Dog photography research

I have started my research with this book that I own. This book is jam packed with so much dog photography that I can take inspiration from and start thinking about what specific style my dog photos should take

I love the use of light in these images. The photographer has manages to capture a lovely range of tones that range from very light to very dark which creates quite a dramatic look in the images. Because of this the dog has become the main element of the pictures, and because of its soft coat and the matching colours from the rug and background the colours come together and the whole image almost glows.

Creating dramatic/artistic images like this is very different from the client dog photoshoots as I can bring in my own personal style to the shoots

These images inspired me to have a go at this with one of my dogs. I think I took the dramatic effect a little too far, and what was this soft golden aesthetic of the other photos has turned into quite a harsh dramatic effect almost like in a studio.

Something has also come up for me in that maybe I need to think about what breeds of dog will look best in different styles of photos? Maybe I dont get much of a dreamy effect with the jack Russel here because his fur isn’t soft??

These are very different style shoots… Black and white and more like headshots. They create a very serious amount of character between the viewer and the dogs in the photo. You get a real sense of actually looking at the dog and them looking back at you.

If I am trying to connect the reader to the emotive state of dogs, should I try and create images which are more similar to this?

On the flip side to this, I think humorous images like this have an incredible way enticing the reader through laughter. I believe that if all my shoots are too serious, it has the potential to bog the reader down.

It could be an idea to include some shots that remind people of the silly and joyous nature of dogs, as this can create emotional ties in themselves

I quite like the sense of emotion in these images due to the dogs not actually looking at the camera. It gives quite a solum and emotional sense, you want to know what the dog is looking at. For me, it also makes the dog have more independence… they aren’t just looking at you they have they’re own things they are looking at and listening to and it reminds me they have their own brain. I wonder if anyone else gets this kind of sense from images like this? or at least whether I can try and recreate this?

This image is much more artistic using the silhouette of the chair and the dog which adds character to the whole image. Then similarly with the dog under a blanket, the photographer has used this prop to create an interesting silhouette and composition for the whole image. Because I will mostly be taking pictures of other peoples dogs it may be hard for me to use props but I can potentially try and achieve this where I can?

eg. ask owners if we can place the dogs in certain areas of the house/park/garden? I would want to keep in mind that I want the dog to be obvious and centre place, as for me I think the image of the dog under the blanket looses the dog a little.

This image has made me rethink some of the conventional ideas about photographing moving objects, the motion blur in this image adds to the sense of speed and rush which dogs travelling in a pack have…. maybe I should experiment with this a little?

I really like the full image spanning across two pages, and the fact that it is a picture with so much movement it makes your eye follow the image across the two pages.

Research through instagram

After a tutorial with Lucy recently where she said it would be ok for me to use Instagram for my research for influence and inspiration, I spent some time searching through some instagram accounts to draw inspiration from:

This account, Life.of.orco, drew my attention through its vivid colours in all the pictures. For me, the images are a little bit ‘generic travel photo’ style, however I like the way they have been edited. The images look very vivid and high in colour saturation in parts however manage to keep a natural feel.

It has reminded me that I really still need to work on my editing technical skills




These images from Ciscolo and the wild_at_heart_foundation accounts are the style of dog photography that I love. Although they are all digital, they have an appearance which is more like analogue photography. The colours are softer and the images almost glow.

There is more emotion in these images I feel, this is why I would ideally like to have most of my dog images in analogue. Not only because I love the process but because I feel like soft emotional tones of film matches the emotions of dogs.

What I really like about these images by ‘thiswildidea’ is the connection you feel between the owner and the dog through the physical connection between the person and dog and through the composition.

Should I start including the owners with their dogs in my dog photography? or try and show some sort of connection through this?

A completely different aspect of dog photography which I like in this Jermzlee account is humour.

One thing I love within dog photography is the silliness you get from the dogs in some photographs. This account of a pug is amusing, very different to a lot of the more serious emotions from dog pictures.

I need to think about what my emotional aesthetic is with my dog pictures. Am I going to be more serious or do I want more energy and humour in them?

Or is there a way I can combine all of them and die them in together without confusing people?

One thing I noticed when searching through Instagram was that I found barely any accounts which had dog images on analogue cameras. This led me to search for any photographers who do/have done this:

Nicholas Lindsey

On this article I found an artist Nicholas Lindsey who has some really lovely shots of dogs taken on analogue camera. The images combine the two things I love: Analogue photography and dogs.

The images are not perfect in the way that commercial dog photography is. I’m not sure how many people would want to pay a photographer to get photos of their dogs that aren’t the typical digital perfection shots, however for my personal taste I adore the combination.

The characterful nature of analogue photos matches perfectly with the character of dogs. The dusk marks on this image above even add character. It reminds me of a photo I took of my dog Dave a while ago which I love for the same reasons:

This article was actually incredibly useful not only to get some inspiration, but to get some insight from the photographer who specifically spoke about what gear he finds good for shooting dogs on:

‘ For these photographs I use my Mamiya m645 Super with an 80mm 2.8 lens loaded with Ilford Delta 400 for black and white and Kodak Portra 400 for color. As I mentioned earlier, the 645 really yields a pleasant aspect ratio for portraits and these two film stocks complement skin tones and facial details quite well

Maybe I could try out a 645 mama from Vernon?

I could also try getting some Portra 400 if my bank account lets me, however at the moment it seems I will have to shoot with Fujicolour 200 due to the amount of rolls I am wanting to get.

He also had given some tips on how to get natural looking poses from dogs who may be uninterested:

What I found works best is to give the dog something curious or captivating to look at, so I bring them outside to watch cars drive by or squirrels climb trees. This distracts them from me and gives them a natural expression.

This may work really well with some of my shoots with other peoples dogs where I have more control overland I can ask the owners to place the dogs somewhere.

(Image and quotes from article

Magnum photo search for dog analogue photos

Whilst searching on the Magnum photo website for dogs, I found quite a few black and white dog shots by Bruce Gildan and Richard Kalvar:


This image by Bruce Gilden has a lovely composition and impressively in focus on the dog. I love how the tip of the left dogs ear is followed on by the back of the next dog… it creates a nice Flo throughout the image and give the image a close golden ratio.

If I can I feel it is about time I really start to try and use my composition in dog photography more wisely and try and shoot the dogs incorporating the background to create a more interesting composition.

Richard Kalvar has captured a very characterful and almost anthropomorphic image here. The dog almost sits in a humanistic way.

One thing I have picked up on in many analogue photos is that even ones that are really highly regarded aren’t always in perfect focus. I am very very analytical about my own photos that they be perfectly in focus, something which may I should revise and if I think it is a good photo overall to not disregard it just because it isn’t in perfect focus.

Eliot Erwit

I bought this book due to Eliot Erwitt being one of my favourite photographers for obvious reasons: Just dog photos all on analogue cameras. To get some further inspiration and insight into analogue dog photography I spent some time going through the book.

The book is jam packed full of dog photos, allincrediblo in their own right. The huge variety of amazing images in the book has made me feel a little more at ease about my photos potentially having different aesthetics. I’m not really sure whether my photography practice is homed in enough for me to be able to get exactly the same kind of aesthetic in each image.

I also really appreciate and love how Erwitt has managed to mix artistic street style photography with dog photography. It has encouraged me to keep trying to add a little bit of an edge to my dog photos. Maybe not to conform to the traditional types of dog photography?

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