So, you want to make better pictures of your Bernese Mountain Dog. It’s hard to mess up when you have a beautiful subject right there in front of you. But you can always make your pictures better by changing the way you look at things.
And don’t feel you need a big fancy camera to do this. You can use your smart phone or a point-and-shoot. The quality of the optics on smart phones and point-and-shoots these days is amazing. You don’t have to spend a fortune, you only have to experiment.
Take things to a different level
Let’s face it, we are taller than our dogs, so most pictures we make of them are looking down at them. That’s not a terrible thing. I do that too. But that gets boring after a while. I like to get down on the dog’s level. Perspective is everything.
Use those hills!
If your dog is in the backyard and he’s on a little hill, that’s a perfect opportunity for you to shoot from a different perspective. You are a bit lower than him, so your picture will look like you’re on the same level. Here’s a picture of Merlin as a pup that shows this. He’s on a little hill, I’m standing below him and I’m also crouching a bit so it seems like I’m on his level. Same situation with the picture of Teddy in the snow. He’s on a little hill and I am lower than him, so it puts me at eye level or just slightly below him in this case.
Get down on the ground!
So, your dog is doing that Berner pout as he lays in the kitchen. You could shoot him from where you’re standing, but if you put the camera on the ground and shoot on your dog’s level, you’ll make a better picture. Here is Merlin relaxing in the kitchen. What makes this picture work is that I’m right there on the ground with him. When you’re outside and your pup is in the grass, get that camera down in the grass with him. Plus, it will make the pictures more fun since the grass will be a significant part of your picture, too.
While you are down there, now look up!
For even more impact, place the camera on the ground and tilt it up. I love putting the camera in the grass and shooting up at the dogs when they are playing. Teddy sailing over a jump (see picture at top) really illustrates how cool this angle can be. And of course, you’ll need a cooperative dog!
Look for something that your dog is doing that works with this angle, leaping around at the beach? Frolicking in the snow? When Merlin was a young pup, I found that placing the camera on the ground when he was out there playing really made for some different pictures. Here’s what I’m talking about. Since the camera is on the ground and I can’t look through it, there are always a lot of wasted pictures, but hey, it’s digital!
Look straight down!
Once in a while, you find a moment when it’s best to point the camera directly down over your dog. Perhaps it’s a cool composition that you notice from a high angle, or perhaps it’s a sweet moment or a storytelling picture you need to capture right away. Here are two examples where high angle works to tell the story of what’s happening. I don’t think either of these pictures would have been as good if they were shot from another angle.
So, take some chances
Put your camera in a different spot and don’t be afraid to waste a hundred shots. It’s not like you’re having to pay for film and prints. You might get lucky and make one great picture. These dog photography tips can make a world of difference.