If you’ve ever fallen down a YouTube rabbit hole and found yourself watching a skateboarding bulldog or singing corgis, you may have experienced an epiphany (among other feelings): Your dog could be the next social media sensation! But replicating an action shot of your furry friend with all of their adorable quirks is tougher than it looks.
We’ve complied easy tips to capture your pup’s flapping ears and twitching whiskers so they’re blur-free and Insta-ready.
1 SEE THE WORLD THROUGH YOUR DOG'S EYES
Before you even pick up your camera, get on your dog’s level. Literally. Dogs are most expressive when they’re moving and playing. To capture their tongue hanging out or their ears flapping as they charge towards you, focus your camera at eye level so you’re face-to-face with your dog. To avoid having to crouch down, use a camera with a tilting screen so you can easily capture the low angle shots.
2 DOGS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN
You know your dog’s personality better than anyone. Choose a place you know your dog enjoys and, when safe, let him or her off their leash. Think about bringing props for your dog to play with, such as a Frisbee or ball - but make sure they fit with the overall aesthetic of your photo.
3 WHERE TO FOCUS
Getting the focus right is tricky at the best of times, but even more so when the subject is a tail-wagging, ball-catching, bundle of fur. Start by shooting in a strong natural light and set your lens to a wide aperture (f/2.8 or wider) to let as much light in as possible. This will create a shallow depth of field, which will blur the background but keep a sharp focus on your dog.
Olympus User Gallery Contributor, Matthew Koziatek | Shot with an Olympus OM-D Camera | M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 PRO Lens
4 RUNNING WILD
One of the most difficult shots to take of your dog is of them running at full speed. If you can, have someone help you to hold them steady while you get into position further away. Before you call your dog, crouch down to their level. At this angle, you can capture their full facial expression. Next, get your camera ready. To make it easier, use a camera with an electronic viewfinder so you can preview the shot in real time. In order to capture the action, shoot with a fast shutter speed (anything over 1/125) to freeze movement and reduce the amount of blur. This is a great way to get shots of dogs suspended in mid-air as they run. Just remember that fast shutter speeds let in less light, so you’ll want to adjust your lens to a wide aperture to compensate.
5 GROUP SHOTS WITH YOUR FUR SQUAD
Like most shots involving pets, using a fast shutter speed is a safe bet, particularly when you have lots of them. Expecting one dog to hold still for a portrait is a lot to ask, never mind the whole crew. First, use a camera with silent shooting mode so you don’t startle the dogs. Second, use a whistle, treats, or even an app that creates animal sounds to catch your dog’s attention. This will result in several surprised faces looking directly at your camera with alert body posture, making for a perfect wolf pack portrait.
Remember to look at every mishap as a photo opp. Did your dog jump around in the mud and then run through the house? Don’t forget to snap a shot of his paw prints on the floor before you wash them off!