How are you guys doing? Did you enjoy part 1 of The October Photography Challenge?

If you missed it, or you are new here (hello!) every month here on the blog and on my Instagram, I aim to host a pet photography challenge. The purpose is to help us all get outside our comfort zone and try something new! 

But this month I decided to mix things up, and create a series of weekly mini challenges – to really get our creativity moving and start the new season feeling energised, fresh and motivated. 

In part one of this month’s dog photography challenges, we explored honing in on details and opening out our perspective. So definitely check that out if you haven’t already to get you started!

But this week it’s time to dive into our next 2 challenges, so we can finish October in true style 🙂

This time we’ll be looking at capturing candid moments & sentimental props. I’ll share some images as we go, to help you get started.

Sidenote – You Don’t Have To Enter!

As always, you don’t have to participate in this challenge. Feel free to play with it in whatever way works for you, or save it to come back to later when you feel you have the time and energy to try something new. Or even come back and see what your fellow photographers have created for further inspo!

Week 3: Capturing Candid Moments

Everyone loves a great candid photo, right? When we or someone we know is caught off guard, being entirely themselves. Perhaps laughing joyously or simply staring into the distance. Candid moments show our subjects naturally, perfectly & magically themselves.  

Which is why capturing candid moments in dog photography is so special to me!

But let’s be real…they can be hard to capture with our four-legged friends. Depending on the kind of dog you are working with, some might be doing zoomies so fast you struggle to keep up, while others will end up “sticky” and hanging out with you, wondering what’s up.

It can also be difficult to work with lighting when you are letting the dog roam around – shadows or side lighting can wreak havoc on your photos in this much freer set up. 

Plus, if you are working with multiple dogs (I am always trying my best to get candid shots of my two boys), getting them in focus can be hard if you still want a narrow depth of field. 

Composition can also be challenging! It’s easy to chop off parts of your subjects, or frame them less than ideally when they’re wandering around free like the wind!

So here are some tips to work those creative muscles and nail a candid shot: 

  • Make use of light and location in the best way you can, maybe by placing yourself in a good position and awaiting your dog’s entry into a solid spot.
  • Keep an eye on composition, and try to keep your dog in a pleasing area of the frame. 
  • Tell a story of that moment, how you arrived here and what you think your dog is showing you in that moment – maybe by showing something particular about the subject or highlighting their surroundings.
  • Don’t feel like all posing is a fail. Perhaps ease yourself in with having them pose, but then capture moments where the dog moves or does his own thing. The main thing is that there is a “trueness” about the dog in the photo. This happened with the photo of Loki looking up at some birds below!

Week 4: Sentimental Props

This mini-challenge is about capturing our subject with something that’s special to them. In the same way we might do this in human portraits, I love transferring this into my dog photography, and showing elements of our pup’s journeys and personalities this way.

Maybe it’s a favourite toy, maybe it’s his best friend, or even with his favourite person! 

For this challenge be sure to think about:

  • Telling a story with the item. Is there a way to show why it’s special and its significance to your dog? Ie: would an action shot be appropriate? Or a more detailed posed photo?
  • Get creative with location, if it will help you tell this story. 
  • As always, bear in mind lighting, composition and shadows. Try to not let focus be too drawn away from the object and its relationship with your subject.

What Next?

If you’ve had a go at these two challenges and you want to share your creative results with our community, simply follow the steps below:

  • Share your photos with other likeminded photographers in the Inspawration Connect Community.
  • If you upload your photos to your Instagram feed and/or story don’t forget to use use the hashtag #inspawrationchallenge and tag me (@inspawrationphotography) in the actual image so I can see your amazing shots.
  • See other entries you like? Let them know! 🙂

I’m so excited to see what you come up with, and I’m sure I’m going to be blown away by the creativity – as I always am!

The Final Touch

When we manage to get that magic photo, it’s such an exciting experience! But the real magic for me happens in the edit. 

It’s the place I feel my creativity flows and the stories of the shots come to life. You all already know how much I love Lightroom, which I’ve been teaching on my dog photography course already…but I have something I’ve been working on for a long time that is nearly ready to share with you guys…

Get ready to welcome the Photoshop For Pet Photography Course! 

My newest ​​pet photography online class will take you through what each of the most important photoshop tools are for Pet Photographers, so you won’t be staring at the screen in overwhelm. Instead you’ll be ready to confidently edit out any unwanted distractions, create incredible effects of light and add a touch of fantasy with overlays. 

It’s designed as a jumping off point for you to then hone your own editing style, with the opportunity for Q&As, group feedback and growing together!

Launching soon so stay tuned (and sign up to the newsletter for updates!)

I’d love to meet you there 🙂

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