I am constantly on the lookout for dog photography tips that make getting the shot easy when the animal is so active. Our dogs have ranged from energetic to chill. Obviously the ones that sit still are a breeze to photograph. Heck, even sitting them in a studio setting is not a chore. But these younger active dogs are definitely difficult to photograph. I’ve collected a few dog photography tips that I thought I’d share.
Gear and Camera Settings
I use my 35-100mm f2.8 Lumix lens (70-200mm 35mm equivalence). The f-stop is set at f/2.8. I also make sure my shutter speed is sufficiently high. This is something that you will have to adjust as you shoot. I may start out at 1/1000 but it never stays that way. I end up spinning the dial a fair amount in trying to capture the shot I want. Of course the ISO setting will be a spot decision as well. The dog runs in and out of shade. They move fast then slow. It’s a challenge that I quite like and frankly as a hobbyist photographer, one that I relish.
Ask Someone to Help You
You are going to have to get someone to help you work the dog into position. Unless your dog is insanely trained it’s not like it will trot off 30 yards on command and then turn around to run straight on your camera. If he does then maybe these dog photography tips aren’t very useful for you anyway!
The good thing about a partner is that they can entertain and keep the dog engaged while you work out your shots. It’s difficult enough just getting a shot but when you have to try to get the dog in position also, then it is almost an impossibility. Getting those great photos of your dog jumping in the air while also wielding a camera would be insanely difficult. Having someone throw that Frisbee or stick while you were in the right position is ideal.
Spray and Pray
Burst mode is going to be your friend and your post-processing enemy. I shoot with my Panasonic G9 on full blast. I used to try to be selective in taking photos one at a time thinking it would save me time in post processing. Now I just pull the trigger knowing full well that I’m throwing out 85% of the photos.
Some of the shots the dog won’t even be in the frame. Other photos the doggo will be blurry. Or maybe you just miss the perfect pose and the dog looks drunk or something. A funny photo to be sure but rest assured that taking a photo one at a time will infuriating. Just plan on going through a ton of photos and your experience will be much better.
Nail the Focus
Among dog photography tips getting the focus right will be incredibly difficult. You want that blurry backgrounds to get separation in your dog and background. But trying to tame a fast moving subject with f2.8 has its own challenges. If possible you will want to find that awesome spot where you’ve pre-focused. have your partner try to get your dog into that zone and just nail the burst mode.
If the dog is not as motivated on the shoot and moving slower then I can set my Panasonic G9 on subject tracking mode. It doesn’t work supremely great especially if the dog is moving around a lot. I typically just put the focus mode on “1-area”, a single focus mode and shoot.
On the G9 I set the focus mode “AFF” or Auto Focus Flexible. On DSLRs I guess that is the same as Al Servo or something. If the shutter is pressed halfway and the dog moves the focus is readjusted according to the movement of the dog. It works pretty good I’ve found.
I sometimes cheat and take photos with 6k photos setting. I don’t get the benefit of RAW images but I can at least go through the resulting images and find quite a large number of usable photos. It’s basically like recording a video but it enables me to choose a frame I like.
Hopefully among these dog photography tips a nugget was discussed that will help you with your dog photos. I also found this guide to be of valuable use when working out how to photography my dogs.