Klaus Dyba on Photographing Dogs

BMX photographer Klaus Dyba comes to us from Cologne, Germany, where he recently tried his hand at canine photography – with spectacular results! Here, he gives his account of his Weimaraner shoot and some tips for photographing man’s best friend.

Weimaraner, ©2012 Klaus Dyba

I come from a background in action photography, especially BMX riding, so when my brother-in-law showed up for a visit with his energetic Weimaraner, Charlotte, I thought it would be fun to shoot her in the same style I use for my BMX work.

©2012 Klaus Dyba

I’ve been planning on getting into the dog photography business, so this was a perfect opportunity for me to try out my style. I wanted to stay away from clichés and try to show the dog’s energy and natural personality. Charlotte is a super active dog. I was really impressed with her ability to jump over waist-height obstacles with ease and without even slowing down!

We only had two hours, but we managed to get some great shots. My Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 wide angle lens helped to make her jumps look even higher. Thanks to PocketWizard’s FlexTT5® and MiniTT1®, I could both freeze action and manipulate the atmosphere of the shot. I figured out how to get HyperSync® to work with my Elinchrome Quadras, allowing me to shoot at 1/4000th or a second or more without any clipping!

PocketWizard FlexTT5 on the Elinchrom Quadra, ©2012 Klaus Dyba

We shot around 6pm when the sun was still high (in Germany, the sun doesn’t go down until around 10pm in summer). Even though I could freeze action with 1500th/sec, I used the faster shutter speeds to darken the background and add drama.

The set-up, ©2012 Klaus Dyba

Lighting diagram, ©2012 Klaus Dyba

I have always had this vision of how I would like to show dogs in pictures. PocketWizard radios made it possible.

I love to photograph dogs, here are a few tips that have helped me:

  • Remember that each dog, small or large, has their own personality.
  • Bring treats! If the dog likes them, this will make your job a lot easier.

©2012 Klaus Dyba

  • Be patient. That perfect shot will come.
  • Bring an assistant, preferably the owner or someone the dog knows and is comfortable with.
  • If you don’t have an assistant, try cheese. I tape a piece of cheese to my lens to catch the dog’s attention. It works really well! Dogs can be afraid to look you in the eye and a lens is like a giant eye to them.
  • Relax. When I meet a new dog, I sit next to him, cuddle a bit, and let him sniff the camera while I set the flashes off a few times.
  • Don’t force it. Only start shooting when you’re sure the dog is relaxed and unafraid.

©2012 Klaus Dyba

See more of Klaus’ work on his site and on his Facebook page, Dogs Will Rule the World.

All images and video in this post are ©Klaus Dyba, all rights reserved; story is ©PocketWizard. Please respect photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or re-post elsewhere without written permission.

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2 Responses to “Klaus Dyba on Photographing Dogs”

  1. [...] German photographer Claus Dyba recently posted some tips for dog photography. While your camera gear may not be as sophisticated as his, there are some good pointers (including taping a piece of cheese to your lens) and some striking photos. Check it out at http://blog.pocketwizard.com/?p=4643 [...]

  2. [...] Scott: Chocolate Falls (Mike Olbinski); Klaus Dyba on the PocketWizard blog [...]