Learning to take action photos of your pet takes a lot of patience and planning. Staged pictures don’t look natural, and our favorite shots are always the result of capturing their moments of joy. This is why playing outside is one of the best tricks. Here is a step by step guide with tips for improving your skills.
Get in on the Action
Pets love to play! They are always running after balls, wrestling and tumbling with each other, or chasing butterflies down the hill. Catch Betsy and Lily in action, and their personalities will shine right through. Use noisy toys and treats to get them to look you in the eye, and make sure that your background is clean.
The Right Photo Gear
Professionals know that the ideal focal range for action photography is 35mm to 135mm. Most compact cameras and SLR lenses have this focal range. Here are some tips to get prepared:
- Wider apertures of f2.8, 3.5, and so forth give you the opportunity to create better action shots. Set the ISO to 200 or 400, depending on the lighting conditions. Adjust the aperture based on the ISO settings.
- The key is to make sure that the tripod is at the right height. For example, if you are taking a photo of a small pet, such as a few white mice tumbling around, or a miniature schnauzer, your tripod should be set at short height. However, if you are working with a German Shepard or a pit bull, you need to be working with a taller setup.
Getting a Pan Shot
The dramatic images of racing cars in sports magazines are created with a pan shot. A pan shot allows you to work with a relatively lower shutter speed to create a motion effect. The only way to master this difficult technique is to practice. When you want to maintain a consistent shutter speed for pan shots, adjust the aperture and ISO for the right exposure.
Even though the focus of this article is mastering pet photography, the best way to practice this difficult skill is to visit your local race track or horse racing club. If you don’t have access to any of these, take your gear to a local park that is near a highway and practice pan shots by photographing speeding cars. With regular practice, you will learn how to master the art of working with motion and shutter speed to create great pan shots.
Playing with the Shutter Speed
A higher shutter speed lets you capture amazing action shots. Since your guys are probably quick on their feet, it’s going to be tough to get them to sit still and pose. The best way to get high quality stock photography is to set at your shutter speed on the fastest level, which may be featured as the sports mode on some DSLR cameras. Keep clicking and see what you can capture.
Your Pet’s Point of View
Point of view plays a very important role in pet action photographs. Just like corners play a very important role in the dramatic images of sports shots, your yard’s corners and the garden’s background are natural props. Take photos of your pet framed by with natural elements such as trees or a cozy corner to enhance the aesthetics.
Set your camera at different places and start clicking photographs. Low angle shots can be very dramatic, and close up shots often turn a ho-hum shot into a stunning image. When you get in very close, your audience can see right into Fido’s eyes and get a glimpse into her soul. This shot might require you to get on the ground, but the effort is totally worth it.
Perfect Your Focus
If you have a Digital SLR, autofocus will work like a charm with the right lens. However, even the best performance from an auto focus lens is not nearly fast as manual focus. The tricky part about manual focus is getting the focus right. Assuming the approaching angle and position of your pet is a great way to keep your camera ready for the shots.
Follow focus are very difficult and takes time to learn. Practice focusing on flying birds or ask a family member to throw a Frisbee while you take a photo. Using a tripod reduces the pressure when you practice follow focus.
These great tricks will help you improve your pet photography skills. With practice and patience, you can create great action shots of your pets.