How to photograph a black dog

Thanks to Emma, who asked us for this post on how to photograph a black dog. Like many owners of black dogs, I have many photographs where Rosie looks like a big black blob with no distinguishable features.

There’s no doubt, black dogs are definitely harder to photograph. Sadly, this does have an effect,  as on average a black dog will stay in a rescue centre twice as long as another dog. There are many myths and superstitions about black dogs, and both people and dogs have a tendency to be suspicious of them, particularly big black dogs, which is why black Newfoundlands are often used in puppy sociability training sessions. So, lets take some great photos of our black dogs to show the world how gorgeous they are. Here are a few tips.

1544341_10151804552462680_1108260935_nFind soft light

A bright sunny day means your camera will not be able to show both the bright light of the sun and sunlit surroundings and the very dark details of your dog’s fur and eyes etc. Find a shady spot on a sunny day if you can, or take the photo during the early morning or just before dusk when the light is softer.

31316_398080362679_3115572_nEmbrace cloudy days

Cloudy days are good days to take photographs of black dogs, because the sunlight is diffused..

IMG_9985Try to capture the eyes

This is so hard, but if you take a photo from above, and fairly close when your dog is sitting near to you, you can capture those soulful eyes. Wetting the fur around the eyes or just getting them to look up so you can see through the fur is helpful.

Use fill in flash

If it is a little dark, using the ‘fill-in’ flash on your camera means you can light up your dog’s features. Ideally the sun will be behind your dog and the flash can then balance it out — this takes a little experimentation and don’t do it if your dog hates the flash! But you can bounce flash off a white ceiling, or try reflecting sunlight onto your dog’s face with something white, such as a piece of white card.

1493215_10151804552757680_1883938713_nBackground colour

A green field, the sea, a colourful backdrop of greens, blues or yellows compliments the colouring of your black dog.

Here are some more photos of Rosie, please do send photos of your black dogs and any tips you have to photograph them. 

Coming soon on the blog: An interview with Richard Horsfield, Dogtographer extraordinaire…

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