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The Singapore Dog Lifestyle Blog

7 ways to take a landscape photo with dog

Since I’m currently publishing a blog series on Dogspotting in Taiwan, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at landscape photography that involve dogs!

Unfamiliar dog playing by himself at a rocky beach in Yeliou Geo-park, Taiwan.
Unfamiliar dog playing by himself at a rocky beach in Yeliou Geo-park, Taiwan.
A close up of the dog would not show you as well what the area looked like. When taking pictures of animals that stray  into the landscape, timing is key. They can move fast so once they’re off somewhere else, the opportunity is lost. Much sure you pack that zoom lens in the bag!

Landscape photography with dog

You’d have to be envious of the people at Tales from the Backroad. Being a travelling family, they would have plenty of opportunities to capture all sorts of different landscapes in photos. But just because you’re a pet human stuck in the city with an apartment dog, doesn’t mean you can’t be a tourist in the city.

Travelling means seeing new places. Urban change and renewal takes place at a very fast speed in cities, so there’ll always be new ways of looking at a place you’ve been before.

In this post, let’s take a look at some of the ways of incorporating our pets or strays you find along the way into a landscape photo. Obviously different from pet portraits, for a dog photo to classify as a landscape, the photo needs to show where the dog is and may not necessarily focus on the dog.

But I always like to see people and animals in landscapes, mainly because it makes the landscape more interesting to be able to see how the creatures of that area interact with the landscape. After all, a sound is not a sound if no one is there to hear it, right?

So whether you’re a tourist in your own town or travelling outside of your hometown/country, hop on for the ride ;)

 


1) The I-was-here photo, because I was here.

The most simple photo that most people take of themselves when they’ve been somewhere is obviously the I was here photo. Stand in front of the signboard of the place or next to the landmark of that place and get a friend/relative to take the snap.

Doggy parkour on park sign
This is not a good example because of the unwanted man’s head behind the sign, but you get what I am talking about signboards denoting the place. ;) Do you see Donna?

Beginner dogs

For beginner dogs, just get dog to sit and stay in front of or to the side of the sign. If the dog has a difficulty staying, you may want to be in the same photo with your dog.

Up the challenge

To make it more challenging for Fido, find a spot for the dog to climb onto that would make the photo look interesting in terms of composition. Get the dog to pose while staying!

Make it rewarding

Remember to treat so dog feels happy helping you with your photo next time around. ;)

 


2) Go wide, show the sights!

But a signboard, besides telling you the name of the place, typically does not tell you much. When we travel, I love to visit landscapes that are different from home. People back home wouldn’t be able to visualise these strange landscapes, so going for a wide shot helps to establish what exactly the place we were visiting looks like!

this is what part of Yeliou looks like from afar with the dog crossing the landscape.
Pull back from the rocky background and this is what that part of Yeliou looks like from afar with the dog crossing the landscape. There is a wide sandy beach behind the dog not seen in the first photo right at the start of the post! And the stratified rock layers and sea were also not obvious.

Trees towering over the grand staircase at Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West.
Going wide and going low to show the height of the trees towering over the grand staircase at Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West. Is this staircase missing some stone lions? How about a Donna instead? :P This staircase leads up to a plaza on a hillock with a 360 view of the surroundings.  

Beginner dogs

For beginner dogs, just get dog to sit and stay on the lead in front in the foreground, with the scenery in the background. Here are two nice examples of wide shots with the dog in the foreground close to the owner – hellopepi at Marina Barrage and hellopepi at the beach

Up the challenge

To make it more challenging for Fido, find a spot for the dog to be at, that would draw the viewers’ eyes to what you think is the most interesting feature of the landscape. Get the dog to pose while staying! Here’s a good example, Niner at the beach.

Make it rewarding

Remember to treat so dog feels happy helping you with your photo next time around. ;)

 


3) Have an eye for detail? Isolate it.

Details give nuances to the place you are visiting. After establishing what the area looks like in general, details give flavour to the place. It gives the viewer of the image an idea of how the locals use or interact with the place.

A particular tree that stands out from the surrounding messy foliage makes an interesting spot for a photo with the dog.
A particular tree that stands out from the surrounding messy foliage makes an interesting spot for a photo with the dog. It also helps show what the greenery in the area looks like.
Makes me wonder if this tree is popular with local landscape designers. I see it around pretty often ;) 

Another interesting way of isolating details – Niner and the stone lions

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4) Get cosy, come closer.

