Light-Filled and Fun Dog Photography Action Shots - dummies

Light-Filled and Fun Dog Photography Action Shots

By Kim Rodgers, Sarah Sypniewski

The most important variable for action photos of your dog is available light. Because action shots require you to shoot at such a high shutter speed, the more light you have, the easier your job is. You can use natural light, flashes, or a combination; just don’t scrimp on the light.

Stay away from the dark alleys and shadows (save that for your weekend club-hopping) and choose places that have lots of open sunshine. If you’re shooting indoors, turn on some lights and throw open your drapes with wild abandon! Doing so helps you get good shots, and it just feels good.

Also, think about your dog’s favorite activities. Does he go crazy for a tennis ball? Berserk over the pool? Or get the “zoomies” as soon as his toes hit sand on the beach?

When going after action shots, be sure to choose an activity he loves, because more than likely, you’ll be clicking away for a while before you end up with that frameable photo. Plus, the more fun you can make it for Nala, the more fun it will be for you, too.

Finally, consider the backdrop. For action photography, this can be tricky because your dog may be moving across different backgrounds while you’re photographing her. Capturing a dog in motion can be difficult enough; make your job easier by choosing a simple, consistent background when you can.

Position yourself at a vantage point from which your background remains as consistent as possible throughout the whole potential panning area. If you’re on the beach, the water is your best option. If you’re in the backyard, point toward that hedge that lines the yard as opposed to the deck with patio furniture everywhere.

Here are some location ideas to get your creativity flowing:

  • Spot’s favorite park

  • The beach (make sure it’s a dog-friendly one!)

  • Your sister’s three-acre property filled with rolling meadows and a lake

  • Your college friend’s vineyard and winery

  • That funky strip on Main Street with all the graffiti

  • The baby pool that Zoe splashes around in

  • The agility class that Tigger looks forward to

Whether grand or simple, take stock of who and where you know. You probably have a lot more options within your reach than you think!

Before using a public place for a shoot, scout it out (even if you go there every day). Taking a specific trip ahead of time allows you to notice the elements that you may not be aware of usually. Try to choose low-traffic places and you’ll have an infinitely easier and more enjoyable time.

If you want to use a business (like that dog-friendly café), talk to the manager first and see whether it’s okay for you to do a photo shoot there. And remember: Never have a dog off-leash unless you’re in a secure, fenced-in area.