Need help with black dogs?


We all know that black dogs are hard to find homes for — mostly because it’s hard to get good photographs. We want to show their happy, playful sides but many times all we get are the dark blurry blobs with glowing red or green eyes.  No wonder we can’t find them homes!

Here’s an example of a black lab mix that we photographed a couple of years ago.  We know that black dogs need more light.  If you’re using a reflector (and I strongly suggest that you do!)  be sure you are using the SILVER side, not the white side.  And try putting the reflector directly between you and the dog.  So you’re bouncing light right in to the dogs face.  Don’t blind them with reflected sun, do this in the shade on a bright day.  Another trick is to put them on a reflective surface like a light gray concrete sidewalk, like Annie is on.  Or if you’re indoors, a light colored floor.

Now TURN OFF the flash.  If you’re using your manual settings (and you should!) raise the ISO until you can use a fast shutter speed.  I often sit on the ground and sit behind the reflector. I use a flexible round silver reflector about 40″ wide, like this one. And I rest my hands with the camera on the top, (obviously) pointed at the dog.

If the dog is nervous because of the big silver disc in front of him, give him lots of treats and try not to move it around too much.  I’ve even laid it on the ground and let them eat treats right off the reflector, so they know not to be afraid of it.  Wait until your dog is in position, take a test shot so you know the light is just right, then make a crazy noise to get his attention and SNAP! you’ve got a winner.   Remember, FRIENDLY is the key word. Incorporate a toy, a bright colored bandana, or pretty collar to make her look like a member of the family.

Orphan-Annie-June-Dog-of-the-Month

Need more help with your photography?  We’ve got classes coming up!  Saturday, March 12 at our studio in Dallas we have our DOG SHOTS class.  One day only with live models and lots of hands on shooting. We’ll walk you through how and why to use the manual settings on your DSLR and even help you with dog body language and composition.  We’ll be shooting outdoors and indoors using natural light.  The class is $395 and includes your lunch.  Call the studio if you’d like to sign up – 972-250-2415.

black lab photograph

Holiday photos? yikes!


They look like so much fun — and Santa’s there to hold your four-legged model, so they should be easy, right?  Maybe not.  But they will definitely be fun.

A couple of tips for success:

  1. Do not let dogs waiting to be photographed  line up close to your shooting area. It creates a very difficult situation because your subject will want to look at THEM, not you.
  2. Use treats sparingly. The package of treats (if it crinkles) will make a better attention-getter than almost anything else.
  3. Work fast.  You don’t really have time to get the dogs to settle down, so make sure Santa knows how to hold the dog gently, but firmly  — and quickly grab his attention and get your shot.  The longer he sits, the longer he squirms. Santa should NOT engage with the dog — you want the camera to be interesting, not the Santa.

A lot of photographers try and make money doing Santa photos but it’s almost impossible to make it profitable. But if you do it, do it for donations to your favorite animal charity and don’t expect to make money. Have fun!

Re-schedule our Periscope broadcast


I apologize –our live Periscope broadcast (which was scheduled for yesterday) had to be re-scheduled. Stay tuned for a date next week.  While you’re waiting, sign up for Periscope and get familiar with how it works (you’ll need to have a twitter account first). It’s really simple and fun.

Some love just for our blog readers

Some love just for our blog readers

Up Periscope! Join us for a free live photo shoot with Periscope


Have you tried it?  Periscope is a new social media platform (owned by Twitter) that allows you to watch a live, streaming video on your smart phone or tablet — and interact with the person broadcasting the video by typing questions that he or she can answer.

When I saw my first Periscope video I thought — what a great way to show people how we photograph adoptable dogs!  So here’s fair warning:  If you want to be part of our FIRST Periscope broadcast and watch me photographing rescue dogs in my studio, all you have to do is download the Periscope app and get familiar with it!  It’s all F R E E.  And with a little practice, you can ask me a question during the broadcast.

Everything you need to know is in this Wiki:   http://www.wikihow.com/Use-Periscope

We’ll be broadcasting live on October 20th (start time to be announced, but it will be in the afternoon, Central Daylight Time) here at Teresa Berg Photography with some dogs, some treats, some crazy squeeky toys and, hopefully, YOU!

dog photography teresa berg

OOPS, I almost forgot — our ‘name’ on Periscope is TBERGPHOTO   See you there soon!

Dog Shots Workshop September 13th!


Sunday, September 13th we’re planning our popular beginner workshop: DOG SHOTS at the Teresa Berg Photography studio in Dallas. If you’ve got a DSLR and you need some help with composition, lighting and managing those four-legged models, this is a great place to start.  Many of our attendees are doing photography for shelters and rescue groups but not getting the results they want.  Some are thinking of opening their own business some day and are just “testing the waters” and some are just pet lovers who are tired of struggling with their cameras. If any of these describes YOU, then join us in Dallas, September 13th. It’s very “hands on” –you will use YOUR equipment and work through beautiful shots with live models, step by step. And meet other people who love it as much as you do! The class is $295, and we only take 10 people, so when it’s full, it’s full. Call the studio to sign up:  972-250-2415. Credit cards or paypal cheerfully accepted.

pet photography workshop

Tiny portable studio…


dog adoption photo teresa bergI know a lot of shelters are short on space…. in fact, they often say they have “no room for photography.”  We all know that sometimes getting your foot in the door is the biggest obstacle — so having a small portable studio that travels is something to think about.  In the photo below, we took half a v-flat and simply clamped our background paper to it. The great thing about v-flats is that they stand up on their own.  A v-flat is simply two very thick foam core poster boards hinged together with gaffer’s tape.  You can google “gaffer’s tape” — it’s a photographer’s best friend — and pick it up at a photo supply store or order it online from Adorama or B and H Photo.  You’ll find a million uses for it.  Our v-flat is black on one side and white on the other, so we used white tape on the white side and black tape on the black side as our hinge. As you can see, the side that doesn’t hold the background paper becomes your white reflector. If you set this up next to a big window or patio door, you don’t need a light. We used a Westcott TD6 in a huge softbox, but you could use a smaller softbox or umbrella (much cheaper) to diffuse the light and take up less space.  Each side measures 4’x4′ – so if you don’t have an SUV or a truck, this idea may not work for you as you won’t be able to get it into an average passenger car.

Once you’ve hinged your two pieces of foam core together (we sandwiched two 3/8″ pieces back to back because we couldn’t find 1/2″ think foam core) you’re ready to shoot.  You can even shoot on the white or black WITHOUT attaching a roll of seamless background paper, but we wanted colorful shots that jumped off the screen, so we bought a few fun colors (53″ wide –from the same place you get your gaffer’s tape!). A few colorful bandanas or flowers and you’re all set.  This setup really only needs about a five foot square area — but then you need a place for the photographer and the helper holding the dog’s leash, so a quiet 10’x 10′ corner would work nicely. We can even use a small chair (for little dogs to sit on) and not run off the background. Once they see how fast the dogs get adopted with nice photos online they will be falling all over themselves to give you the space that you need!

teresa berg focus on rescue