Before you get the dog anywhere near the shooting space, it’s best to get your camera settings right so that when your dog gets into place, you’re ready to start snapping immediately. This was my start.
Next, I put the dog (Mags) in the spot I was shooting. My first lesson was she did not like the wooden chair above, so I switched to a padded one from the living room. My princess likes a little cushion. Anyway, I wanted her posed with no distractions, and once there, I took a few shots with her staying (then rewarded her). This showed her what I wanted. Look at that bored stare.
Once I had her in position, I gave her a minor distraction like a tortilla chip. What you don’t see is that I have an ice cream cone in my free hand. She knew the ice cream would be better than the chip, so she left the chip. I love her expression here, like, “I can do this all day. Gimme that damn ice cream cone.”
Once she knew where I needed her to sit, and that she needed to leave the food in front of her alone, I upped the stakes to a cupcake. I still had more cone in my hand to remind her, but this was iffy because that cupcake smelled good to her. And you can tell from her eyes, that her resolution was weakening.
Now, I really wanted a sparkler in this photo… but, um, I learned today that Magda is TERRIFIED of sparklers. This was as close as I could get the cupcake to her when it was lit. Moments after this shot, she bolted out of the room. This photo was OK, but I wanted more from her today, so I kept going. Poor dog.
But notice that she was plenty interested once the sparkler died.
Then I remembered we had these weird tall candles hidden away, and I thought I would try again just with a normal flame. She was a bit nervous at first, but then she realized she couldn’t be hit by sparks and she got braver.
I was going to go with the above shot, but I just didn’t think there was enough interaction with Magda. Then I had the idea to put her paws on the table.
This was trickier than you would think because she immediately wanted to just stand on the table (yeah, let’s not get in that habit, eh?). I finally got her to learn the position I wanted her in, and then used the tortilla chip again to show her what I wanted. Note, the cone has been completely eaten by this point, so now I’m working with stinky cheese.
I then cut that previous candle in half and thanked my lucky stars that it burned slow as I shot mags in position. I really loved this shot, but I wanted her paws a touch closer together.
And that’s how I ended up with this! Lots of treats and lots of patience!