Most Shiba Inu owners will probably admit that the sheer volume of photos on their phone is comprised solely of their Shibas.
Getting that truly perfect shot of your adorable Shiba Inu may be elusive to those that have minimal photography skills, knowledge, and equipment.
Since getting photos of your Shibe to make him/her Insta-famous is almost as complex as working as a professional photographer, here are some tips and tricks for getting the perfect photograph of your Shiba Inu every single time.
Equipment and Software
The sheer number of equipment and software to choose from can make deciding difficult. Don't despair!
Can't I Just Use My Phone To Take Great Photographs?
Sure, you can definitely get some great shots of your Shiba with a smartphone - especially if they are the latest 2017 higher-end models.
Think at least the Apple7 or the Samsung S8...
However, this article is all about taking your Shiba Inu photography to the next level.
And to achieve that, camera phones just wont do.
But don't worry. It's not that difficult or expensive to find a camera set-up to capture the priceless moments of your life with your Sheebs.
You simply have to choose the right lenses for your shot and figure out if you like mirror-less cameras or DSLR cameras better. (We're not going to mention compact digital cameras because the quality is not much better than a good smartphone.)
In a nutshell, mirror-less cameras are "almost" as compact as compact digital cameras but take waaaay better photographs. They are quite costly though.
DSLR cameras allow you a range of shooting possibilities but with added bulk and heft.
I've always had DSLR cameras but the size and weight of these cameras made it impractical for me to take them to the places I normally go with my dogs.
That's why I love shooting with mirror-less cameras. They are fairly compact and light and can take stunning photographs.
Additionally, mirror-less cameras also have the flexibility of an interchangeable lens system just like DSLR's.
Once you have your camera, you can play around with a variety of lens focal lengths to add different effects to the pictures:
- Fisheye or Ultra-Wide Angle – These run around 8-15 mm and offer a unique 180-degree view of the scene. Though fish-eye lenses are challenging, because they distort the subject and the surroundings, you can get very creative with this.
- Wide-Angle – At 24-35 mm, these don't grant the same distorted perspective of a fisheye, but there is still some elongation. If you want to create a bobble-headed effect or have your Shibe's nose look humongous, this is the lens for you.
- Normal – The 50mm lens is called normal because it mimics how humans see the world. This is best for portraits and limited spaces.
- Telephoto Lens – A telephoto lens runs anywhere from 70-200 mm. The depth, compression, and detail of photographs shot with these type of lens allows you to back up slightly and take in more of the surroundings. You get an honest representation of whatever it is you are shooting with little distortion.
Image Editing Software
Most photography novices wouldn't even think to edit their photos in an image editing program.
It's simply shoot, and post.
However, if you want to have your photographs look as good as possible - editing your images is simply a must.
Image editing will correct color imbalances, lighting issues, and even help slightly blurry images look sharp.
With a little more effort, you can even remove unwanted background elements to ensure that your Shiba is the star of the photo.
As for software, the best to use for editing would be Photoshop; but it is an expensive purchase. Those who are seeking a wonderful free alternative can use Pixlr or another free Photoshop alternative, like GIMP.
10 Easy Tips To Get Perfect Shiba Inu Portraits
# 1 - Relax
Animals are like furry empaths.
You shouldn't be stressed out or anxious around them, because they will immediately sense this and soak up those negative feelings.
Try communicating with your doge non-verbally and calmly.
Make motions that he/she understands. Nothing is worse than barking commands at your photo subject and using their name repeatedly.
In these situations, your Shiba Inu will most likely start tuning you out.
# 2 - Aim To Capture Your Shiba's True Character
Part of being able to capture the funny expressions your Shiba Inu makes is understanding their personality and character.
Just like people, certain situations make them more photogenic than others.
For example, if your Shiba Inu is food motivated, you can always use treats to get them to dance.
Lazier animals are best shot when they are fast-asleep and dreaming.
As for those doggos that don't know how to slow down, try playing with them first, wearing them down, and then shoot their portrait.
Focus on capturing your Shiba Inu's true personality by concentrating on their eyes and expressions.
Just like in humans, the eyes are the windows to a dog's soul. Eyes help convey love, empathy, fear, and trust.
The eyes in the image should be completely sharp. To ensure sharpness on the eyes, choose a single point focus.
A well-timed squeak from a toy or a noise that makes your Shiba Inu cock their head or look at you oddly is going to make a superb photo.
If possible, get an assistant to help you divert your Shiba's attention to get that perfect pose / angle.
# 3 - Treat, Treat, Treat
If your Shiba Inu is a typical Shiba Inu, all this photo taking quickly get old to them.
Keep them interested in the photo sessions by periodically rewarding them with a favorite treat. Not leaves like in this photo though...
# 4 - Go Where The Light Shines
Lighting is everything in photography.
Having a decent light source is even more critical in pet photography, since the eyes are the focal point of the shot. You also don't want to create glare on your Shiba Inu's eyes.
