Animal lover Seth Casteel--the photographer behind UnderwaterDogs Kids Edition--offers some advice on how to capture dogs on
camera, both on land and underwater.
I’m a guy who loves dogs, and I’ve made it one of my life pursuits to
explore how amazing they are. I’d like to share a few tips with you about how to
get the best shots of your favorite four-legged friends.
1) Using your digital camera: Your camera doesn’t have to be fancy, but
you can probably do more with it than you realize. Test it out in different
situations and review the pictures. The right lighting can really add to the
moment. For outdoor dog portraits, I love to work in the shade. If you are indoors,
take pictures of your pup near a window so you have good natural light, which
helps bring out their eyes. Also, check out the “burst mode” feature, which
allows you to take multiple pictures in a row. Dogs are unpredictable, so the
more pictures you take, the better your chances are of capturing something truly
special. If your camera has a “sports mode,” use it to achieve fast shutter
speeds so that your picture is not a blur of fur. And if you plan on going
underwater, make sure it is waterproof or use a proper waterproof case.
2) Preparing your subject: If you and the dog are friends, you’ll have
access to more photo opportunities. If you are not yet friends, spend some time
helping him feel comfortable. When you calmly talk to a dog, there’s a good
chance they want to know what you are saying, so they may tilt their head a
certain way and look at you. Another fun trick is to photograph them while they
are eating treats. You’ll be amazed at the expressions you’ll catch!
3) Embracing the element of surprise: Candid photos are the best! Try
playing hide-and-seek with your subject. Ask your dog to sit and stay, then go
hide in the other room. Call out your dog’s name and have your camera ready--when he or she zips around the corner to find you, take a picture.
4) Shooting underwater: Being underwater allows dogs to explore their
wild instincts. But not all dogs love water, so it’s important to be respectful
of your pup and never throw them into a pool as this can be traumatizing.
Introducing your dog to the water in a safe, positive way will help build their
confidence and open up great underwater photo opportunities. Even if your dog
doesn’t have much experience in water, with a positive approach, you may find that
your dog loves it.
For underwater photos, play fetch. I start on land, and then move the
game into the water. If you use squeaky tennis balls and squeeze them under the
water the weight of the water will cause it to sink. Turn on your flash to make sure your photos have
lots of detail and color. And, don’t forget to show your dog how to get in and
out of the pool, as that can be confusing. Teach them where the steps or ramp
is to help them enter and exit quickly and safely.