12 April 2012
We all love taking pictures of our Boston Terriers and with their gorgeous looks they make the perfect models.
But unless you are a professional photographer most photos don’t turn out like you’d planned and end up falling flat.
Don’t fret – you don’t need to enroll into an expensive and time consuming photography course and buy loads of expensive equipment to get some seriously jaw-dropping photos of your Boston Terrier that even people who don’t love dogs will ‘awww’ at.
All you need is an iPhone, iPod touch, iPad or Android Phone, the free photo app Instagram and the tips below to be on your merry ‘awww’ inspiring – photo creating way.
What is Instagram?
Instagram is a free mobile photo sharing app for iphone and more recently android.
It’s also a social network kind of like twitter where you can follow other users but rather than posting words, you post pictures.
The reason Instagram is so addictive is because not only does it allow you to create beautiful images by allowing you to add a variety of cool filters and effects but, it’s easy to use. Just point, shoot, transform with a filter and share.
How do I Join Instagram?
Simply download the app to your phone, create your account and you’re ready to go.
Taking Photos Of Your Boston Terrier
Stelly - Instagramed
Whilst you can take photos directly from the Instagram app I prefer and recommend taking photos of your BT with the iphone camera as it much quicker which is important when taking photos of pets as they don’t stay still for long.
This also allows you to take multiple photos (which I also recommend) of the same shot so that you have a selection from which you can chose the best.
By using the built in camera you also save the original photo automatically so that you can use it as is or create multiple variations of your photo using different filters and effects.
Save The Photo Without Sharing
If you want to take advantage of the filters and effects of Instagram but you don’t want to upload your photos to Instagram’s social network simply put your iphone on airplane mode via the settings.
To save both the original photo and the Instagrammed version in hi-res go to your iPhone’s settings and under Instagram check that “Save original photo” and “Save filtered photo” is on.
Lock In The Focus
If you want to focus on a particular thing like your Boston’s face or their favourite toy simply tap it on the screen and a small box will appear on the focus zone.
Bathe Your BT In Soft Lighting and Interesting Shadows:
The lighting and shadows really takes your photos to another level. In Instagram it’s important to try and take photos in a soft light that has highlights and shadows as the filters will otherwise wash the picture out.
This can be tricky when taking photos of pets as they move around so much.
Give it a go when they are sleeping in the sun with a slight shadow on part of their face and play with your angles until you see how the different light works with the filters.
I’m still trying to master this but I managed to get a couple of shots of Stelly while she was playing with a stick in the sun.
Stelly with Instagram's Amaro Filter
Shoot Your BT From Different Angles
The camera on your iPhone is fantastic for a phone but lacks depth when compared to an SLR. To make up for this you’ll need to get creative and try taking photos from different and unusual angles.
Practice taking each photo from multiple angles to see what works. Try taking the photo standing above your BT, below, to the side etc.
Take some photos with objects or scenery in the foreground so you can blur them out.
Use treats to help get your Boston Terrier into different positions.
Get down on the ground at their level for a world view through the eyes of your BT.
Lie on your back and get a picture of them while they stand over you (you’ll have to be quick to get the photo before you get smothered in kisses).
Shoot from above with them sitting and have them look up at your for the ultimate cute pic. Take this a step further and shoot when they do their ultra cute head tilt.
Get creative with your angles and experiment a little for a much more interesting photo than the typical happy snap.
This photo was taken at the beach. After running around on the sand Stelly was ready for a nap and found a comfy spot on me. I love the angles of this pic, notice that our bodies are pointing in the same direction? I also like that we are diagonally framed.
The inkwell filter was used for the black and white effect and the lineal blur was used to emphasise the angles.
Stelly sleeping on me at the beach - Inkwell Filter
See The World as a Polaroid
Instagram photos are designed in the shape of an old polaroid picture so you need to keep in mind that your pics will be cropped as a square.
You do have the option to position the picture and zoom in but if you have filled the entire photo as per your camera screen you will loose some of it.
