If you happen to have a dog in your life, you already realize that they often make the best companion as far as pictures are concerned. There is just nothing quite as cute as your dog in action, regardless of whether they are running in an open field, playing with a ball or even just taking a nap. Perhaps some of the best pictures, however, are when we are able to capture the sheer joy that dogs have with the simple things in life. That is where photographer Christian Vieler really has the ability to make us all smile.
When would you say that a dog is the happiest? Most of us realize that it is the moment when they get a treat. Those treats mean everything to a dog so the look of joy on their face as they receive them is when you can capture everything that the dog is and get the best of it in a single snapshot. Christian specializes in capturing those moments as the dog tries to snatch a treat out of mid-air.
Vieler has been photographing the reactions of dogs in this way since 2013. Each dog has a unique personality and they are captured perfectly when a treat is heading in their direction. They are all collected together in a book called Treat and I don’t think the Internet is quite ready to handle the adorable nature of these animals.
You can see some of his work on social media but if you are interested in seeing the best of the best of these pictures, you can look at what we have here for you.
“I started doing the treat shots by accident and chance, Christian said. “I had never seen anything like it before, but I didn’t plan on doing that kind of photography either! Back in 2013 I got myself a flash with a big battery pack for outdoor use. The day my new toy arrived was a rainy one, so I started discovering all flash options in my living room – especially the capability of freezing motion. I wanted to use my own dog Lotte for my test shoots.”
“The problem was: She was (and fortunately still is) a very chilled labrador and didn’t move in front of me. So what gets a lab moving better than a treat?! I started throwing and hit my camera button at the same time … just to find out the right settings for a “motion freezing setup.” Days later – when I cleaned my hard drives – I recognized how funny some results turned out. That was the birth of “Dogs Catching Treats.”
“Now, I work with dogs everyday. Photographing them is just the half of the work. To get good results, understanding and interacting with them is a very important part of my job. So I can say that this whole “Treat“ project hasn’t only brought me closer to dogs – dogs are my 24/7 life now!”
“I’ve worked as a professional dog photographer since 2016, so I am in a really lucky position. The cutest models find me, because clients make their appointments. But I search for for special breeds or kind of dogs, when I have new topics and ideas in mind, for example the variation ‘Puppies catching treats.'”
“Most of the dogs enjoy their photoshoots, that’s for sure. I use many treats – the really yummy ones, because my challenge is to become the best friend of the dog for a short time. Most of the dogs are really excited about the fact that someone gave them treats several times in a row and they didn’t have to do anything for it! And – to see it from another perspective: If a dog feels really uncomfortable, he denies all food. You can see the malaise in every part of his body and behaviour. So nearly every dog enjoys the shooting for sure.”
“There are a few, who are easily scared by all foreign things (like rooms, persons, even the floor). Those dogs are hard to shoot. That’s the point where you really have to work hard for a single photo. But I never ever force a dog in a situation, he doesn’t like. The reasons: First I would not stand it myself, and besides, there would never be a good picture for the reasons above.”
“All breeds are good for the job in general. I often need a perfect grab for a photo – a single movement towards the treats is often enough for a hilarious shoot. It doesn’t matter if the dog really catches the treat. But it’s harder to work with long-haired breeds. Because of the fur, you don’t see any movements in their face – sometimes not even eyes. So, short haired dogs let hope for better results.”
“Most dogs successfully catch the treats – when we do it as an normal exercise. But – once I have a couple of shots – I throw faster to evoke new expressions. There is no really chance for them to get the treats, even if it looks like in the pic, that the treat is flying straight into the mouth.”