VPShoots Happy Dogs - Action photographs of dogs having fun

August 11, 2017  •  6 Comments

This week's word pet photography theme is "Happy".  I googled to see what "Happy Dog Photographs" look like and I found that the most universal photograph is a dog with a wide open mouth and panting.  Some of the dog photographs show dogs that appear to be grinning, other dogs actually appear to be smiling but the overall reaction most people have is that they appear to be "Happy".  My approach this week for the weekly pet photography blog is to show dogs playing with other dogs and running free.  At it's simplest level dogs having a good time. 

The first photograph shows my dog, Jimbo, with ears flying, dogs around him and he almost appears to be prancing as he is in the middle of running and playing.  This is a pet photograph with all the action stopped in a single moment in time.  A fast shutter speed is required to stop the action without blur with the Jimbo running across the frame.

Jimbo playing at dog parkJimbo playing at dog park

I believe that dogs love to run free.  In our society, if you live in the city, a lot of dogs might not get the opportunity to run free as much as they would like.  I'm sure country dogs get to enjoy running free the majority of the time.  I take my dogs to dog parks to allow them time to run free and socialize with other dogs.  I've noticed that one of the most common ways for dogs to be happy is running freely and chasing each other.  Who doesn't love a great action shot of their dog running or playing?

Dogs playing chaseDogs playing chase

This next photograph utilizes a technique called 'panning'.  Panning is where the shutter speed is slowed down and you follow a given object to create a sense of motion, but also show your subject sharp enough to be able to view and understand what your subject actually is.  The slower the shutter speed is, the greater the illusion of speed will be.  The tricky part of this type of photography is to match the speed of the running dog with the speed of panning the camera.  The dogs love to run along side the fence at the dog park that is shared with the small dog area.  I decided this was a good opportunity to try this type of photography (cars are probably easier - they are bigger and more predictable).  Panning requires slowing down the shutter speed, in my case to 1/30th of a second. Next, wait for the dogs to start running, lock the focus on Jimbo (the brown dog) and move the camera to follow Jimbo running along the fence until the shutter closes.  In today's digital world, take a look at the photograph on your camera and see what you've captured.  You may need to adjust the shutter speed or how fast you pan the camera.  It takes practice.  I took over a hundred photographs to get just a couple that were acceptable.

Panning Dog PhotographyPanning Dog Photography

The last photograph is of a daschund named "Happy".  Happy was laying on his blanket and I laid down in front of him and took this photograph - I'm sure he was wondering what this was all about as not that many people laid down in front of him and pointed a camera his way.  I did however, find him a good model (he didn't run away).

For those of you that love your pets and treat them as a part of the family - make sure you capture those special moments as one day, they will be your treasure to remember you friend.  For more 'happy' pet photographs head over to visit Pet Love Photography, serving Greater Cincinnati and the San Francisco Bay Area.  and then head around the rest of the blog circle until you end up back here.

If you would like to book a custom pet portrait session, send an email to Linda at [email protected] or give us a call at 813-610-2671 in the Tampa Bay area (Florida).  Special discount if you're looking for an 'end of life' portrait.




Danyel Rogers(non-registered)
You got some GREAT actions shots. Nice job.
Great images! Love your "panning" shot! That's something i just can't ever get! That's awesome you had a dog named "Happy" for this blog post - great job!
I really want to try panning one day. I like the look of it as something out of the norm. You did a great job with that especially.
Jodie Pholi(non-registered)
Love those flying ears , they look like they are very happy.
I also focused on my own happy bunch this week. Great interpretation of the theme this week. Lilah also does the same skippy type of happy jump, much like you have in the first photo! :)
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