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

First of all, dogs typically don't sit down and pose for a portrait. You just don't stay still long enough for you to work out the camera settings before capturing the perfect picture. Dogs are just like children in this regard. It is therefore important that you have a thorough understanding of your digital SLR and its limitations so that you can take pictures of your dog without makeup.

Best camera settings for photographing your dog

One of the main problems photographers have when taking photos of their pets is that they usually move around while taking the picture. A digital camera setting called AI Servo AF is used here.

AI Servo AF continuously refocuses the subject as it moves. After setting your camera to AI Servo AF (see manual), then focus on your moving dog by pressing the shutter button halfway. Leave the AF point (red point you see when looking through the viewfinder) on the dog and the focus will stay sharp.

Many wildlife photographers also prefer shutter priority, which is set at a speed fast enough to capture a moving animal.

Others prefer the sport mode. In sports mode, your camera decides which shutter speed is fast enough for the situation.

When photographing your dog, do not use flash. Your digital camera flash can scare an unsuspecting pet. Therefore, it is not a good idea to set your camera to fully automatic mode, which charges the flash when needed.

Tips on composition

  • Descending to the dog level is a great alternative to taking photos from above. Most of the time, looking at your pet from above leads to unwanted head shots.
  • If you go down to the dogs level you can also fill in the frame and you won't get a picture that looks like it was taken too far away.
  • Choose your location carefully to capture your dog's character or personality traits.
  • If your dog is active, take photos of him in the local park or on the beach. If they have a lazy personality, take a picture of them in their sleeping basket.
  • Don't forget to have fun and encourage your pet to be playful. Dogs in particular can be very playful, which leads to wonderful photos.