It’s a Dog’s Life - tyneholm
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It’s a Dog’s Life

Assignment S41

Dogs have featured in street photography for years and can make terrific subjects. They don’t object to having their picture taken (usually!), they will look you in the eye, and they often look cute. However, just walking around taking random pictures of random dogs probably isn’t enough to hold anyone’s attention for long-and it isn’t exactly street photography. 

So, your pictures need to have a sense of purpose, and the best way to achieve this is to concentrate your approach and focus on a theme. Here are a few examples to give you some inspiration: 

  • Dogs on public transport
  • Dogs that look like their owners
  • Dogs in cars
  • Dogs wearing things (coats, hats, even necklaces or sunglasses!)
  • Street dogs (strays) 
  • Cool-looking dogs
  • Dogs in a specific area 
  • Fierce-looking dogs

If you want to photograph the dog and its owner, you could ask them to hold the dog in their arms or use a wideangle focal length in the region of 8-1 Bmm and shoot them both together from a low angle to achieve a dramatic look; shooting this way makes it easy to disguise the fact that the owner will also be in the picture. 

However, dog owners are usually very proud of their pets and are delighted or flattered to have them photographed. 

For this assignment, create a series of nine square images that can be arranged as a grid, thinking about how you could use framing, depth of field, distance, or any other technique to tie them together. 

View the images

Technique

  • Always aim to shoot at the animal’s eye level and, usually, with eye contact-this will grab the viewer’s attention and draw them right in to your image.
  • In most situations it is worth catching the dog’s attention-a discrete whistle or click of the fingers usually works.
  • Select as fast a shutter speed as possible-dogs move quickly!

Field Notes

  • Look at the work of Elliott Erwitt, Dougie Wallace, and Tony Ray-Jones for inspiration.
  • Take care not to get bitten! Dogs can easily be spooked by shiny cameras and loud clicks so be prepared for the unexpected.