Dog Photography Settings: The Ultimate Instruction

Pet Photography Settings: The best Guide

how to choose your pet photography settings

Are you searching to capture beautiful images of house animals ? Then you must learn your pet photography settings.

Unfortunately, pet configurations can be challenging to get correct, which is why some photographers – those who are not up for challenging! – will tell you to “never photograph animals or kids. ” Fortunately, nailing your settings is not so hard when you are patient and you have a few easy tips to guide your choices, and that’s what this informative article is all about.

Beneath, I break down all from the key settings for pet photography, including shutter acceleration, aperture, and ISO. I explain how you should change your settings for razor-sharp, high-quality shots, and I also offer several tips to level up your pet photos.

Let’s dive right in!

How to take care of pet photography settings just like a pro

The pets are part of our own families. Naturally, we want to possess lovely photographs of them. But to get the best shots, we have to learn to carefully select the right settings!

In this section, I explain how to choose the best basic settings for pet photos. I pay specific attention to getting stuck movement – because capturing unpredictable motion is a key aspect of family pet photography (and the element that makes it so challenging). Correctly adjusting your camera configurations to handle fast movement and also to capture sharply focused pictures will dramatically increase the variety of usable files you’ll generate.

Of course , the ideal settings will also depend on your own pets. Some pets are more challenging to photograph compared to others – but the more challenging pets can also make the most incredible photographs. It’s pretty easy to get some decent photos of the pet turtle. But whilst a bouncy puppy will take a lot more effort to take, the results can be so much more fulfilling.

1 . Capture in Manual mode

The best way to manage your camera settings for family pet photography is with Manual mode .

That’s how I take my photos, because when I use Manual mode, I remain aware of each and every exposure establishing (i. e., the direct exposure triangle ). In fact, with Manual mode selected, you must manually dial within a shutter acceleration , an aperture , and a good ISO .

Guide mode prompts you to be cautious about your shutter speed – and by selecting your own shutter speed correctly, you can ensure that your camera shutter fires quickly and you get no motion blur when your subject moves.

Manual mode also encourages you to think about your aperture, which determines the image depth of industry (i. electronic., how much of the shot is in focus). The aperture also helps you let in more lighting, thus allowing for faster shutter speeds (and sharper shots).

And Manual mode prompts you to think about your ISO setting, which usually affects both image publicity and image quality.

2 . Pick a fast shutter swiftness to freeze pet movement

Shutter swiftness is a pet photography setting you must get right. Numerous pets move – plus they can move fast with unpredictable times. If your shutter speed is fast sufficient, it’ll freeze animal movement, but if it’s too slow, you will get a blurred (ruined! ) photo.

At this point, the faster the shutter speed, the greater chance you might have of preventing motion obnubilate, even if your pet moves. In my experience, 1/250s is the slowest “safe” shutter speed; go any slower, and a moving family pet will likely blur the image.

However , in case your pet is moving very rapidly, you’ll need to improve your shutter speed beyond 1/250s. For instance, when photographing this dove, I used a shutter speed of 1/5000s to freeze the wing motion:

Even resting or even sitting animals can shift unpredictably (usually when you don’t want them to! ). This process, when properly frozen, can make for great photos, but you’ll need to keep your shutter speed fast enough to capture the moment.

Incidentally, shutter speed isn’t practically image sharpness. It impacts image exposure, too – the faster the shutter speed, the darker the – so you’ll have to adjust your shutter quickness in relation to your aperture plus ISO settings to catch well-exposed shots.

brown dog outdoors pet photography settings
Nikon D800 | 105mm | f/4 | 1/500s | ISO 400

3. Modify your aperture for the correct depth of field

When doing dog photography, I recommend you start simply by adjusting your shutter rate – and then immediately choose an aperture.

As I hinted from above, the aperture affects two key image components:

Depth associated with field, or the amount how the subject is in focus.

And image direct exposure.

Initial, let’s address the level of field: The wider the aperture, the shallower the depth of field. With a wide aperture (e. g., f/2. 8), you’ll get less of your family pet in focus, which can be challenging – though it can also look great, depending on the effect you’re after.

Remember that the depth of industry becomes steadily narrower the closer you get to your pet. If you use a wide aperture and you capture a pet close-up, the depth of industry will be very shallow. Observe how the background blurs away in the image below:

close-up of a cat pet photography settings
Nikon D700 | 65mm | f/3. 5 | 1/1250s | ISO 500

As for the aperture’s effect on picture exposure: The wider the aperture, the more light that hits the sensor, and the brighter the image. If you need a quick shutter speed, you can use this to your advantage. Simply widen your aperture, then boost the shutter speed with no worrying about major underexposure.

Unfortunately, aperture wideness is not unlimited. Every lens includes a maximum aperture that it can’t go past. The kit lens that came with your own camera may only have a maximum aperture of f/3. 5 – but excellent lenses and more expensive zoom lenses feature wider apertures that let you use faster shutter speeds, even in low light.

