Photography is all about capturing a single moment in time. It’s also about luck.

Everyone has a different “eye,” so each photographer’s images are unique. And when it comes to capturing that perfect moment, there are a lot of things that can go right, and a lot of things can go wrong too.

My personal dog show photography top three things that can sabotage the perfect shot are:

  •  The dog’s mouth is open.
  •  The handler is overfeeding the dog.
  •  The dog’s eyes are closed.

Not to mention what I like to call the “foot slip.” Whenever a dog’s foot slips forward or backward, it breaks its stack and there goes the shot!

Oh yeah, but then this can happen…

The classic “doggie wink” to make an otherwise traditional head study something silly. Photo by Kayla Bertagnolli.

Dogs generally don’t have a long attention span, so it can be very challenging to get that picture-perfect moment. You have to be in the right place at the right time, and you have to recognize the moment as it’s happening. This is true for candid photos, and it’s also true for those “official” photos as well.

A picture can very quickly go from perfect to not-so-great. This is why it’s very important to work with the dog and handler as a team to get that shot.

Many people may not realize it, but the best photo is often the lucky one. Perhaps it’s the last shot taken, or the first one, when the moment is captured purely by chance.

When I’m going through candid photos from shows, I would say that maybe half of the shots are actually usable, with some of these being essentially duplicates of others. I find the more I shoot, the more likely I am to become lucky enough to get that perfect photo (even if it means waiting for what feels like an eternity for that moment).

Here’s a picture that was worth waiting for. Photo by Kayla Bertagnolli.

After a long day at a show, the photographer’s work really begins. Sometimes there are more than 1,200 images to go through each night! But for those picture-perfect moments, every minute spent is worth it.

For me, pictures and Dogs Freakin’ Rule!