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Shoot action images of your dogs

(Image credit: Alexandra Robins)

We know how it is. You're in the millionth day of lockdown, you feel like you've run out of photography subjects, and you're staring at the wall or out of the window waiting for something exciting to appear.

If you've got dogs, however, there are so many ways to practice your camera skills and take some brilliant action shots – whether this is in your garden, the local park, or wherever you go for their daily walk.

Before lockdown, we spent the day shooting dogs with pro pet photography Alexandra Robbins (opens in new tab). Why not have a go at following her steps for capturing animals in action?

5 steps for capturing dogs in motion

1. Use a telephoto

It’s challenging to frame and focus on dogs in motion, and having a flexible telephoto will enable you to capture a range of distances as they run. Alex switched to a 70-200mm lens to recompose without having to move, cleaning her lens before use.

(Image credit: Alexandra Robins)

2. Manual settings

Alex uses Manual exposure mode. For moving targets, a fast shutter speed is a priority; she sets the focus mode to AI-Servo (continuous focusing) to ensure a sharp result.

Alexandra Robins

(Image credit: Alexandra Robins)

3. Get down low

Shooting animals at their eye level is the best way to capture compelling portraits. Alex sometimes employs knee pads to make this approach more comfortable.

(Image credit: Alexandra Robins)

4. Ask for help

Having a friend or family member on hand to help direct the dog(s) can leave you free to focus on the photography. While Alex works, her partner keeps up the communication with the owners, or holds dog leads.

(Image credit: Alexandra Robins)

5. Ready, set, go

Once Alex is ready to shoot, she asks the owner behind her to call the dog. As it runs towards her, she makes use of her DSLRs 7fps continuous shooting rate, shooting off a burst of images to ensure that she captures a range of frames and expressions.

(Image credit: Alexandra Robins)

For more:

Alexandra Robins' pet photography website (opens in new tab)
FREE pet photography eBook guide with Digital Photographer magazine 233! (opens in new tab)
Capture incredible indoors pet portraits (opens in new tab)

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Lauren is the Managing Editor of Digital Camera World, having previously served as Editor of Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) magazine, a practical-focused publication that inspires hobbyists and seasoned pros alike to take truly phenomenal shots and get the best results from their kit. 


An experienced photography journalist who has been covering the industry for over eight years, she has also served as technique editor for both PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine and DCW's sister publication, Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)


In addition to techniques and tutorials that enable you to achieve great results from your cameras, lenses, tripods and other photography equipment, Lauren can regularly be found interviewing some of the biggest names in the industry, sharing tips and guides on subjects like landscape and wildlife photography, and raising awareness for subjects such as mental health and women in photography.