Six Steps to Better Dog Photography

Peggy Farren 2014-06-29

by Jennifer Brinkman

For many of us, our favorite subject to photograph is our beloved dog! Not only are dogs adorable to look at, they know how to love better than any other creature on earth.

Here are a few quick tips to improve your pet photography:

1. Get down low. Get on the same level as the dog for the best view of the dog’s expressions and actions. This will give you an intimate perspective of the dog’s world.


2. Watch your background. Try to get the dog in an area where you will have a clean background, or at least earthy tones. If you can’t find a clean background, use a wider aperture (f stop) such as F2.8 or F4.0 so that you can isolate your subject from the background.


3. Try these settings to get the best action shots: Continuous AF (Nikon) or AI Servo (Canon). This will ensure the camera keeps refocusing on the dog as he is in motion.

You will need a shutter speed of about 1/250 or faster to capture your speedy dog jumping or running about. Kick up the ISO if necessary to get a faster speed. You might also want to consider shooting in continuous mode (burst mode) to take a quick series of shots.

For maximum impact fill the frame with the dog. If you can’t physically get close to the dog, use a long lens.


4. Capture interaction between dogs… or dogs and people. Sometimes this is when you will really see the personality of the dog.


5. Make sure your focus point is the dog’s eyes. The eyes should always be sharp. Try to capture a little catch light in the eye with natural light if it’s possible.


6. Above all, be patient. Have your camera ready with the right settings and then snap away when you see that special moment!

Peggy's notes: Join Understand Photography for a free photowalk to Dog Beach on July 12 at 7 p.m. Bring your dog! Tourists and visitors are always welcome on our free events as well as regular Understand Photography members! You will love our friendly group! We get together to take photographs and have fun! Register here:

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Peggy Farren is an award winning, professional photographer, instructor, writer and speaker.

With over 17 years as a full-time professional photographer, Peggy offers photography training through her training center, “Understand Photography”.

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