Avoid photography sessions that take place in dark rooms or on overly cloudy / overly sunny days, as this will diminish the quality of the shot.
Try to find places where the light is natural and diffuses throughout the space.
The best time for natural lighting photography is either early morning or in the evening, right before sunset.
Avoid taking pictures in the afternoon when the sun is out as direct sunlight creates way too much shadows.
Whenever possible, try to avoid using flash. Some dogs don't like getting "flashed" - and images that use flash don't look as flattering as natural light photographs.
However, sometimes diffused flash is necessary in certain situations for darker dogs like Black and Tan Shibas.
Note: If you will mainly be photography black and tan Shiba Inus, your camera will naturally want to lighten the image by default. To compensate for this, you can manually adjust the exposure controls on your camera. Play around and take some practice shots first before doing any major photography session.
# 5 - Look For Solid, Uncluttered Backgrounds
One of the easiest ways to drastically improve your dog photography is to choose a uncluttered background.
Solid backgrounds of one color can truly make your Shiba Inu's portrait pop up to the foreground.
Other examples of simple, natural backgrounds include sand, grass, and solid color walls.
# 6 - Shoot Your Shiba Inu(s) From a Different Perspective
Sure, you can take every photo while looking at your Shiba Inu from on-high, but that is going to get boring rather quick.
And it will simply look like another of the eight billion other dog photos.
To make shots more engaging, you should consider getting on your pet's level.
Professionals call this “getting into the subject's world.”
A puppy is going to be lower to the ground than an adult, so you might find yourself laying down on the ground to get focused on their eyes.
Practice shooting photos are various levels and directions (up, down, sideways) with a number of lenses to see which portrayal is most flattering (or most comical) for your Shiba Inu.
# 7 - Look For Ways To "Frame" Your Shiba
When shooting, be on the lookout for natural ways to frame your Shiba Inu.
Examples of possible frames could be doorways, foliage, poles, etc.
Framed images offer an extra dimension to your Shiba Inu photographs that can nudge an ordinary image to become extraordinary.
Extra Tip: Get Close Up:
Take shots of your Shiba Inu up close and personal. These types of shots eliminate all background distraction and makes the photograph all about the Shiba.
# 8 - Shoot With Aperture and Shutter Priority
If you took the leap and got an advanced camera, there should be no reason for you to be shooting in "auto" mode.
When shooting your Shiba Inu for portraiture type shots, use aperture priority and choose the widest aperture available.
Wide open apertures will blur out the background of the image while keeping the foreground (your Shiba Inu) in sharp focus.
For these types of shots, use a tripod to ensure a sharp image - and remember to use a single-point focusing system to keep the focus on your Shiba's eyes.
Shutter Priority For Action Shots
If you want to capture fact action shots of your boisterous Shiba Inu doing some crazy stunt use the shutter priority setting on your camera.
For best results, set the shutter speed to 1/1000 sec. or faster and use multi-point focus instead of single-point.
Also set up camera for continuous focus tracking (Al Servo for Canon). Try to pre-focus the shot by focusing where your Shiba Inu's head should be at the time the shot is to be taken.
These types of shots can be tricky and take practice.
However, you'll sure to be hooked once you capture an awe inspiring Shiba Inu in action shot.
# 9 - Get In The Shot Too!
As the loving human to your Shiba Inu, you are very apart of this special relationship.
With the help of a friend or tripod, capture the special bond / relationship you share with your Shiba by taking a variety of poses.
Aim for a lot of close-up shots at your dog's level to create portraits that speak from your dog's point of view.
# 10 - Edit, Edit, Edit.
As mentioned earlier in this article - dogs are not meant for #nofilter.
Yes, you can go without editing the picture, but if you really want it to pop and grant some points towards popularity, then editing should be an integral part of the process.
The environment, such as an all-white area or a cloudy day can cause photographs to look washed out.
You can easily adjust the levels with “enhancement” features in your chosen photo editor software. Or you can increase saturation to brighten up your Shiba Inu's coat.
Don't forget to work with brightness/contrast.
A general rule of thumb (for Photoshop) is to open the “curves” function and make a slight “S” curve. The lighting in the picture will look more pleasing and natural to the eye.
Bonus Tip - Have Fun Dressing Your Shiba(s) Up!
Shiba Inus already top the cuteness charts just as they are, but dress them up in cute outfits and props to watch cuteness levels go to the through the roof.
Luckily, Shiba Inus are the perfect size to accessorize with children's sized clothes, hats, sunglasses - the possibilities are limitless. A new trend sparked by famous Instagram human-dog duo, Topher-Brophy is wearing matching outfits with your pupper.
Dressing up your Shiba Inu for special occasions and holidays will make the moments you spend together all the more magical and memorable! And of course, camera perfect!
The best photographs are going to be a result of letting go and remembering to just have fun.
You can create a number of photo opportunities by simply playing with your Shiba Inu and making them smile. Work with different settings, toys, treats, and lenses.
With all this in play, you will surely have fantastic pictures and memories of time spent with your beloved Shiba Inu.
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