Each week, a group of professional pet photographers get together online. We push each other beyond our comfort zone, which allows us to learn and grow. We look at each other's work and learn from one another. We get inspiration from each other's unique strengths and creativity. This week's theme is "Wide".
For me, that means a wide angle lens. I always have one in my bag for outdoor pet shoots. Most people think of lots of landscape as they pull their wide angles from their camera bags. Me, I think close for creative perspectives. The wider, the more fun.
This is a hip shot of my Border Collie Belle. Using a wider angle lens gives you a better chance of getting the whole dog in the shot since you are not looking through the view finder. It gives a lot of sky and grabs any growth that is in the background. I especially love this if I can get the dog in front some long grass or bushes. This lens was around 28mm.
I love getting real close with a wide angle. It maximizes the dog's face and head, while making the rest of the body smaller. These are always fun, and clients seem to like them. The shot of the shepherd mix was around the 24-28mm range, the Border Collie was around 16mm. Get down on the level of the dogs face. If you have an unusual ground texture (paving stones, bricks etc) shooting down to the dog from above, again closer to the dog's face is also fun.
Using a wide angle lens from below, while the animal is on a small hill or a pile of rocks makes the surroundings look more immense. The second shot makes Dart look like he is mountain climbing, while in fact you can see the grass at the base of this pile of rocks in the lower right corner. The first shot makes him look like he is further away than he really was. By using the wide angle and shooting straight up the piece of wood, you completely change the perspective of the shot. This technique gives depth to the front of these photos.
So, try using your wide angle lenses closer than you would usually be comfortable with. You do interesting things to the surroundings, yet keep the dog sharp and large. Using wide angle lenses with a dog to grab lots of landscape actually makes the dog look tiny and you loose your subject. Have fun experimenting!
The next group member in the ring is Denver Pet Photographer, Deanna Hurt of StinkDog Photography. Check out her interpretation of "Wide".