Puppy Photography

Our Top 4 Tips for taking pawsome puppy pics!

 Ever wanted to capture your puppy in the pawfect photo but frustrated by the lighting conditions or when your puppy decides it’s suddenly camera shy!? We can relate! Here at Banksia Park Puppies, we take many puppy photos per week for our website and customers, and we usually need to work with whatever Mother Nature decides on any given day and the personality of each puppy. We don’t have any professional gear or fancy setups, usually just a basic DSLR camera, the subject ie. the puppy and location ie. the park. We are sometimes asked by our Banksia Park Community for tips on how to take good photos of dark coloured puppies and puppies in general, so we thought we would help you out! We definitely aren’t professionals but our years of puppy photography experience will certainly get you started – all you need is your puppy/dog, any camera of choice, a location, and our Top 4 Tips!
Lighting
Time of Day
Position
Persuasion
Read on for our 4 Top Tips plus a BPP Top Tip & Insight to help take your puppy photography to the next level:

Tip1

Tip 1. Lighting

This is one of the most important tips for capturing a great snap of your puppy as well as for photography in general! The best lighting conditions are: light shade, overcast and sunny.

Light/open shade:

This means on the edge of a shady area just before the full-sun area. Light shade areas can either be under a tall tree, shade cloth/sail, verandah or near a building. When your puppy moves deeper into the shaded area you can risk losing its features due to low lighting and black puppies can ‘disappear’ in the dark background. Unfortunately, mosquitoes love the shade as well especially on a warm sunny day so be prepared with some insect repellant. Mozzies usually aren’t a problem for puppies with thick coats but keep an eye out for any that try to get into your puppies delicate areas.

Overcast:

Is when the sun is covered by clouds or sometimes smoke/pollution. This is one of the best weather conditions for capturing details in puppies! Overcast conditions produce soft lighting instead of the contrasting strong lighting and dark shadows on a full-sun day! Sometimes overcast days means rain which is not always great for your camera! It is fine for your puppy/dog to experience being rained-on and most of the time they will enjoy it – just be mindful that your puppy is fully dried-off on a cold/rainy day!

Sunny:

A Sunny day always make a photo look warm, bright and cheery! The light is great for not only showing up most puppy features but also capturing the glistening highlights in their fur, eyes, and whiskers! Try to avoid a full-sun aspect especially on hot Summer’s days which can cause your puppy to over-heat and become dehydrated.

These cute Cavoodle siblings have been positioned under a single large tree. As you can see in this photo the puppies are in an open-shaded position just on the edge of where the shade meets the light. This means that it isn’t too shaded/dark but also not too bright/glary from full-sun! This light-shade position means that details are captured in the puppies fur, eyes etc. without harsh dark shadows. This photoshoot was in March (at the start of Autumn) which is still fairly sunny and warm. Because of the warm/sunny weather, it was taken in the evening between 3 and 4pm which means that the sun and light were softer than in the middle of the day and of course cooler in temperature!


Tip2

Tip 2. Time of Day

Sometimes the time of day cannot be controlled especially when your pooch has pulled a super cute pose and you need to capture it asap! Whether you have been selective about the time of day or not we will help you out with the what works best during that time!

Sunrise:

This is a magical time of day when the sun slowly emerges from the horizon and produces a warm and gentle light source! Some mornings may even have the added bonus of mist which can make for an interesting/mysterious photo and your puppy will look magical!

Morning:

Photos in an open area are pawfect for this time of day! The light is still soft during the morning which will capture nice details of your puppy and you won’t need to use a shaded area.

Midday:

The middle of the day is generally too sunny and bright (unless overcast) but is a great time to use light/open shade! If you need to take photos this time of day (especially during hot Summer days) pose your puppy under trees, a verandah or shade sail. It is also a good time of day if you like photography or black and white photography with high contrast ie. strong lights/whites with strong darks/shadows.

