Moving Subjects: Dogs

A majority of us have dogs or a pet of some kind. I currently have three dogs since I had to put my cat down over last summer (she was nearly 20!), so that’s why this post is going to focus on dogs. Specifically my black lab/golden retriever mix. Yes, golden retriever mix. His hair is abnormally long for a lab and his tail is very similar to a golden retriever tail. Anyway, let’s talk about how to make a moving subject, like a dog, sit still for a photo.

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This is my all time favorite photo I took. I just got my camera and was playing around with the telephoto lens when I snapped this. But the only way I could get this with Mr. Lincoln was with food. My mom and dad were holding Fruit Loops in their hands to make him look like he was being a good puppy (he is a trouble maker!).

To get this shot (aside from outside help), I had to focus in on the sunlit part of his face to get that part of his face to show up. But I also had to alter my shutter speed and aperture to make sure something on the shadowed part of his face showed up. Luckily his eye gives definition to what is hidden by shadow.

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Poor guy looks like I just spooked him, but all I did was call his name and snap a photo. It was hard to catch his attention without food though, so when trying to take a photo of a dog or any food-loving pet, food is your ally. It’s the secret to all those cute pet photos you find. If I had food for this shot, he would have been much closer and sitting (it’s the automatic thing he does when he sees food).

Animals are not the easiest to pose for several photographs because they need treats or they can be nervous and ignore you. Sometimes the best kind of animal photos are the ones where the animals are just playing. That’s when you’d need a much higher shutter speed to catch the animals mid action.

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These photos here are of Lincoln and his new friend Ghost (named after the Direwolf in Game of Thrones and he belongs to a family member). They weren’t running around when I took photos of them, but if I had been prepared, I would have followed them with my lens and click in peak action. Since it was sunny, I also would have had a very high shutter speed and a low ISO (around 100 or 200 ISO).

So depending upon what kind of photos you want of your pet, use treats and make sure to have a fast shutter speed on your camera! It’ll make for some great and fun shots of the pets you love!

-Syd

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