Some of the borders will also crop the sides a little further so keep a small buffer around the edges also.
The easiest way I’ve found to take Instagram photos is to keep Stelly to one corner of the frame and keep the rest open. This not only allows for the crop factor but it gives the photo some breathing space and makes it more interesting.
If you want to fill the frame with a portrait of your BT’s cute little face take the picture horizonally with their face right in the middle. Make sure the sides of the photo are clear as they will be cropped.
A sleepy Stelly filtered with Earlybird
Framing That Gorgeous Face
Some of the filters come with a specific frame or border. Unfortunately you can’t individually select borders at the stage but fingers crossed that changes.
If the border is cropping into your photo too much, is distracting from the image or you just don’t want it you can remove the border.
To turn the border off for the photo you are editing, press the square stamp like image in the top left corner within the Instagram app.
Transform Your Photo’s From a Happy Snap To a Work Of Art With Filters
The best thing about Instagram is the range of different retro style filters that you can apply to your pictures.
The filters are what transform your photo’s from a happy snap to a work of art.
It’s amazing the difference a filter will make to your picture. They soften imperfections and draw light in really interesting ways while giving your Boston a retro vibe.
Different filters work better depending on the light and contents of the photo.
I often use the Amaro filter when taking pictures of Stelly as I find it usually complements her markings the best.
That being said, I still try every filter before committing and I recommend you do the same. Sometimes it’s the unexpected filters that really make a photo amazing.
In the animated photo I’ve cropped a photo of Stelly at the beach, tested a couple of filters, applied the lux effect and I’ve also created a linear tilt shift (blur).
Here is the end result, one with the Amaro filter and one with the Inkwell filter. Both have the linear blur applied as the background was a little too busy and I wanted to draw the attention to Stelly and her grass toy.
Let There Be Light – Introducing Lux
Lux is a new feature to Instagram and I’m loving it.
Lux brings brightness to dark images by filling dark areas with light and can also create more depth with darker shadows depending on the photo and filter used.
The Lux icon is a sun and is located in the bottom left hand corner of Instagram’s edit screen.
This feature can even make an already good looking photo better so give it a go with each pic to see if it works well.
I took this photo of Stelly at the beach and used the Amaro filter combined with lux which resulted in more defined detail and a dramatic contrast between the light and dark areas.
Amaro filter + Lux
It’s All About Me Baby – How To Blur to Emphasise your BT
Gotta love a Boston Terrier with an “it’s all about me baby” attitude. Stelly is still developing her attitude and is a little camera shy but she’s learning fast and I love it.
Tilt Shift (blur)
Capture and emphasise that ‘tude by blurring the background elements of your photo and drawing attention to your BT.
This effect is is easily applied within Instagram via the Tilt Shift option (there’s a technical explanation for tilt shift but I call it a fancy name for blur).
You’ll find the blur option up the top to the right of the camera icon in Instagram’s edit screen – it’s a tear drop icon.
Radial Tilt Shift
The radial tilt shift puts the focus on a round space.
This is perfect for framing your Boston’s face as it blurs everything but the item within the circle.
You can easily adjust the size of the circle on the screen with your fingers.
Linear Tilt Shift
The linear tilt shift option allows you to blur the background whilst keeping the focus on a line.
This is a good option to use if you have a busy background and your BT is stretched out in the sun.
Again, you can adjust and move the line with your fingers making it wider, slimmer and you can also rotate it.
In this photo I’ve used the Amaro filter combined with the Lux effect and I have applied the linear blur diagonally as there was too much background detail distracting from the main element of the photo.
Instagram - Amaro Filter and Linear Blur
We Want To See Your Boston Terrier Instagrammed
Now that you’re armed with all the tips you need to turn your BT into an Instagram star, start posting your pics using the hash tag #bostonterriersrock (in the description) – the most creative pic will be our feature pic of the week!
You can follow me at @eliserochelle – drop your username in the comments along with any tips you may have and I’ll follow you back.