Friday, May 7, 2010

Maggie and the Hydrant

So a recent reader of my blog posted a comment saying that her dog Mandy was really afraid of cameras. After careful observation they noticed Mandy was responding with fear to flash photography. After practice outside without the flash, and then practice outside with the flash, Mandy has become a little more accustomed to getting her picture taken. Still, if there are lots of people with lots of cameras, she's a little afraid. Who likes being chased by paparazzi? I know I don't.

While I've never been fearful of cameras, my human has still been prone to finding me annoying while he takes my picture. I don't sit still. I can't tell you how many great pictures he gets of the tip of my tail or the inside of my mouth (I love trying to lick the camera).

This is apparently a common dilemma. Never fear as I have a few simple solutions. First off, you need a lot of patience. Let go of taking the pictures you think you want. Go with the flow and let your dogs be dogs. They'll do lots of cute things. Focus on catching something unexpected rather than composing what you want. It makes for better images anyway.

Secondly, if your pup is afraid of the camera go slow. Think of it from our point of view. You disappear behind a strange object. Sometimes you get mad or anxious at us when you are behind it. When we least expect it, the thing will flash a bright light at us. You'd be scared too. Make it into a game, and incorporate the camera into our daily activities. Have the camera with you when you feed your puppy a meal. Put the camera in front of your face and give us a bit of our favorite food. Before you know it, the camera will be an object of delight rather than one of fear.

Finally, take lots of pictures. Digital photography is cheap. Take hundreds of pictures of your animal. At first maybe you'll get an interesting one for every 50 images. You'll quickly begin to learn what works and what doesn't. The quality of your compositions will improve.

As you can see, I did a photo shoot this morning by a local fire hydrant. As usual, there were a voluminous amount of photos that just didn't work. These were just a few. Part of the problem is that the human's digital camera is a bit on the slow side. The second between when he presses the button to when the image is captured is just enough for me to find something else to do. The first photo I am demonstrating how I like to move just a bit out of the frame. Isn't that nice? The second photo demonstrates how I like to hide my face. Photo three is evidence that I have a wandering eye: there were birds that needed investigation. In the last shot above I'm sampling a new variety of grass. It was might tasty.

There were a trio of shots that ended up being reasonable. Here are my picks for the day:


  1. lol thank you so much for the advice Maggie! I love the second picture out of the 'reasonable' ones. I like the advice about getting her used to the camera, I think that will definitely help. It also makes since that it can be scary for her when I 'disappear' from the camera. Mandy really tries to protect me from anything she decides is dangerous (large quilts, inner tubes in the pool, my sister, etc. lol) She seems more worried when I'm the one with the camera then when my mom or a friend is holding the camera. Thanks again for all your help Maggie! I'll be sure and let you know how it goes!

  2. Quilts are scary! A little dog could get lost under one. Looking forward to seeing your pictures!

  3. Love the pictures of Maggie & the hydrant. The second to last one is picture perfect & needs to be added to Maggie's gramma's grandpuppy picture albumn!