I love dogs. I especially love dogs that are super friendly. I love big wet slobbery dog kisses. I love a dog that want to climb right in my lap and snuggle. I love the dog that wants to share the couch while I nap and the bed while I sleep. I love all of this dog stuff and the bigger the dog the better.
I love the dog that wants to be right there beside you at all times. I love the dog that just follows you from place to place.
The funny thing is that when I meet up with one of these dogs at the shelter, the ones that do all of these things that I love they can be some of the most challenging to photograph. That sounds counterintuitive, but fundamentally most lenses need a minimum amount of distance between the lens and the camera to be able to focus and create a photograph that is in focus. There are lenses specifically for photographing objects up close that require much less distance but in that case I would likely be taking a photograph of the dogs eye and maybe nose. While that can be a very cool photograph and I do take this style of photo at times they are not ideal for photographs of the shelter dogs as most people who are interested in adopting would probably like to see what the dog actually looks like and include more than just an eye.
I generally use a 70-200 f 2.8 telephoto zoom lens for photographing shelter dogs. I love this lens for a lot of reasons. I won’t go into the specifics here. (That’s a whole different post) This lens just gives me the most options of what I can do when photographing the dogs and allows me to work in the widest array of conditions and circumstances. By the way did I mention it helps me create stunning images. If you have seen a photograph I have taken of a shelter dog, for example the ones in this post, there is a 99.9% chance it was taken with this lens.
If you have any questions about the equipment I use or my process for photographing shelter dogs please feel free to get in touch.
I am currently working on a project with the Chemung County SPCA and the Chemung County Historical Society to create an art exhibit featuring photographs of shelter dogs. If you are interested in supporting this project please go to my Indiegogo campaign at this link and donate: http://igg.me/at/ShelterDogsattheMuseum/x/13239346