How to Photograph Your Dog Running

Your smartphone is an awesome tool! As a communication device, it’s impossible to beat right now. But as an actual camera, it’s lacking. For example, your smartphone’s camera is awful at tracking your dog running toward you. It does a terrible job shooting photos in burst and portrait mode at the same time to photograph your dog running and having your dog in focus. To get photos like that, you often have to reach for what some call a “real camera.”

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Why Your Smartphone Can’t Do This

Even the best Android and Apple phones aren’t capable of doing this because of the immense processing power needed. Think about it, to do this with your smartphone you’d need to shoot the photos in portrait mode and also in a burst. More than that, your smartphone would need to identify your dog, track it, and keep it in focus the entire time. Good luck getting most if not all of the photos perfectly in focus. 

So instead, to photograph your dog running and get that wonderful blurry background, you’d have to do it in post-production. But why do that when you can just have a “real camera” do it for you in the first place? 

The best photographers (and I’ll die on this hill) do everything they can to get it right in-camera. And a dedicated camera uses organic physics to keep your dog in focus.

What You Need

To make this happen, we’re going to recommend a few kits to photograph your dog running. These recommendations are based on our reviews of these cameras and the lenses they come with. And you can dive further into our reviews if you wish.

Long Lasting: For around $1,400 you can pick up the Canon EOS R10 with a lens. This camera has AI technology built in that looks at a scene and understands it sees a dog. Then it works to track the dog moving through the scene.

Mid Tier: If you want something a bit more affordable, there’s the Canon EOS RP with a lens that doesn’t have the AI the newer R10 does. But it has all the tracking capabilities you need. 

Super Affordable: On the even more affordable scale, there’s the Sony a6100 that’s also super small! In our review, we cited that it can track moving subjects with ease.

How to Photograph Your Dog Running

If you’re using a camera with animal detection AI autofocus built in, go into the settings and enable it. Different camera manufacturers will call it different things, and a quick Google search can help you find it. Or just check the user’s manual. 

Otherwise, what nearly every other camera can do is just track a moving subject. Switch the camera’s autofocus settings to Continuous autofocus. Different companies, again, call it different things. Sony calls it AF-C and Canon calls it Servo. Why they don’t all agree on one set of nomenclature is beyond us. But anyway, there are a few ways to proceed.

Set your camera to burst mode shooting. If your camera has a touchscreen, set the camera to focus on your dog by tapping your dog’s face after making sure it won’t just fire the shutter after tapping the screen. Otherwise, select the focus area for the center. Then when your fur buby is running at you, hold down the shutter button. It should be able to lock onto your pup running and keep it in focus the entire time. For the best results, keep the focus reticule over your dog’s face at all times as best you can. 

When you’re done, you’ll have those gorgeous photos of your four-legged friend.

Your Phone’s Camera Can’t is budding a series on The Phoblographer dedicated to educating people on how to step up from their smartphones.

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