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Photographing Dogs In Action

Here are some handy tips for photographing dogs in action.

| Animals / Wildlife
Photographing Dogs In Action: Dog

When you go to take the dog for a walk next, why not take your kit along too? Whether you're going on an hour long trek or a quick stroll around the park, there are opportunities to get some great dog action photography. 

It will be easier to take better photos if you go out with someone else, who can look out for and play with the dogs while you get set up and ready yourself to shoot. There are also organised events, such as dog agility trials, that will provide some great opportunities for action photos of your dog. 

Here are some top tips for getting some good action shots of your dog:

Pan - To get some shots of your dog running across your path, get someone else to throw a ball, stick or their favourite toy so that they follow it right across where you're set up. Pan along with the dog, and maybe using a multiple shot mode will enable you to capture every position of the dog running, so you can then choose the best photo later on.  

Use a mid-long range lens - A lens around the 50-200mm mark will be ideal as you can then get a good shot whether the dog is playing relatively close to you or ventures further away. A longer zoom will be handy if you're shooting from quite a distance, and will also help to throw backgrounds out of focus.

Crouch/lie down - Shooting stood up looking down at the dog can sometimes work, however for action photography you want to feel like you're part of the action, so crouching down will help you to achieve this. It will also help you to get a clearer view of the dog's legs as they run, allowing for some blurred motion to add to the sense of movement. 

Position yourself for good composition - Take into account what will be in the background of your shot. If it's really colourful or overly busy, it will draw attention away from your dog even if it is blurred. Try to find a location that has a relatively plain background, for example looking out to sea or a high hedgerow are ideal, to keep the focus solely on your pet. 

Auto focus v manual focus - If your autofocus is relatively fast that it shouldn't have a problem keeping up with your dog. Set the camera to pet/child mode if it has one, so it's ready to use fast shutter speeds and wide apertures to freeze the action. If the camera is struggling to focus on the dog as it comes flying past, try setting the camera to manual focus and point it at one spot that the dog is likely to run through.

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