Afternoon:

This time of day is overall a good time for puppy photos! During Summer it can sometimes still be quite hot with strong light but is a great time of day to capture the glistening highlights in your puppy’s fur, eyes and whiskers.

Evening/Sunset:

Evenings are another amazing time of day for puppy photography enthusiasts. A sky and horizon filled with warm colours and soft warm light make puppy photos look semi-pro! This is a great time of day to capture the detail of your puppy as well as have a beautiful backdrop!

Night:

Nighttime can, unfortunately, be too dark for puppy photography and result in a blurry dark photo. However this can be avoided by using the flash option on your camera/phone, a slow shutter speed to capture the most amount of light or the best and easiest option is taking your puppy inside and using home lighting as your light source and furnishings as your backdrop!

Seasons:

Puppy photography can be practiced all year round but our personal favorite seasons are Autumn and Spring! The lighting during these times is favorable as it is generally softer than Summer and lighter/brighter than Winter. Autumn has the added bonus of a backdrop of Autumnal colours/leaves and Spring has beautiful flowers and fresh green grass!

This photo of a gorgeous Cavador puppy was taken in the morning between 9-10am, early April. It was a beautiful time of day as the sun was peeping through the trees in the park. In that particular spot, it was still a bit too shady so the puppy was located where soft light was streaming through the trees. The surrounding area was shaded so the puppy became the feature and her light coloured fur and pink harness really stood-out against the darker background.


Tip3

Tip 3. Position

Your puppy’s pose and position can take your photography from paw to pawsome! It’s all very well to pick the best time of day and lighting but then forget to your pose your pooch in a flattering position or realise that your black Cavoodle magically disappeared into a dark coloured background. To avoid fluffy-butt pics or puppy-chameleons here are some tips to help you out!

Puppy Position/Pose:

A good way to position your pooch is to face it towards the light source. This will enable your puppy’s beautiful facial features to be highlighted and visible in the photo. Facing your puppy forward like a portrait is the most well known and flattering position! When you and your puppy get confident you can try different poses such as side pose, action shot, sleeping pose (easy-peasy) etc.

Background/Backdrop:

Backgrounds are often overlooked and understated but can make a big difference to the overall vibe. They can make a puppy either stand out and become the feature subject or recede and blend in with the surroundings. Here at Banksia Park Puppies, we like to use green grass, trees, and our park environment as our background/backdrop and theme. Not only are these a part of our puppies upbringing and our business brand but this backdrop enables all coat colours and puppy breeds to stand out and be the star!

Indoors:

We mainly take puppy photos outside using natural light and the natural environment but there are times and weather conditions where this is undesirable and uncomfortable for our puppies so indoor photography is required! Our indoor set up is basic but gets the job done so we are unable to recommend a professional set up but here are some basic tips for indoor puppy photography…
Try to use as much natural light as possible by posing your puppy near windows or a see-through door. If the area is windowless or if it is nighttime turn on the lights or get creative and use a lamp as the light source and play-around with puppy poses, props and backdrops!

BPP TOP TIP:

Some photographers say don’t work with children or animals for the very reason that they are unpredictable! But don’t worry, you’ll enjoy puppy photography, even more, when you switch your camera setting to ‘Action/Sports’ or adjust your camera’s manual settings to a faster shutter speed! Why’s this? Well, the quicker your camera takes a photo frame the more likely you will be able to capture your puppy playing, running, bounding and just being a puppy! When puppies are awake they are always on the move and using a general camera setting or slower shutter speed will result in missing the pawfect puppy moment and instead the photo will look like a blurry blob against a backdrop! On a camera phone go into the camera’s Settings, then Camera Modes, then Edit Modes and select (or drag and drop) Sports or Action mode (phone settings may differ per device brand and model).

The ‘Sports’ mode with the fast shutter speed helped to capture these cute Cavoodles in action! This photo was taken in the middle of the day and in a full-sun aspect but as it was at the end of Autumn the sun/light wasn’t too strong. The puppies are also facing the light, so no harsh visible shadows across the puppies’ bodies.


