It doesn't take much to get started with pet photography – all you really need is a camera and your pet! However, if you want to start getting better quality photos, you'll want to look at adding to your collection of dog photography tools.
If you're ready to start getting more serious about photographing your dog, there are a few key pieces of equipment that will make the job easier. Dogs are unpredictable and they move around all the time. These two qualities make it difficult to get good photos of them.
Even without extensive photography training, the right dog photography tools can help you capture beautiful pictures of the canines you work with. Of course, you'll need to keep your budget in mind, as these tools aren't cheap.
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5 Must-Have Dog Photography Tools
1. A Good Camera
Obviously, the first thing to consider is a better camera, especially if you are currently getting by with just your smartphone. The best camera to consider for pet photography is a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera.
While a DSLR is fairly expensive, they last for a long time with the right care, and you won't find a more powerful option out there. Consider it an investment into your photography hobby.
A DSLR is going to give you a lot more customization options, since it has more settings for quality, light, and more. There are also a variety of different lenses and flashes available for these types of cameras, letting you customize your photo shoot perfectly.
Using a DSLR might take a little getting used to, especially since they are much more bulky than a smartphone or small digital camera. However, most DSLR cameras are very user-friendly, and getting accustomed to their various features comes easy once you start using it regularly. Remember that practice makes perfect, so use your new camera lots!
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2. Camera Attachments
For pet photography, the first lens you'll have to get is a telephoto. This will allow you to zoom in greatly, getting pictures of objects that are far away.
Why is this important for taking pictures of your dog? If your dog is doing something really cute, you might distract him when you get close enough for a picture. A telephoto lens is going to allow you to snap that shot from far away, without your pet even noticing!
Although a flash isn't always recommended for taking pictures of you dog, it's good to have a quality one just in case you need it. While your camera likely has a flash already built-in, an attachment is going to let you have more control over the amount of light produced.
For best results, look for a light kit. This will usually include the flash attachment, a diffuser for softening the light, and various reflectors to allow you to change the mood of the lighting. With customization options like these, you can give yourself a lot more options when it comes to photographing your dog, from getting bright outdoor shots to soft pictures of Fido snoozing away inside.
3. Photo Editing Software
Even if you get a great shot with your camera, you might want to make some changes afterwards using your PC. Photo editing software will let you make changes to your photo after you've uploaded it to your computer.
Some of the changes you might find yourself making often include:
- cropping the picture
- reducing or removing red eye
- sharpening the focus
- balancing the colors
- altering the light saturation.
These options can give your photo a different feel and make it look more professional. Most people agree that Adobe Photoshop is the best program available for photo editing. Arguably, it does have a very user-friendly interface, and it is fairly simple to use once you have given it a few tries.
Photoshop is a professional program that gives professional results. That said, it is very expensive to purchase.
If Photoshop isn't in your budget, there are some free programs you can use online, such as PicMonkey or Pixlr. These programs won't have the plethora of options that Photoshop does, but they work just fine for simple adjustments like changing the lighting or removing red eye. If you find an online program you like, make sure you bookmark it for easy use next time you need it.
4. Spare Battery Packs
Your DSLR will usually come with a re-chargeable battery pack or use standard size disposable batteries. It's always a good idea to invest in another backup battery to include in your dog photography tools kit. Battery packs are a great option for most DSLR cameras.
For starters, if you forget to charge your camera before you head out, you'll have the backup battery available right away. This means you won't miss any great shots away from home.
Another reason to keep a spare battery with you is that shooting HD pictures and video can sap a battery pretty quickly. If you are planning on taking your dog to the park for a photo shoot, you might be disappointed when your battery runs out after an hour. Keeping backup batteries in your camera bag ensures you have plenty of time to get that perfect picture.
5. A Tripod
Got shaky hands? One of the dog photography tools you'll surely need is a tripod! A tripod will let you set up your camera in a specific location and will keep it still for you. If you have a lot of issues with blur, this could help you a lot.
When you have a specific place you are trying to take pictures of your dog, such as the beach, set it up overlooking the area and use it with a telephoto lens to get your shot. You won't have to be close, and the tripod will let you take your picture mostly hands free.
The best tripod will have an adjustable height, so you can make it comfortable for you no matter where you are. It should also have a rotating head, so you can point the camera towards your pet without needing to move the tripod itself.
While you don't need a lot in order to get started, there are a few dog photography tools you should have. These are just a few of the best options out there for upgrading your camera and photographs – there are many more available! If photography ends up being your favorite hobby, keep on trying new tools to bring your photos to life.
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