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Pet photography with the Nokia Lumia 1020

With the help of a mobile phone, pet photographer Ruth O'Leary set out to snap the dogs of Sydney. She shares her images and tips for getting great pet photos.

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Lexy Savvides

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1 of 9 Ruth O'Leary/Ruthless Photos

Australian pet owners are more likely to take a photo of their pooch on their smartphone than a member of their family, according to Nokia's own research.

To highlight this, Nokia worked with photographer Ruth O'Leary to take photos of Sydney's pets. O'Leary used the Lumia 1020 to capture the dogs playing on an afternoon in Centennial Park.

Having worked in graphic design for 10 years before taking up photography, O'Leary's real passion for pet photos came when she moved to Australia and acquired dogs of her own. She began to photograph them using a point-and-shoot, soon moving to an SLR. Now, her everyday kit consists of a Canon EOS 1D X and a 5D Mark II.

Swapping her regular tools for the Lumia 1020, O'Leary mostly used auto mode to capture the pets because of the changing lighting conditions. "I did a little bit in Lightroom and Photoshop," she said, "just some minor tweaks to make them look like the other photos that I take."

Keeping active pets concentrating long enough to look into the lens of a camera, or in this case a smartphone, can be challenging. "Most will work for food or the sound of a squeaky toy — that generally works for most dogs and cats," she said.

"Some aren't very food driven, so you have got to make a complete idiot of yourself and jump around and make silly noises. I was quite lucky [on this shoot] that a lot of the dogs were very happy to work for food, so I went through a lot of treats."

For everyday photographers who want to use their smartphones to capture better images of their pets, O'Leary suggests working in a non-distracting environment for the best results. She also says good lighting is very important. "I don't tend to work in the direct sun; I think it's a bit harsh. So I find some open shade ... use treats and toys; most dogs will work for that. If they don't, then you're just going to have to bring out your silly voice!"

You can see more of O'Leary's photography at Ruthless Photos.

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