Photography is a personal thing, taking photos is just as personal. What one photographer sees as a photo op another may not. Some photos are taken in studios, others on location and many just as a moment unfolds. It is as they say "in the eye of the beholder." I love to shoot canines, obviously. They are my main photography subject but, I also love beauty and action of any other type. Action is probably my number one love as far as capturing a moment, stopped in time.
Photos taken in a studio can be beautiful, technically correct with good lighting etc., but for me they simply lack luster; that certain umph that makes a natural lifestyle photo amazing. I have over the years considered a studio, it would make life a whole lot easier if everyone was coming to me. I can just imagine, clean dogs, clean setting, me not crawling around trying to get "the shot." With everything set to perfection and a dog smiling pretty at the camera? No, I'll stay with my dirt filled, emotion seeking, dirty photographer status; I like to capture a dog being a dog. They can't move about in a studio and I like movement. I have always liked movement. When I can stop it and see the movement that we miss with out human eye, perfection.
Not long ago I had the opportunity to photograph my beautiful niece who is a dancer. I loved every second of the shoot and editing the photos. Before a shot she would show me what she was going to do, that way I could be ready for the movement and the ground that she would be covering. What I saw in the photos afterwards was spectacular; things that I never saw when watching the exact same movement with my human eye. Dance photography is something that I am considering; but it will be all about the movement and natural beauty.
The same thing happens with dogs and motion, it is amazing to see the expression, the hair, stride and beauty of their body moving. All this plus the body language communications that we could never see as they move so quickly. It is magic to me and I love it. Sure there are times when a sleeping dog, one laying in the sun soaking up the sun draws me to photograph them. They are after all being a dog, they aren't always moving. I love shooting dogs in all of their modes. Sleeping, resting, playing, running, jumping and eating etc. etc. You name it. But the moving and challenge to stop and capture that is what I love best.
But a very close second is connection, a contact between a dog and another dog. Maybe a dog and it's owner. Children and dogs are amazing as are senior humans and senior dogs. I love the connection, the silent interaction that speaks volumes. A touch, a look, an emotion.
As far as shooting your own dog, snap what you love. If you love that sassy look you get when your dog wants you to throw the ball, be ready for it. Love the look of the morning sunshine beaming through the window? The soft light falling across your sleeping dog? Shoot it. For me it is expression or emotion. Emotion can come in many different forms; it can be a sleeping dog to a dog running at full speed but there must be emotion. A really great image should make you feel something, something more than "wow, that's nice."
Just like there are so many different people, many types of dogs, there is a plethora of great photography ops. There are good, bad, great and amazing photos. I have over the years capture a lot of dog images and thrown tons into the garbage because they simply lacked luster, emotion. A truly amazing shot is one that makes you stop, hold your breath and feel.