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How to Take Photos of Dogs Swimming

If your dog loves being in the water and is lucky enough to live near some, pack up your pooch and your camera and get out there! Water offers a bunch of opportunities for great photos: diving in, getting out, shaking off, and, of course, the doggie paddle. But be prepared to get your feet wet — literally!

Your camera settings for photographing Peanut swimming follow the same rules as the settings for when you photograph her running. Set your camera to shutter-priority mode, choose a very fast shutter speed, and pick an appropriate ISO for the amount of light available.

Here are some ideas and tips for capturing a dog in water:

  • Plan an outing to a natural body of water like an ocean or a lake, but remember to pack your zoom lens for the occasion. Although you can wade into the water, you can’t get all the way in, so being able to zoom in for a closer shot is key.

  • If it’s a very bright day, consider using a polarizing filter to cut some of the glare coming off of the water.

  • Use the pool in your backyard to capture Sampson diving through the air. Position yourself on one side of the pool and recruit an assistant to stage Sampson on the opposite side. Have the assistant throw a toy into the pool and release Sampson after it.

  • You won’t have long to capture Sampson’s plunge, so be sure to have your camera set to continuous shooting mode. Press and hold down the shutter release as soon as he begins running at you. Don’t let go of the shutter release until he lands in the pool and has surfaced!

  • Take advantage of stairs in the shallow end of the pool to get a lower vantage point. Feel free to walk in a few steps; just remember to use your neck strap and keep a very good grip on your camera!

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59mm, 1/3200 sec., f/3.5, 125

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