Dog Photography Camera Settings
Here are some settings for dog photography that you need to know:
- Metering Mode: Spot with small focal area (aim for the closest eye / eyes)
- Drive Mode: Single shot for still photos or continuous for action shots
- Shooting Mode: Aperture priority (A / Av) for still photos or Manual (M) for action shots
- Large aperture (e.g. f/2) = shallow depth of field – good for still photos with a blurry background
- f/5.6 – f/11 = good for action shots
- ISO Setting: 100 to 200
- Shutter speed: 1/500 seconds or faster. If your dog remains still you may be able to reduce this to 1/15 seconds.
- Focus Mode: Single Shot
- Auto-Focus Point: Single point autofocus for still and continuous for action shots. You may need to experiment with zone or wide tracking for action shots.
- Focal Length: ~35mm for still photos or telephoto for action shots
- Image Stabilization: On
Shutter speed: For dog photographs shutter speed will be your most important setting.
Note: If you are shooting during brighter parts of the day you will need Neutral Density filters to allow you to slow the shutter speed. See our article on camera filters if you would like more information on the various kinds of camera filters.
Aperture priority (‘A’ or ‘Av’): With dog photography you often want to isolate your focus to the eyes with a blurring (bokeh) in the background. To achieve this you will need an aperture (small f-stop) that is large enough to isolate the focus (f/2.8-f/4). Having distance between your dog and the background will also emphasize this effect.
ISO: ISO controls how sensitive the camera is to the light hitting it with the range between 100-6400 or higher. Where possible you want to stick with an ISO of 100 or 200 as when you start increasing it you can introduce noise in the photograph. In saying this, in dog photography shutter speed and aperture are more important than keeping your ISO low so crank your ISO higher rather than sacrificing shutter speed and aperture (I usually limit to 6400 ISO and find I can reduce the noise in lightroom well).
The photo of Patrick below was taken late afternoon on an overcast day. Fujifilm X-T2, XF 50-140mm lens at 140mm, ISO 1250, f/4, 1/1000 seconds.