It’s a cold frosty morning. I have a 6 mile bike ride ahead of me, a full day of work and its starting to rain. But dog waits for no man and my faithful companion is waiting patiently for her exciting walk through the field. Her friends may already be waiting for her and she’s eager to get going! I grab her lead, some treats, the camera and off we go!
Although there are days when I would rather be curled up in bed, the opportunities that come from walking every day with a camera in your hand outweigh the benefit of a few minutes of sleep. Granted, most of my photos (when walking Tilly) are of the dog, but it still gets me out there, becoming motivated and enthusiastic about photography again.
Below are my experiences for anyone who has a dog but is also interested in photography and want to combine the two activities in a cohesive stress free way. I don’t have all the answers but I hope this will give you some guidance. If not, you can browse through to the photos!
To achieve a stress free walk your dog needs to be reliable at recall, and comfortable with other dogs. If (like me) you become quite engrossed with your photography, you will not have an eye on your dog. Therefore they need to be well socialised and friendly. Your dog needs to be confident enough to explore on their own but not so clingy that they will hassle you to play every second.
Tilly is just over a year old. I have been on photography walks with her, and she does tend to get bored whenever I stop to take a photo. Bored = whining. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you’re stalking a deer or bird, this could be devastating for your award winning shot, as elusive animals don’t tend to like loud sounds!
It is almost impossible to have your dog on a lead, while taking photos. Always check the area you want to take your dog to and make sure they are allowed off lead. Arne is a fantastic place for photographic opportunities and dogs are allowed, but only on a lead.
I have found that getting out earlier and staying out later, or shooting in the winter months is the best time for two reasons. Your dog won’t be distracted by other dogs or people, as there is no one around at that time. You will achieve fantastic sunrise and sunset photos and able to gain access to areas which are normally crowded in the summer months.
If your dog is an explorer they could encourage you to go off the beaten track, giving you the opportunity to photograph things you wouldn’t normally consider. If your dog is with you, use him. He can be an asset for your photography and help you to improve.
Tilly does tend to be the star of most of my photos when I’m out and about. She is a natural poser. This helps when she knows lots of commands already, so if your photography focuses primarily around your walking companion, then the basic sit and stay will help dramatically.
However, you don’t need a dog to take photos. Make yourself get up and out! I promise you it will be worth it and you will never regret what photos you get. You WILL regret what opportunities you’ve missed.