Everybody knows a picture is worth a thousand words. Here are a few hundred about how to get that picture!
Here's Harry making his 2008 Christmas card!
You want to be able to select those 1000 words so that your picture tells a story. We'll help you by revealing some of our tricks!
The most important thing is to keep it fun! Posing for a long time to get your photo taken can be boring or even stressful. Praise and treats are mandatory. Most poses are just obedience exercises done in front of the camera, like sit, down, and of course, stay. Make your photo shoot seem like a normal training session. As you can see in the video, the perfect shot doesn't come right away! Sometimes it helps to use your clicker to "freeze" the pose you're looking for. If you're doing an action shot like this, then posing can be a game, too. Stop for a rest every now and then. We taught Harry a new command, "Take 5," to let him know when it was okay to break his pose and wander off for a stretch and a drink of water.
Your background and foreground should usually just support your photo, not feature in it. Pay attention to them so that they don't distract from your subject. For this photo, we used a roll of photography backdrop paper for the background. To make the foreground a little more interesting, we used a sheet of fibrefill insulating fabric because it looks a bit like snow and it gave Harry some traction for jumping. Most of the time the floor and a clear section of wall will work well. Our favourite do-it-yourself background and foreground is a bed sheet draped on the couch or a couple of dining room chairs. A plain sheet makes a great backdrop because you already have it, it doesn't reflect the flash, and it's often got some texture to make the shot just a bit more interesting. Also, it doesn't wrinkle like paper, so it's a lot easier to pack around with you.
We like to use props and costumes to make every photo unique. Our basement sometimes looks like a Hollywood backlot from the good ol' days before green screens and CGI. It doesn't have to take a lot of work. For this photo, we spent a couple of weekends hunting for the biggest wreath we could find. We got the idea from Harry's agility class because he had just learned to jump through a hoop. We added a little bit of garland and some ornaments and it was done!
Both you and your dog will get better with practice, so get started and keep it up. Have fun and post them on-line for us to see!