Woof! This Sunday, dog walkers in London’s Victoria Park will be able to visit the first-ever Google Pixel ‘Pup Up’ and receive free professional photos of their pooch taken by Nick Ridley, dog photographer for over 30 years, author of two dog photography books, and creator of the UK’s first dog photography course.
All morning on Sunday 26th August and again on Sunday 9th September, Victoria Park will host bespoke dog photography in the South-East corner of the park, near St Mark’s Gate. Dog walkers can also receive professional photography tips, try out the Pixel 2 XL’s advanced camera technology, and learn more about the magic Google Lens feature, which is able to identify specific dog breeds in real time with the tap of a screen.
Speaking on his role as Victoria Park’s first ‘Dog Photographer In Residence’, Nick Ridley said: “We all love taking photographs of our pets, and over the past few years, pictures of dogs have become one of the most popular subjects on the Internet. I was amazed with the results I was able to achieve using the Google Pixel 2 camera. You don’t need pro equipment to be a good photographer; with just a few simple tips anyone can take great looking photos simply using their smartphone”.
Nick Ridley’s Top Dog photography tips
If you’re unable to visit the Pixel ‘Pup Up’ at the weekend, fear not – Nick has shared his top tips for taking stunning pictures of your dog without an expensive DSLR camera:
• Lighting is important. Ideally you want a bright overcast day as the clouds will filter and soften the sunlight resulting in little contrast (the difference between shadows and highlights). Make sure the light is behind you so that the dog is well lit, and avoid very bright light, as dogs tend to squint!
• You really want a clean shot where your dog is the focus. Watch out for distractions in the background, be it furniture or things in the street. If it can’t be helped, try using Portrait mode, like the one found on the Google Pixel 2 – the camera works out what you’re trying to shoot and adds a natural looking blur to the surroundings, just like aperture on a DSLR.
• Try and capture the personality of your dog, especially when it is running or playing. It’s hard to keep your pup in focus when it’s jumping all over the place, so try using the Pixel 2 burst function. You just press and hold the shutter button and it’ll take loads of photos in quick succession until you release it. The app will then cleverly pick out the best images for you to review.
• The biggest mistake people make when photographing dogs is that they do not get down to the dog’s eye level. You don’t want a top down shot, so for a more engaging shot, sit, kneel, or even lie down so your lens is level with your dog’s head. It looks even better when the dog looks directly down the lens, although dogs aren’t the most obedient of subjects.
• One of the most useful features of the Google Pixel 2 phone is the digital zoom, once you have the dog posed you can take a headshot, head and shoulders, full body and a wide shot just by simply adjusting the camera zoom. This can be done quickly and easily and as a result the dog is less likely to move out of position.
• Most importantly, make sure the area you are taking the photos is safe for the dog, the animals welfare must be the most important factor to take into consideration. Do not put the dog in a situation where it is uncomfortable or stressful for the animal as this will come across in the photos.
London’s Top Dog Walking Parks
Victoria Park was chosen to host the Pup Up, following search data from Google revealing that the park was voted among the most popular for dog walkers in London. The top 10 dog walking parks in London are:
1 Richmond Park
2 Finsbury Park
3 Hyde Park
4 Hampstead Heath
5 Victoria Park
6 Epping Forest
7 Battersea Park
8 Alexandra Palace and Park
9 Wimbledon Common
10 London Fields
The #PixelPupUp will be based at Victoria Park from 9am-Midday on Sunday 26th August and again on Sunday 9th September in the South-East corner of the park, near St Mark’s Gate. Dog walkers will be able to stroll up at their leisure and have their pooch papped for free – receiving their portraits via email or social media following the shoot.