an amazing photographer and knows loads about cameras, he tries to talk to me about shutter speed and what this dial does…it all goes straight over my head. My photos are taken on Auto so I rarely get those awesome shots I was after. I should really start trying to learn things s-l-o-w-l-y so I don’t get overwhelmed 😀

    I love the photo of Penny in the purpley collar, and the last one too. That’s some awesome progress you’ve made 🙂

  15. I went from using the camera on my phone, to a point and shoot, to a proper dslr. Had my 1st dslr 5-6years ago, but I guess the type of dslr (don’t buy entry level ones. The functions just gets you frustrated) and lens makes a very big difference to my pictures. Hopefully it does look like I have progressed in taking/editing pictures and not staying stagnant. 😀

    Love your pictures! Eko and Penny can’t take a bad picture (but please go ahead and prove me wrong hahaha)!

  16. Having such photogenic assistants makes all the difference in the world. Great progress, Will.

  17. You mean you need more than an iPhone to take good photos?? 🙂

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