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"Pupparazzi" pro shares her secrets for capturing the best dog photos ever

Kaylee Greer images for talk at The photography show
(Image credit: Kaylee Greer)

Dog photography is a fun pursuit among pet owners and animal lovers, but it's also an inherently challenging one. Dogs don't stay still for long, which means your focusing and composition need to be lightning-fast.

Of course, some of the best professional cameras (opens in new tab) (like the Nikon Z9 (opens in new tab), the Canon EOS R5 (opens in new tab) and plenty more besides) now feature unbelievable animal Eye Detection AF, which helps to get subjects sharp. But nothing beats having the right skills and tricks when it comes to capturing fun, characterful and technically good dog photos.

We recently caught up with the award-winning 'dogtographer' Kaylee Greer, who is appearing at The Photography Show (opens in new tab) this year to share her secrets for capturing the best dog photos ever (opens in new tab). Let's see what Kaylee had to say.

Kaylee Greer
Kaylee Greer

Kaylee Greer is one of the world's leading ‘dogtographers.’ A creative leader in her industry, she has dedicated her life to telling the stories of the dogs who have been forgotten and left behind, helping them to get adopted. Kaylee has been featured on Nat Geo Wild’s TV channel with a three-part Pupparazzi series and has a book that has recently been published called ‘Dogtography’. She will also be appearing at The Photography Show 2022 (opens in new tab) sharing advice on how to get the perfect pup pic!

Kaylee Greer images for talk at The photography show

(Image credit: Kaylee Greer)

What can we expect from your appearance at The Photography Show?

If you come hang with me for my presentation at The Photography Show, you can most certainly expect all of the following things in droves:

Color, light, whimsy, silliness, a discussion about the merits of peanut butter, and an endless supply of dog-hair-covered tips and tricks for crafting outrageous photos of dogs. 

On the technical side of dog photography, I’ll be sharing about lenses, light, location and camera settings. On the super duper sneaky secrets side, I’ll be sharing about how to work with the dogs themselves and the various, unexpected tools that I use at my shoots on-location to create out of this world imagery that truly captures the unbridled spirit and joy of your best friend. 

It’ll be a kickin’ good time and I am so excited to see you there!

What are your top tips for beginner pet photographers?

I’m gonna rattle 3 of the most effective tips I have up my sleeve for getting kick-butt photos of dogs, ready?

  1. Get Low. Changing up your perspective from the expected, run-of-the-mill ‘looking down at a dog from standing height’ shot, suddenly immerses you into your pet’s world and becomes something completely impactful and remarkable. So get down on your dog’s eye level and watch the magic happen.

  2. Use fun and interesting sounds. Sounds keep your dog engaged and nail some super soul-meltingly, heart-explodingly endearing expressions in your imagery. Think of sounds your pup has never heard before like a kazoo or duck call. (And here’s my tip on top of a tip -  with great sounds come great responsibility. Use these sounds sparingly and only when you need them to keep them novel and interesting to your dog. Overuse of sounds, like rapidly squeaking a dog toy non stop for 10 minutes, can quickly go from being fun for your dog to being stressful and overwhelming. In other words, ‘Ye shall squeak only when there is an absolute and undeniable need to squeak.’ If you follow that golden rule, you’ll be in brilliant shape!

  3. Put your dog up on something. And by ‘something’, I mean a log, a rock, a bench, maybe even the arm of your couch if he’s small enough. These elements allow you to get your dog up off the ground (where he’s very distracted and busy with important things to do like pee on the world and eat cool sticks) and helps him focus on your camera with more intention while holding his stay just a little bit longer than if he were ground level. This gives you a few more seconds to wipe the dog drool off your lens and really nail a fur-covered photo masterpiece.

What camera kit do you use and why?

I’ve quite literally – just a few weeks ago – upgraded to the Canon EOS R3 (opens in new tab) mirrorless system from my previous Canon 1DX MK III (opens in new tab). This camera has absolutely blown my socks off my feet and straight into the sky. The speed is mind-bending, and incredibly useful for very fast moving, constantly wiggling four-legged subjects.. But even better than that? Well, I only have to say three, game-changing words: 

Animal. Eye. Autofocus. 

You can catch Kaylee's talk at The Photography Show in Birmingham, UK on Monday September 19, 15:30-16:45. Find out more about the Canon EOS R5's animal eye autofocus (opens in new tab) and how to capture dog photography in action (opens in new tab).

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