How To Photograph Your Dog

When you photograph your dog, this simple act brings with it a whole set of new challenges.

For starters, dogs normally don’t sit and pose for a portrait. They just don’t stay still long enough for you to work out camera settings before capturing the perfect image. Dogs are exactly like children in this regard. Therefore fully knowing your digital SLR camera and its limitations is important so you can photograph your dog candid style.

How to photograph your dog, dog photography

Dog Day found on flickr and photographed by whoshotya

Best Camera Settings to Photograph Your Dog

One of the main problems photographers have when taking photos of their pets is that they normally move during the shoot. This is where a digital camera setting called AI Servo AF comes in handy.

AI Servo AF will continuously re-focus on the subject as it moves. After setting your camera to AI Servo AF (check manual) you then focus on your moving dog by pressing the shutter button half way down. Keep the AF point (red dot you see when looking through the viewfinder) on the dog and the focus will remain continuous.

Many pet photographers also prefer to use shutter priority, set on a speed fast enough to capture a moving animal.

Others prefer sports mode. In sports mode, your camera will decide what shutter speed is fast enough for the situation.

When you photograph your dog, don’t use a flash. Your digital cameras flash can frighten an unsuspecting pet. Therefore setting your camera to fully automatic where the flash will load if needed, isn’t a good idea.

Composition Tips

  • Getting down on the dogs level is a good alternative to taking the photograph from above. Most of the time, looking down on your pet will result in unwanted top of head shots.
  • Getting down on your dogs level also allows you to fill your frame and doesn’t leave you with an image that looks like it was taken too far away.
  • Choose your location carefully to capture your dogs character or personality traits.
  • If your dog is active, photograph him/her at the local park or beach. If they have a lazy personality, then photograph them in their sleeping basket.
  • Don’t forget to have fun and encourage your pet to be playful. Dogs especially can be very playful which makes for the wonderful photo’s as shown below.

photograph of a dog

Coco found on flickr and photographed by robferblue

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