Another way of isolating details and making it interesting is to go close. This enables the viewer to examine any patterns or designs that only show up when you look closer at specific objects in the landscape.

abstract photo of bicycle rank at ponggol waterway
What has Donna discovered? This is pretty abstract.
What do you think this object along the tracks at Ponggol Waterway is?

The flaking paint hints that this bicycle rack is pretty well used by local cyclists. There didn’t use to be much of a cycling culture in Singapore, but it does seem to be becoming more trendy.

dog on recycle hill, bishan park
Taking a close look at the texture of the concrete slabs and the ferns between the crevices on the steps of  recycle hill, Bishan Park. 

Beginner dogs

Having the dog on the lead helps you not worry about having the dog walk away while you fiddle with the camera. Also a great excuse to show off beautiful leads.

Up the challenge

Find interesting features of the landscape that you can make abstract while having Fido in the photo at the same time!

Make it rewarding

Remember to treat so dog feels happy helping you with your photo next time around. ;)

 


5) Be different. Go off the beaten track.

Even if we’ve gone around the block so many times on our usual dog walking routes, there might just be a next corner that we’ve not explored yet.

dog on rock at bishan park waterlily pond
An insta-friend was surprised to hear that this shot was taken at Bishan Park. It’s there in one corner of the park, just not that obvious to people who mostly follow the main tracks to the dog run. :P 

The same concept can be applied to landscape photos during our travels. Following everyone to the same vantage point and you may pretty much end up with the same pictures.

Now what if we let Donna follow her nose, would she lead us to some place interesting I wonder… ;)

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6) Keep it candid for those dog moments.

Not every photo needs to be staged or posed. Sometimes, photos are fun when we see humans and dogs enjoying the environment.

dog at Ang Mo Kio Garden West, with the sun low in the sky casting long shadows.
Inspector Grass going at her favourite hobby at Ang Mo Kio Garden West, with the sun low in the sky casting long shadows. Here’s a cool example – Some dogs checking out a flooded dog park. Sunrise and sunsets, of course do make good photos if you are there at the right time to catch the light and the colours.  Here’s some good examples, Niner at sunrise and Torrey at sunset.

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7) Now where did that dog go?

At the start of the article, I mentioned that sometimes, it is not necessary for the dog to be the focal point of the photo. The Find Momo series of photos by Andrew Knapp illustrates this point very well. And if you find landscape photos boring, Momo might just spice it up for you!

Each photo is a landscape in which Momo the Border Collie is hidden with some part of him still visible in the photo. Followers of Andrew Knapp’s Instagram account find it fun to hunt for Momo in these pictures.

Taking a leaf from Andrew Knapp, can you find Donna?

find  donna in this landscape photo
Where is Donna? Can you see her?

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So there you have it. Seven ways I think you can take a photo of the landscape you are exploring with your dog.

Do you have your own tips and tricks to share? Comment below please and let me know!

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11 Comments

  1. Great tips – I’m going to try some of these ideas! I really like the bike rack one and the one below it with the concrete slabs.

    • Thank you, the bike rack is one of my favourites too… it’s interesting the results you can get from fooling around with available public facilities outside :P Share a photo when you have the time ^___^

  2. Lots of fantastic ideas Mrs P. Our fav landscape shot is one of the Toddler and I running off from mum down on the beach. Will have to post it on Instagram or Facebook and tag you so you can check it out.

  3. I think the longer my photographer is working for me the better and more creative she gets. Lots of blogs like yours give her inspiration for other creative ideas too. It is amazing how many things one would never notice really can make a great photo…of course with my mug in the shot, a photo is always great ;)

    • Yes, you can only get better the longer you keep at it! I agree with you! :P

      I also think that a lot of times photography is self-expression. The person taking the photo may have a thousand thoughts and considerations resulting in that photo but the viewer may never know.

      Which is why, a photo will work great with your awesome mug in it to stun everyone ;)
      But your mom probably had a lot of thought put into it, behind all that stunning :P

  4. Excellent tips, although I have to admit that I like the pictures were you can see more of the dog.

    • That’s probably because I have a poor selection of landscape photos to share ;P heehee. But also we are attracted to seeing faces in photos better I think… like a human psychology thing.

  5. This is a really great list with good advice! Completely agree that staged shots can be really good, but often the great ones are candid! (Or when they do something candid when you’re trying to stage it.)

  6. Sometimes a landscape photo could use just a touch extra, a bit of context – dogs make the perfect models.

  7. These are great tips! I love the pic of Donna in the bike rack! I really had to search for her in the last photo! : )

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