Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Photographing Your Pet ...

One of the photo booth backdrops
Bumperpet.com (www.bumperpet.com) has now attended or been a sponsor at two local Chicago charity events within the last 2 months:  Orphans of the Storm (where over $7,000 was raised) and more recently at PAWSChicago Walk/Run for their lives this past Sunday.  The booth was set up so dogs could be photographed against one of many backgrounds as well as an image of a female or male with a cut-out for the face of the dog.  The intent was to have the dog place his head through the hole and be photographed while looking at the camera.  This proved to be more difficult in reality than in concept.

In dog photography, one factor that leads to either success of failure comes from whether or not your dog has been trained that looking directly at a person or object is an okay thing to do.  Dogs that have been frequently photographed and are used to the camera as a non-threatening object will not object to looking directly into a lens. 

This dog seems to not be camera shy!
Izzy at Orphans of the Storm Walk

Some dogs who know that a treat will follow the picture actually hold poses until the photograph has been taken.   At least Izzy knows that more often than not, if the "wait" command is used, a treat will follow the sound(s) of the camera clicking. 

Other dogs appear to be camera shy if not actually camera-phobic (see below):
It was difficult to get a 'head-on' photo of this dog at the Orphans of the Storm Walk

A peaceful greeting
Why might these differences occur?  Turid Rugaas' paperback entitled:  On Talking Terms with Dogs:  Calming Signals, http://www.dogwise.com/ItemDetails.cfm?ID=DTB527, states that in canine social behavior, dogs actually consider it rude to look directly at another dog (or human for that matter) and that staring can be view as aggressive.  For example, dominant wolves will often stare at 'wannabe' alphas to demonstrate superiority and otherwise avoid violent confrontation.  That's why you see dogs greet one another from the side (in a wide circling behavior) and sniff noses and then genitals as a greeting and to determine the status of which dog is dominant and which is not.

See how they greet one another off lead!

No tension.  Watch the body language.
So it is not surprising that many photos on our website from the PAWS event were photos of dogs with faces slightly turned away from the camera.  Fee free to visit our photographic experience at the PAWSChicago Walk/Run for their Lives to see how few dogs really wanted to look directly at the camera.  You can access the photographs from our home page at www.bumperpet.com.

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