If you want to use a faster shutter rate but you can’t widen your aperture any farther, you have to do have another option, as I discuss in the next section:

4. Keep your ISO as low as possible

The ISO is often known as your camera’s sensitivity in order to light, and while that’s not really quite true, it’s a great approximation of its effects. The greater the ISO, the lighter the exposure – even though higher ISOs produce unpleasant image noise effects , which can easily ruin your images.

Therefore , I recommend you use the INTERNATIONALE ORGANISATION FÜR STANDARDISIERUNG as the foundation of your pet photography settings. Select the cheapest native ISO offered by your camera, and don’t adjust it unless the light modifications significantly.

If the light is lower, you may find that a fast shutter speed and perfect aperture give you an underexposed photo. In such cases, you’ll need to improve your ISO for a better publicity, and that’s okay. Just remember that a higher ISO will produce more noise, so you should not increase your ISO unnecessarily.

For example , if you’re shooting a dog, you’ll want to keep the shutter speed at 1/250s at the very least . Yet in low gentle at ISO 100 having a wide-open f/2. 8 aperture, you may find that you need a 1/60s shutter speed to get a great exposure. So what do you perform?

You could leave your shutter acceleration at 1/60s, but this is very risky; if your dog techniques even slightly, the image will certainly blur. However , by boosting your ISO to 400, you can safely increase your shutter speed to 1/250s and maintain the same exposure. And if you change the exposure to ISO eight hundred, you can use a shutter rate of 1/500s, which is even safer.

All in all, the decision is yours, but it will surely depend on your subject, cameras, and situation. But whilst it’s good to keep your own ISO as low as possible, don’t be afraid to boost it since required!

flying dove pet photography settings
Nikon D700 | 105mm | f/8 | 1/500s | ISO 200

Pet photography settings tips

On this next section, I provide a few quick tips for the best pet photography settings, starting with:

1 . Pick the best focus mode

Focusing while photographing house animals is often a major challenge. Luckily, many new camera models have a focusing mode that immediately detects animal eyes, and when that’s an option for you, I suggest you try it out. When using animal eye AF, the digital camera will attempt to focus on your own pet’s eyes, and you will not have to spend much time thinking about focusing. In other words, you’ll have one particular less thing to manage!

If you don’t possess animal eye AF, you do have a few options. The objective should always be to get your pet’s eye in focus, but working with multiple focus factors can be a bit hit plus miss. Sometimes the digital camera will select the eye; also it may not. Using a single-point AF mode takes practice, but it’ll give you more exact control over your point of focus, so it’s worth looking at.

Really, if your camera doesn’t offer eye-detection autofocus, I encourage you to definitely simply experiment with its other modes until you find one that feels right.

woman with a pet snake
Nikon D800 | 105mm | f/11 | 1/200s | ISO 400

2 . Do not be afraid to use artificial lights

Sure, you can obtain great shots of animals in natural light – nevertheless there isn’t enough light, try adding some!

In my look at, continuous lighting is often better than a flash (your family pet may react adversely once the flash fires, which is not really the result you want). Begin by adding a single continuous light, and experiment with different light positions (off to the side, at 45 degrees, directly behind the camera, and so on).

Note that additional light will let you use a faster shutter speed and/or a narrow aperture setting. Put simply, artificial lighting guarantees higher flexibility!

3 or more. Use burst mode to capture split-second moments

I highly suggest you use your camera’s burst mode – also known as the continuous capturing mode – when photographing most pets.

With burst mode active, if you hold down the shutter key, your camera will take a series of images at high rates of speed.

That way, you can capture the best occasions without perfect timing.

So select your camera’s burst mode, then – whenever your pet starts to do something interesting – simply hold that shutter button, and watch as you nab photos of the fastest action (and even fleeting expressions).

couple with a pet snake
Nikon D800 | 105mm | f/11 | 1/250s | ISO 400

Of course , do be mindful of how many photos you’re taking. Remember that you’ll have to look through them all to pick out the best ones!

Pet photography settings: final words

dog in a rice field pet photography settings
Nikon D800 | 35mm | f/5 | 1/400 sec | ISO 800

Since you’ve finished this article, you understand the best settings for dog photography – and you know how to select the right sophisticated settings to get a top-notch result.

Remember: Shutter speed is vital. If the camera shutter is actually slow, you risk ruining your photos with movement blur – so pay out careful attention to the shutter quickness value!

Above all, however , have fun! If you’re having a good time, your pet is more likely to have a great time, as well, and it’ll lead to superior photos!

Now over to you:

What animals do you plan to photograph? Exactly what settings will you use? Discuss your thoughts in the comments below!

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Kevin Landwer-Johan

Kevin Landwer-Johan

Kevin Landwer-Johan is a photographer, photography teacher, plus author with over 30 years of experience that he loves to share with others.

Check out his e-books and his internet site .

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