Outdoorphoto Blog » Wouda Interviews International Dog Photographer Elke Vogelsang

Wouda Interviews International Dog Photographer Elke Vogelsang

BEGINNER

When I first saw Elke Vogelsang’s work I couldn’t help but think of those exaggerated, goggle-eyed cat and dog cards sold at our local Cardies store. With a range of Fujifilm equipment, Elke captures pet personalities in a way that you don’t see very often and hopefully, after reading this blog, you too will be inspired to send us your photographs.

Comic photograph of a dog by Elke Vogelsang

It started with three peculiar rescue dogs

Elke is no stranger to photography. Her mother’s love of photography played a major part in her life so when Elke and her husband, adopted their first dog, Noodles, she felt the need to improve her photography skills. She only wanted to capture Noodles’ beauty and character. Who knew that Noodles would inspire her to take the leap and quit her job as freelance translator to become a full-time photographer?

Elke’s three Spanish rescue dogs, Noodles, Scout and Loli, are her inspiration, her source of joy and “beloved family members”. Her work revolves a great deal around these three little characters as she never gets tired of capturing their quirky, funny and beautiful personalities.

Comic photograph of a dog looking at a spider by Elke Vogelsang

How Elke’s book came to be

One Christmas Day, Elke heard her dogs barking hysterically at the closed bathroom door. After investigating, she found that her husband, Carsten, had collapsed. He suffered a major brain haemorrhage and were it not for their dogs, she might’ve not been able to help him. In essence, the rescue dogs became the rescuers! After the incident, Elke turned to photography as a form of therapy.

She then decided to start a 365 Project, which also served as a diary for her husband who was suffering from memory loss at the time. Who knew that those personal and playful portraits of their dogs would later become the inspiration for a book? Nice Nosing You – For the love of life, dogs and photography is dedicated to Carsten, her very best friend and partner in crime.

Comic photograph of a dog looking at bubbles by Elke Vogelsang

Tips and tricks for getting that charming shot

Be patient
Don’t hassle a pet for a picture – you must make the shoot is fun for your model. Remember that treats or toys can easily motivate most pets.
Get level
Get down to eye-level with your subject. This will make your image more intriguing and emotional, possibly grabbing the viewer’s attention.
Camera – Setting – Action
If you take photographs of your pets in action, it is wise to choose a fast shutter speed, e.g. at least 1/1000th of a second, to freeze the action. Furthermore, use burst mode and continuous focusing.

Comic photograph of a dog looking at you with hungry eyes by Elke Vogelsang

How to get a desired reaction

Elke urges you to think about what makes your pet special and how you can capture their essence.
You have to be patient, take time to find out what motivates your pet and how your they react to different stimuli. These tips are handy for dogs:
Sound
To get a cute head-tilt, try making low-volume noises. Making different noises will result in surprising and interesting looks from your dogs.
Taste
Use peanut butter to make them lick their noses. Make sure that the peanut butter doesn’t contain xylitol, which is poisonous for dogs! You could also use marmite, or even better, pate – hmmm!
Play
Dogs love to play, so if you have a toy in hand, you might get the dog’s attention.

Photograph of three dogs looking in the same direction by Elke Vogelsang

Elke’s gear list:

Cameras
Fujifilm X-T20 – this camera never leaves her side
Fujifilm X-T2 & Fujifilm X-Pro2 cameras – ideal for professional-looking photographs

Lenses
Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4 R lens – perfect for those quirky wide-angle shots
Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R lens – a versatile portrait and reportage lens
Fujinon XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R lens – the ideal lens for those action shots

Studio equipment
Studio light setup
Umbrella for the main light
Strip lights for the rim light

1, 2, 3, Post-Production

With Elke’s post-production, easy does it. She does as little as possible in both Lightroom and Photoshop, but is a big fan of plugins like NikCollection and Alien Skin Exposure.

A funny photography of a dog peeking through a hedge by Elke Vogelsang

Fond Memories

Elke has many fond memories working with dogs, but would have to highlight farewell shoot sessions as some of her most treasured. Another fond (and proud) memory is when she managed to turn her very shy dog, Scout, into a confident dog.
In her blog, she explains exactly how they got little Scout to come out of her shell and grow into a confident model.

A photograph of Elke Vogelsang's dog, Scout, inspired by Bowie

Let’s Pay it Forward

Elke says that had it not been for their three Spanish rescue dogs paying it forward, her husband’s life could have been in jeopardy. She pays it forward by offering her photographic services to animal rescue organisations, free of charge. Furthermore, she intends to do a rescue project every year.

Her previous projects include going to Spanish shelters, taking photographs of their dogs in an effort to raise awareness regarding adoption opportunities. She also made her way to Morocco where she documented the life of stray dogs, in the hopes of improving their situation.

Elke seriously has a heart of gold. May she inspire you to adopt a furry friend or to simply pick up your camera and photograph that special addition to your household.

Follow her on Instagram and Facebook for more ridiculously cute photographs!

A photograph taken by Elke Vogelsang of a dog with a rather surprised look on its face
A very cute photograph of a dog taken by Elke Vogelsang
A tough-looking dog photographed by Elke Vogelsang
A photograph of a dog taken by Elke Vogelsang inspired by Star Wars
A very stylish photograph of a dog taken by Elke Vogelsang
A cute dog sticking out its tongue photographed by Elke Vogelsang
A photograph of a classy looking dog by Elke Vogelsang
A photograph of a dog with a leaf on its face looking into the camera taken by Elke Vogelsang

About the Author:

Wouda McMicken spends her work days as part of the driven Outdoorphoto team. She enjoys photography, especially experimenting with her treasured Nikon Film camera. The privilege of doing interviews with Professional Photographers all over the world is what makes her get up in the mornings, excited for a new day’s work. She is a self-confessed klutz and can be easily bribed with a stylish pair of jeans or good food. Having the ‘need’ for her nails to be neatly painted at all times, fresh jam doughnuts and salted caramel ice cream is her kryptonite. She dreams of a future filled with sunny skies, palm trees and sandy beaches with her Ukulele and a Piña Colada close by.

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