Through the Lens

A conversation with Seattle photographer, Erica Smith

Looking to get better dog photos?  We ask the experts.
We know the frustration.  You love your pup and want to capture that magic shot.  You are all set with your camera only to find your doggie is not quite on the same page.  Have you ever wondered how professional photographers get all those amazing dog images?  We decided to ask photographer Erika Smith a bit about what she does and how she captures her dog Riley’s playfulness so perfectly.

Tell us a little about your dog.
Riley is an energetic, wild-haired, ball-crazed golden. He enjoys fetch, running, squirrels, snacks, beach and mountains, and everything in between. Riley is ready to go and is always optimistic that every day will be the best day ever. Except for bath days. He hates baths.

What got you started taking images of Riley?
I think I’ve always photographed dogs if they were around. I took millions of photos of my golden before Riley – Molly. I volunteered for some rescues and shelters taking photos of adoptable pups. Not only did it help them get adopted but it gave me a lot of diversity in the dogs I photographed. Once I adopted Riley, I would bring my camera with us for fun. But I only started sharing my photos when I started his Instagram.

Do you specifically take pictures of animals?
Yup. I’m not as good with people. :)

What tips would you give to amateur photographers wanting to capture a special image of their pup?
Be patient. Bring snacks or whatever is high value for your dog. I quickly learned that it was the High Roller Ball for Riley.

What about positioning or angles?
Get down low. If you have a little dog, you can place them on something (obviously don’t do anything your dog is not comfortable with or may get hurt being on).

Any tips for camera settings?
Use a fast shutter speed. I try and be at 1/1000 if possible. Riley is quick and moves a lot.

If someone wants to have you take pictures of their dog, what is the best way to contact you?
You can also message us through Instagram.

Erika’s Instagram
Riley’s Instagram