Top 5 Canon DSLR pet photography tips
Set up your Canon DSLR so you can capture perfect pet portraits everytime. Here are our top 5 tips so you can get shooting…
No paws for thought
Photographing pets that are darting back and forth isn’t easy, so you’ll need to be quick on your feet. You’ll find it easier if you set your camera to the Av mode so the camera selects a shutter speed to match. To help you take sharper shots, set the autofocus mode to AI Servo, which tracks moving subjects, and this is best used in conjunction with automatic AF point selection mode, which uses all focus points and selects the one nearest to the camera. It’s also worth reviewing your images on your LCD screen to check they’re sharp.
To capture adorable puppy-dog eyes it’s important to keep the focus point spot-on. Just like with a human portrait, the eyes are the window to the soul, and this exactly where you’ll want to be focusing for pet portraits. Dog’s eyes are dark and set deep into the face, so consider using a fill-in flash to bring them out. Don’t set the flash too powerful though; something like -2/3 stop in E-TTL mode will do. You want to use just enough to get a catch-light in the eyes to give them some life. Remember not to overpower the flash to the extent that it’s noticeable.
Fast telephoto zoom
Photographing pets isn’t the easiest of tasks so you’ll need to use a lens that’s fast enough to keep up with the pace. The Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM (£1,870) is perfect for pet photography as it’s versatile and the aperture can go as wide as f/2.8. If this is too pricey, consider the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM (£980).
Make it shallow
Shooting at a wide aperture setting has big advantages. It blurs the background so you can hone in on the pet in the foreground. It also enables a fast shutter speed – 1/1000 sec, for example – so you can freeze the fast-movements of the dogs and thus avoid blur. However opening the aperture up to f/2.8 also has its challenges, as is means you have to be 100 percent accurate with focusing. And if you’re shooting with a long lens, keep one hand underneath it for extra support.
Whilst you can’t teach an old dog new tricks you can bribe them with treats! Have a small container of biscuits to hand so you can get the dog to sit and pose for you. It also becomes confusing for the animal when there are lots of people telling it what to do, so just get one person to do this.
This entry was posted on Friday, September 7th, 2012 at 9:26 am and is filed under Photography Tutorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a comment. Pinging is currently not allowed.