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Capturing The Best Action Shot with Your Dog

Some of our best memories from this summer so far are of our adventures we've shared with our dogs—adventures on the trails, swimming in the river and even getting in a little bit of training. We know you've been out enjoying summer too and are so excited to see those happy dog smiles submitted into the Work Hard, Play Harder Photo Contest.

We've rallied up three judges to select the Grand Prize and Runner Up winners. Each judge brings a little bit of expertise from a different industry and they all take some pretty spectacular images. We caught up with each of them to get some inside tips and tricks on how you can show off your best work!


Braedyn Nguyen

Favorite camera to capture the action? My camera of choice is a "Canon 1DX Mark 2" 

What is one tip you would give to someone who primarily shoots photos on their iPhone? Just be creative and don't stop shooting. Take pictures of everything!

Your go to trick to get a dog to pay attention to the camera? Calling out their name showing them a bumper, or even using a treat will work.

How do you capture crisp photos of a dog in action? A faster shutter speed will be needed to "freeze" the action/motion. Good focus tracking skills are also something that helps because you will need to keep the focus on the dog as it’s moving to get sharp images. The camera body can also play a slight role in this because your higher end cameras will have a better and faster auto-focus system.



How did you get your start as a photographer? I just started taking pictures on my phone. I always enjoyed capturing the moments on my phone then one day I thought to myself "I feel like I can make these much better." So I chose to start shooting on an entry level DSLR. It was just a snowball effect from there. 


What's the best tip anyone shared with you about photography? Don't give up. 

Drew Mason

Favorite camera to capture the action? Sony a6500. The small form factor makes it easy to bring into the action and the super fast autofocus helps you capture the subject in motion.

What is one tip you would give to someone who primarily shoots photos on their iPhone? Capture photos where the scenery is naturally beautiful. It’s harder to fake a cool shot with an iPhone, compared to a DSLR or mirrorless camera. Also try shooting photos when the sun is at a low angle. Early morning light or the evening’s “golden hour” light can help make images look more dynamic and interesting.

Your go to trick to get a dog to pay attention to the camera? Food. Bring treats that your dog loves. Simple as that.

How do you capture crisp photos of a dog in action (settings suggestions?) I try to keep my shutter speed at least 1/1000th of a second for fast-moving, high-action shots. It’s also okay to stop down your aperture too. We all like that shallow depth of field look, but it’s not always practical. Don’t be afraid of f8, especially if you’re shooting telephoto. 

What is your favorite dog photo you have captured and why? It’s so hard to pick one, but I’d have to chose a photo I took earlier this year in winter. My dog, Mason, and our friend’s dog Ripley have become fond of a particular log in our regular hiking trail. On that particular day we had flurries blowing through, and it makes winter look so inviting. 

 

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Some see snowy, cold weather as an excuse to stay inside. We see it as an opportunity to enjoy some of the best outdoor experiences nature has to offer. What do you love about winter? . . . As much as we enjoy the snow, it’s important to be safe! Investing in the right gear is critical for enjoying the cold outdoors. For our pup, whose coat isn’t as thick as our friend Ripley’s border-aussie fur, we use the Telluride coat by @outwardhound. It fits close to his body without constricting movement, and it helps keep his core temp up. After a 90 minute hike, he was still charging through the snow without any concern of being cold. . . . About a dozen posts ago, you’ll see a photo we took at this exact spot. Since then, I’ve had a lot of questions about the cameras and lenses I use. Check out my story to see more about it! 📸🎥🐾 #themittenmutt #sonyalpha #dogsonlogs

A post shared by Mason Mason (@themittenmutt) on

 

 

How did you get your start as a photographer? I started taking photos to document my backcountry camping trips around the country, but didn’t really take it seriously until a very special evening. In 2009, I witnessed a spectacular display of the Northern Lights in Michigan's lower peninsula. At the time, I didn’t know enough about the settings in my camera to adequately capture what I was seeing. After that night, I promised myself that I would not to miss another opportunity to capture my outdoor experiences. Since then, photography has became a serious hobby, eventually becoming a full time career.

Sydney Ryan

Favorite camera to capture the action? Nikon D810

What is one tip you would give to someone who primarily shoots photos on their iPhone? Tips and tricks about lighting, framing, and angles for DSLR cameras can still apply to iphone images. There are plenty of articles online with information for DSLR users that can be beneficial to those shooting on their phones.

Your go to trick to get a dog to pay attention to the camera? I love to train my dog so I taught Ego to "watch" the camera, but weird noises, toys, and treats are also helpful.

How do you capture crisp photos of a dog in action? Fast shutter speed (1/800 - 1/1200) and higher f-stop (2.8 minimum, but 3.2-3.5 preferred) ensure that your subject doesn't have motion blur and is in focus. If the shutter speed is too slow it won't freeze the subject so it'll look blurred from the motion. If the f-stop is too low, it's harder to focus on the subject.

What is your favorite dog photo you have captured and why? I can't pick a favorite! Each image tells a different story and reminds me of a different memory. My current favorite is probably one that I took on our recent trip to Canada, but that will change as soon as I pick up my camera again.

How did you get your start as a photographer? My Sophomore year of college I decided to buy a used basic level Nikon camera to take photos of Ego and realized I loved it. Not only is it a fun hobby, but it allows me to capture and preserve all of the amazing memories I make with Ego.

What's the best tip anyone shared with you about photography? Have fun! Sometimes the "rules" don't apply. Take photos that make you happy.

 

Learn more about the judges and don't forget to hit us with your best shot of the summer by entering the contest >> here.



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How To Measure

Measure the circumference of your dog's muzzle where you expect the goggle to land on their nose - usually around the back of their mouth.

Measure the head circumference where you expect the goggle to land on the forehead - typically an inch or so behind the eyes.