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Hi everyone!

I'm new around here and miss my dog, who lives quite far away. I'm currently residing with a cat and made a very basic DSLR tutorial featuring her that I thought might be helpful for anyone else with a dog who just bought a DSLR. Here's the tutorial and let me know if it helps!

Do you want your photos to look like the professional ones that have an object «pop» from the background, like this?


Turns out, it’s pretty easy to do (these instructions are for a Nikon D3100, but should work for other DSLRs as well!):


  • Turn the wheel on your camera to «A».
  • Scroll the little wheel on the upper right hand corner of the camera until the screen shows “F2.”
  • Take a photo of an object.

(This will work best with an object that’s close to you with a background that’s a little further away.)

Check out your photo; it should have the focused foreground/blurry background effect!

Now, make the number something big (like 22) and take a photo of the same thing.

What just happened?

Ok, so if you look straight at the lens of your camera, you’ll notice there’s a black hole. The size of that hole is called «aperture».

The size of the hole corresponds to the F number: The smaller the F number, the bigger the hole is (weird, I know). The bigger the hole, the more blurry the background becomes.

What did I just do?

When you switched the wheel on your camera to «A», you were switching to «Aperture Priority Mode», which means that you get to control the aperture and the camera takes care of the rest.
 

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I think a lot of people are stuck in auto mode with their cameras and any help in simple terms is invaluable.
With that said, there is a bit more to photographing animals/pets than aperture.
I find the most helpful way to make my photos pop in most circumstances as most pets are moving, is shutter speed.
Aperture helps to obtain this when a bigger (lower number) is selected, but amping up the iso or elevating exposure values can also help.
A shutter speed of 600 and up will help "freeze" the action with much sharper results.
When taking pictures of pets it is also a good idea to be able to take multiple shots with a single press of the shutter button.
One will be amazed at some of the shots that you do not even realize you got until viewed on your monitor.

If one reads the manual to see if they have the capability to "map" the focus button to another button instead of half pressing the shutter button, one will get faster shots in a burst with better results.

This way you can focus onto your pet and take the burst of shots without having the camera try to refocus before every shot.

My preference is to use Aperture priority when my dog is stationary for a more of a portrait type of shot. I love the blurred background you speak off and this type of look works so well in framed prints...in my opinion anyways.

This is one shot with a burst of 6 shots in a row to capture the shot I would never get trying to snap just one...



This is one shot with Aperture priority to get the blurred effect in the background like you speak of in your tutorial...



This is a great idea for a thread and I hope others will want to post some helpful tips for others as I know of some who take fantastic shots of there dogs. @ZoesMom is an amazing photographer.
 

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Zoe, Phoenix, Alice - ACDx
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Thank you so much @DrHarmony for the nice compliment! :D

I agree with you on aperture and shutter speed. I pretty much do the same thing, except that I bump my shutter speed a bit higher because my girls are super speedy. :) I also use manual a lot.

To the OP: A lot of Aperture Priority mode also has to do with what lenses you have, too. A lot of the cheaper lenses don't open up that much. Like my 18-55 starts at 3.5. I can still get a nice soft background with it but I'm looking to upgrade soon!

Here's a couple of tutorials by Seth Casteel: https://youtu.be/Ux8MIaz9ARs
https://youtu.be/PGuZRnfOVVg
 

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I use the Canon`s "fifty nifty" a lot - the best 100 $ ever spent. Amazing quality for the money. F 1.8 --- orgasmatic :D You also wont feel bad for banging it on the rocks or in crowded places. Perfect for low light.
 

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Thanks for the tips everyone! I am new to DSLR cameras and so far it's all been trial and error. Only about 2/50 shots turn out for me, but I'm learning! :D

P.S. Sorry about the weird formatting of the photos. I just snagged them off of my Facebook page, so the shape and colour are a little different. They don't appear to be as clear either. Oh well.
 

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