Tip4

Tip 4. Persuasion

You maybe be thinking woah hold on a sec – these tips are all very well but how do you encourage your puppy to pose and obey your instructions in the first place!? Don’t be disheartened, here are some handy ideas to help your puppy comply.

Doggy Toys:

Squeaky dog toys are the best tool when enticing or distracting your puppy for a photo. The noise can even cause your puppy to head-tilt or perk its ears which makes for the cutest pic!

Doggy Treats:

Most puppy/dog owners love to spoil their pooch with treats and this is a great way to entice (errr bribe) them to pose for a photo! Some puppies and dogs can even perform cool tricks with the use of treats which makes for a great action shot!

Peanut Butter:

What paw-pal doesn’t love peanut butter!? Best of all it can be smeared onto or under most objects which can not only keep your puppy occupied but entice them to pose in the pawfect position! Just remember to use the low-sugar/salt variety and use only as a treat as overconsumption of this high-fat condiment can lead to weight gain in most dog breeds.

Play-date:

Is your puppy a stage-9 clinger and you don’t fancy taking photos of your feet!? All good, a fun distraction is key and that usually involves a play-mate. If you have a relative or friend with a paw-pal bring them along for a dual photo shoot! Distraction, playtime and lasting memories all in one, minus the feet pics!

Training:

Puppy training is beneficially for your puppy regardless if it’s intended for those pawfect puppy snaps or not! We recommend Ian The Dog Trainer, but there is also puppy training information on the internet and YouTube!

Exercise:

You’re channeling a celebrity puppyrazzi, but you realise that your paw-pal is on red-cordial! This is an ideal time to burn up your puppy’s extra energy and take them for an exercise and play session! Even a walk around the park can calm your puppy enough to sit still and pose!

Assistance:

Finding it challenging juggling a puppy and a camera!? That’s where an assistant can come in handy! It’s best your puppy/dog knows the assistant so they are comfortable when being handled and will listen to their commands. Your assistant can be useful to hold your puppy and then quickly move out of the frame, yet still be close enough to keep your puppy out of potential danger. They can also interact and play with your puppy and be a part of the photoshoot.
BPP INSIGHT:

Here at Banksia Park Puppies our puppies are usually too young for rigid puppy training and to understand what a doggy treat is and we prefer our adult dogs to eat healthy well-balanced meals and not be treat-obsessed so doggy treats are only limited to special occasions and for dental health! So you may be wondering what puppy photography persuasion tricks do we use? We actually use sound! Either whistling, calling out “pup-pup”, “puppy” or dog’s name or using a squeaky dog toy to get their attention. We mainly work solo when taking our puppy photos and rarely have the luxury of an assistant to hold or distract puppies while we take pictures, so using sound is simple and it works! For our photoshoots, we like to capture our puppies acting naturally so we place them down in a section of the park and let them do their thing, which is always entertaining and makes for a spontaneous snap! If we want them to look at the camera we will call out or whistle to get their attention – pretty basic but gets the job done! For our 6 week photos, our puppies are still at that age where they are calm enough to sit still and be puppyrazzied! For the active and older puppies, they are photographed in the Puppy Playground area or in a section of the park where they can run and play but still have their photos taken!

How do you get your puppy or dog to pose and produce pawsome photographs!? Share with us your tips below… 

Birthday Celebration!

4 Generations at Banksia Park…

Today Mary Hams – one of the founders of Banksia Park Puppies at Stradbroke – will celebrate her 90th Birthday! Just looking at her and her immaculate house and garden you would never guess she was a day over 60! Still fit and agile, she loves to get out and about to tend to her plants and chooks, with her dog Roxy close by and her rescued sheep Rambo wanting yet another feed. Our team members love to stop and have a chat with Mary as they walk the dogs past her house. Scrabble with her friends every week keeps her mind sharp and she’s never short of a witty comment or wise advice! She is still determined to do her own shopping and won’t even let you push the trolley, but this tenacity is what helped to start off Banksia Park Puppies at its current Stradbroke location nearly 30 years ago!

