My Favorite Furry Faces – Photographing Dogs from Down Low

I love all furry faces, but there are a few that are my favorites. When I began the Embark Challenges I knew I also wanted to use my own dogs from some of the challenges. Just as the cobbler’s children have no shoes – the pet photographer’s dogs have no photos. I wanted to take this opportunity to push myself to create more photos of my own favorite furry faces. The Get Down challenge was the perfect opportunity to head out to the backyard to create some photos of my dogs. The brief was simple – photographing dogs from a low angle.

 Embark Dog Photography Challenge 2 – Get Down

Thankfully the simple brief, photographing dogs from a low angle, allowed me to create images at home.

At the time, we had our 5 French Bulldog foster puppies booked for final vet appointments before being ready to go to their new homes. I had vet appointments, morning drop offs, and afternoon pickups filling a lot of my time, which didn’t leave a lot of room for scheduling photo shoots away from home. Instead, I spent several evenings rolling around in the grass of my backyard trying to take a challenge worthy photo of one of my dogs.

Did I mention I had 5 twelve week old Frenchie mix puppies and 5 adult dogs running around in my yard? Yep, it was as chaotic as it sounds. I’d be laying on my belly photographing one dog while another one photobombs and three puppies are standing on my back pulling my hair and eating my camera strap. It was glorious – seriously the stuff dreams are made of.

Puppy pandemonium with foster puppies running around makes heading out to sessions harder.

Favorite Photographs of Dogs from Down Low

The first image I loved from my backyard sessions was Carolina with her toy. Carolina is wild & sassy and rarely stays still more than a moment – so while I love this photo for myself (and I will totally print it for my yearly album) her eyeball is not perfectly in focus.

So while I LOVE this image that captures her crazy personality, I knew it would be rejected by the judges on the technical imperfection.

But, it’s summer here in Georgia and it is HOT! So hot in fact that normally stoic, serious, professional RBF girl Lira was panting while playing outside. I mean, I know she’s spoiled rotten, and I’m pretty sure she’s happy, but Lira doesn’t often look happy. That means I have very few photos of her “grinning”. And maybe it’s just my mom goggles, but I was able to capture one of my favorite photos of one of my favorite furry faces of all time!

Some dog photographs are keepers even if they aren't technically perfect.
Some dog photographs are keepers even if they aren't technically perfect.

Post Processing Images of Dogs

In 98% of my images, I’m just making simple edits. I usually adjust a few shadows & highlights, make sure the white balance is correct, remove a few small distractions, & edit out leashes. My style of dog photography is pretty natural and true to life – if a slightly more idealized version of life – one that doesn’t have eye boogers and where dogs frolic off leash.

In this image of Lira though, I knew I needed to do a little more work before submitting it. I wanted to remove the large portion of blown out sky, simplify the picket fencing framing her, remove distractions, & improve the composition that I didn’t nail in camera.

To fill in the parts of the sky I sourced bits of tree from a few different images and blended them in to give a sky filled with a giant oak filtering the light. Next, I mirrored the picket fencing from the right to the left to simplify the fencing making them match. I also used Photoshop’s “Content Aware Crop” to add a little extra room at the top which required a little manual clean up as well. Finally I cleaned up the grass and Lira’s face to get rid of distractions.

I left her name tag where you can read “Lucky Little Lira”.

The Results from My Get Down Dog Photo Challenge Image

I love this photo of Lira, and I’m really proud of capturing an image where she looks so happy since I know that’s a tricky shot to get of her. And while I made the “short list”, my image was ultimately not selected for the Top 20. The judges main concern was they wanted to see a “warmer” image and more perfect centering in the composition.
I made those adjustments and resubmitted my image to be considered for the final overall awards at the end of the dog photography challenge later this year.

Let’s go behind the scenes and see how I arrived at the final happy photograph of Rabun the Dalmatian for the Coloriffic dog photography challenge.

Does your dog have what it takes to be an Embark model?

This blog is a part of a blog circle with pet photographers from across the globe! This week we’re talking about our favorites!

Next up Wisconsin dog photographer Jan Bezzo of Shadow Dog Photography discusses her 10 favorite reasons to adopt a dog.

Be sure to keep clicking the link at the bottom to complete the circle until you wind up back here!

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  1. Elaine

    Great post on the perspective of “down low.” Lira is so adorable!

  2. Tracy Allard

    Hmmm, let me think – do I want to lay on the ground and photograph a bunch of French Bulldogs (and PUPPIES!!!) – heck yeah! So jealous and great job! The pictures are filled with personality and are so dynamic.

  3. Jan

    Your images are gorgeous, they all made me smile! and what a fun and refreshing perspective.

  4. Darlene

    I love the image you submitted! So cute. My favorite part is Lira’s little collar tag showing 🙂 She’s a cutie pie!

  5. Nicole

    5 Frenchies, OMG! That sounds like a dream come true! Love all of these images. <3


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