Anne Geier’s Necessary Equipment for Shooting Captivating Pet Portraits
It takes a special kind of person to accurately capture the energy and spirit that we all love about dogs, but Austrian photographer Anne Geier has the ability to showcase a pup’s unique personality with each click of her shutter.
This self-described “dogphotographer” studied geography before pursuing her passion behind the camera, and now works full-time capturing memorable moments for dog owners — and turning the lens on her own two Rumanian rescue dogs, Finn and Yuri. Her portraits not only highlight each dog’s individual character, but make emotionally captivating images all on their own.
In addition to the care Anne takes to bond with each of her subjects, the equipment she uses helps her achieve the depth and atmosphere she needs to create a compelling photograph. Her camera bag contains all the gear a dogphotographer could ask for.
Can you tell us how you go about deciding which gear is essential to your work?
Anne: At client shootings, I want to be more flexible and be aware of my distance to the dog, to encourage the dog to behave in a natural way; the photographer is often scary for them. When I am going to take photos of my own dogs, I think about if I just want to take nice dreamy portraits or shoot the dog in amazing landscapes.
Nikon D850: I love the smooth tones and brilliant colors, the handling, and the display with the touch screen. You touch it wherever you want to put the focus, and the camera immediately focuses and takes the photo. Furthermore, with the folding display, you have the flexibility to shoot from many different perspectives. When taking photos of a dog in the water, it is really helpful because, with the folding display, you can put the camera just a few millimeters above the water.
Nikon D750: This is the camera I use for underwater shots, with a Nikon 16–35mm f/4 lens.
Nikon 85mm f/1.4: For client shootings, I mostly use this lens. It creates a smooth background, and it is amazing for creating a dreamy look.
Nikon 70–200mm f/2.8: I use this for action shots. With the 200mm and the aperture of f/2.8, you can knock out the background of a photo, which is very important in dog photography to keep the viewer’s focus on the dog.
For my own dogs, I prefer to use my short lenses — especially the Nikon 24mm f/1.4 and the 35mm f/1.8. Travelling and hiking are my other passions, and with the 24mm f/1.4, you can take fabulous photos of dogs in amazing landscapes. The wide angle shows a lot of the landscape, even when the dog takes up a lot of space in the photo.
Furthermore, I love the short lenses, because they have no weight and are easy to handle. I can work with one hand and use the other to motivate my dogs with treats or their favorite toy, so it is much easier to catch a great expression of the dog.
I just work with available light.
Lowepro Flipside 400: It is large enough to carry everything I need, and gives me practical access to my equipment. There is also a protection for rain, which is very important because I love to take photos on rainy days.
When I’m shooting, I also need toys, treats, and a great app on my phone — it makes different animal noises to attract the dog’s attention.