HOW TO PHOTO DOGS IN MOVEMENT
Dogs are incredibly athletic animals – from fast greyhounds to representatives of muscular shepherd breeds. But it’s one thing to capture a calm pet in a motionless pose or completely asleep, and quite another in motion. And by the way, this is exactly the type of photograph that cannot be played on a mobile phone.
How to photograph dogs in motion
Do not forget that there are a number of canine sports dedicated to the four-legged sports talents. You can shoot at agility competitions, while playing frisbee, flyball and much more.
We suggest you familiarize yourself with the guide to shooting amazing photos of dogs in motion, which Anabel DFlux photographer shared with us.
Which camera to use?
The speed of your camera will determine which points you can capture. It is necessary that the shutter fires at a certain moment or that it is capable of capturing the entire sequence of movements of the object.
Frame rate or FPS (frames per second) is the number of frames that can be taken per second. The more photos a camera can take, the more steps in a series of shots in motion you can achieve! When choosing a camera, always pay attention to its frame rate.
Each camera also has its own autofocus mechanism and the number of autofocus points. Autofocus works through a number of selection points. The more AF points, the more accurately the focus will be selected.
How to photograph dogs in motion
Choosing a lens for shooting dogs in motion
The key to successful shooting is to interfere with what is happening as little as possible. You need to shoot at a distance, your activity should not distract the dogs. That is why many photographers work with a telephoto lens or zoom lens. It is recommended to choose a photosensitive model.
Using a telephoto lens helps visually isolate the dog. Often a photograph in open space can turn out to be chaotic due to many obstacles in the immediate vicinity of the subject. Long-focus lenses allow you to blur or soften some distracting elements in the background.
Pay attention to how strong and fundamentally durable your lens model is in its design – this is very important in order to avoid the consequences of unforeseen collisions and impacts during the shooting process. The lens should be strong enough.
Many photographers tend to use a range of 300 or 400 mm. They use such lenses, again, to get closer to the dogs without physically disturbing them. If you’re not very far away, some fixed lenses will also be a great choice, such as 85 mm f / 1.4 or 135 mm f / 1.4.
Why it is worth using a telephoto lens or zoom lens
Many dogs are very easily distracted by the camera: they will leave all their affairs just to check what you are doing there. This does not bode well if you want to capture a puppy in a jump. But the solution is quite simple: hide yourself using a telephoto lens or zoom lens! The animal does not even need to know that you are there. In addition, telephoto lenses create a natural perspective.
In addition to having to shoot at a very high shutter speed to visually freeze the action (at least 1/1000), there are a few other things you can do to get clear images.
What most new and old cameras have in common with respect to settings is the focus and burst modes (motion mode). First, change the focus mode to continuous focus mode (AI Servo for Canon users or AF-C for Nikon users). This mode allows your camera to lock an object and monitor the dog while it is moving. You do not need to constantly re-focus.
Some new cameras allow you to either use the presets of the continuous focus mode, or create your own, depending on what you are shooting. On some cameras, you can specify how your subject moves and what obstacles may be. To do this, you need to configure various levels of random movement, interference, and more.
There are even presets for randomly moving objects and following the object, despite the obstacles that prevent it. Anabel usually adjusts the camera to randomly move the object in several directions and taking into account a large number of obstacles. When shooting a dog running across a field, the photographer focuses on speed.
For cameras that don’t have this feature, AI Servo (AF-C) will still be a good choice of focus mode. Once you select the focus mode, switch to using burst mode (high speed shooting). Shoot at high shutter speeds to freeze action.