This week's lesson is a photo recipe for kids with their dog! My inspiration came from the "Best Friends" photo recipe from Me Ra Koh's book Your Child in Pictures. The kids love Sadie so much, that I wanted to capture them together. Sawyer, in particular, gets excited by anything furry with four legs. While they will always love their doggy, the dynamic of their relationship may change as the kids get older. You know me, always capturing these fleeting moments before they are gone!
SET UP: Choose a location with little distractions and ample natural light. I decided to use the door to our stairs as a plain background and as a place to keep that kids and dog lined up. It was also a dark day so I was able to open the front door for a little extra light. Grab a couple treats (I used skittles for the kids and training treats for Sadie!) to help keep the puppy dog in place.
SETTINGS: Start by setting your f-stop to f/2.0, or as low as your lens will allow. This will help you create the buttery background we all love. You will also need to select a shutter speed that is pretty fast to help freeze the action. Since dogs and toddlers are fast, you will need to be faster! Finally, choose an ISO of 400 or higher, depending on the amount of light you have available.
COMPOSE: What story are you trying to tell? If you have multiple kids lined up with your dog you should shoot horizontally to get everyone in the shot. However, as you will see in an image down below, a vertical shot can play to a more intimate & sweet moment between the dog and her human!
This first image is my favorite. Sawyer isn't looking at me, but smiling at her "Sadie doggie." She decided she wanted to lay just like Sadie and was inching closer, yet Sadie was a little hesitant. It completely shows their relationship right now. Although Sadie is very protective of her little humans, she gets nervous when they grin and come scooting closer to her. I don't blame her, Sawyer is a little crazy!
Try asking your child to give their dog a hug. Make sure you are ready to shoot as it can happen quickly! Once again see how a horizontal photo works well for a tender moment?
I had to include this outtake! As I was getting ready, the kids were all excited for their treat. Sadie wasn't sure why I was making her sit right in that spot, and Sawyer really really wanted a skittle. (She used to hold her hands out like that just in case her arm got tired waiting for her treat). Shortly after this, Milo decided he'd rather play with his trucks than participate in the photo shoot!
Now it's your turn! Try photographing your kids with the family dog. Just make sure you follow the set up tips above. Setting up before hand can alleviate a lot of frustration during the shoot!