Pet Photography Tips: Camera Settings

Pet Photography Tips: Camera Settings

by Bessie Young Photography

Now that we have some basics tips on how to get a pet portrait (click here to read article: ) we can start talking about camera settings. Getting the perfect photo of your pet isn't easy. Here are a few tips for your camera settings that may help you get a better pet portrait:

Shutter Speed: Make sure your shutter speed is FAST :)  When you think of photographing an animal think of action. Animals like to move around a lot. Even if they are just lying on the bed their head is always moving from side to side. I make sure to keep my shutter speed no lower than 1/250. I prefer much higher than that, but try not to go lower. If you plan on taking shots of your dog running you will need to be around 1/1000 or so.

Aperture: I keep my aperture open, but not wide open. I typically stay above f/2.8. This way I get the bokeh affect but keep all the important features of my subject in focus.

ISO: I rarely change my ISO. I do not want to get much grain in any of my photos so I make sure to keep the ISO low. My go to is ISO 100-200. If need be I will end up around 400, but I don’t go higher than that. It

On a side note, make sure your camera is set on the continuous shooting mode. This will allow you to hold down the shutter button and take multiple photos in a row. This really helps with the all too famous tongue picture.



As far as lens selection, I don’t use prime lenses much. I found that using a prime lens (as I typically do in a Senior Portrait session) I move around too much. This is distracting to the animal. The more I move the more nervous the animal gets. By using my zoom lens I can change my crop by just zooming in or out. This allows you to get multiple shots in one position keeping in mind that you may have to change your settings. My go to lenses are the Canon 50mm 1.8, 24-105mm f/2.8, and the 100-400mm f/4.


This photo series was taken with my 24-105mm lens without me having to move around. I did crouch on the ground and then stand up.


The ultimate goal is to get sharp images where you focus on the eyes, get good focus on the nose, and a beautiful blurred background.



Now get out there and get some amazing shots of your furry friend. Don’t be shy to share your pictures in the comments below  :)

Wishing you the best!



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