Mary’s son Colin had been breeding dogs for the pet industry for over a decade before that and his wife’s dad Alan had been breeding working dogs and then companion dogs since the 1950’s. Colin later moved the family’s dog breeding business to Stradbroke, Victoria in the early 1990’s. The environment is more favourable here in Stradbroke, with even temperatures, lower rainfall compared to other parts of Gippsland and sandy soils, which is ideal for good drainage to reduce the chance of potential waterborne diseases.

When Banksia Park was in its early stages Mary lived on the property by herself taking care of the puppies and parent dogs at night and on the weekend when her son Colin was travelling to and from Trafalgar. Over the years the successful family business has grown and now 4 generations of Hams’ reside at Banksia Park!

Mary has long retired from the business but is always influential with her moral support, level-head and witty advice. Colin is still actively involved as one of the Managing Directors and his supportive wife Kay is well known in the local area as a most loved Primary School teacher, and for her volunteer and charity work which the family is extremely proud of. The reigns have now been passed onto their son Matt who has grown up with puppy breeding in his blood, and along with his wife Kirstin are the Managing and Operational Directors and the face of the brand; you most likely have seen them on the news or heard them on the radio. They live here with their two children, Bella and Diesel who have grown up on the property and enjoy inviting friends and family over to play with the puppies.

On the weekend the family went above and beyond to pay respects to Mary with a spectacular birthday celebration fit for a Queen! A beautiful horse drawn carriage, lead by a bagpiper escorted Mary through the pines, across the road and through Banksia Park, stopping at Mary’s house. Over 70 guests enjoyed the afternoon with a traditional style high-tea and uncanny nice winter weather!

Happy Birthday Mary, may we celebrate many more!!

 

Jazz

Happy Mothers Day to Jazz

Jazz with her puppies

Today is the second day of our Mother’s day week! Happy Mother’s day today to our mum Jazz. Look at our amazing mum! She is gorgeous and loves a pat. She loves a run in our agility park when she doesn’t have puppies as you can see in the photos in the gallery below. Her puppies are healthy and happy and she is checking them all to make sure they’re all clean and growing. Did you know at this stage the puppies cant hear, see or go to the toilet on their own? Mum is doing alot at this age and Jazz is doing an amazing job that’s for sure!

Banksia Park Puppies

Banksia Park Puppies – Cavies and Cavoodles

Fun with our Cavie and Cavoodle puppies

We had a good play with some of our puppies we’re keeping here at Banksia Park Puppies. One day they’ll be Banksia Park Dogs! Now they want lots and lots and lots of attention due to being in their critical socialisation period. This is where they do all their learning. So in this time we put loads of effort into training them, playing with them, patting them, and in general teaching them to be around people and kids. Here are some photos of these gorgeous puppies – Cuzzie, Muppet, Muffin, Harlow, Harsha, Harper, Poko and Harlee.

15 year service awards for Banksia Park Puppies owners

It was a big day last Sunday at Banksia Park Puppies, both of the owners of Banksia Park Puppies, Colin and Matt, received 15 year service awards at a ceremony for the local CFA brigade. Giving back to the community is important to Banksia Park, and being a part of the CFA is a very important activity for us, especially living in the country in the bush like we do.

Both Matt and Colin have been actively involved in the CFA for the last 15 years, participating in many training days as well as actively fighting many fires every fire season. This is a great service to the community.

We take fire very seriously at Banksia Park Puppies, and urge all our followers to as well. Before the fire season starts this year, if you are in a high risk area, make sure you plan and prepare for it and know what you plan to do. Victoria is one of the most fire-prone areas in the world, and we need to remember this going into every fire season.

Congratulations to Matt and Colin, and a big thank you to all the CFA volunteers for everything they do for us and all our communities across Australia.