Best equipment for dog photography. My two cents.

Back in the days when I photographed weddings I got into these awkward conversations with the wedding guests.

”Soooo… May I ask, are you happy with your camera/lens/equipment? Is it good?”
”Yes, very. It works for me.”
”And how would you say the *add any tech feature* compares to the previous model?
Is it *add any tech feature* enough?”

”Sorry, I have no idea.”

I’m such a tech geek.

”One camera please”, could be my punch line in a camera store. And I do not feel ashamed!

Look, what I’ve learned in the past 10 years is that good camera only helps. Great lenses only help. You can’t create interaction, add the emotion or find good light with your gear. Best photographs are created with your eyes, heart and mind.

Among my peers I probably own the least photo equipment. I haven’t bought new lenses in years but I actually have sold the ones I don’t use. If you’re like me and feel the technical talk is just a tad too much all the time, here’s my two cents about what I think are the must haves for a dog portrait photographer.

Fast camera with great continuous focusing system because dogs are SO FAST. A camera that lets you photograph with manual settings is a must have because we don’t want the camera to create photos for us! (They never know what I want.) I just switched back to using my old camera, Nikon D700, because it delivers every. single. time. And you know what? There may be five newer models but those cameras don’t make my old pal any worse. Instead of focusing what you don’t have, focus on what you have. (Unfortunately I cannot use D700 for client work because it lacks another card slot and I love to play it safe and always shoot on two memory cards.)

You’ll need only one great lens but two or three give more possibilities. If you’re just starting out, grab that famous 50/1.8. You can get it under 100 €/USD and it’s worth so much more. I’ve actually taken some of my favorite images with that. With a cropped sensor camera 50mm is even better for portraits. If I’d have to choose only one lens it would still be my 50mm. Nowadays I use Sigma 50/1.4.

I took this in 2011 using a cropped sensor camera and my 35/1.8 lens. I still love this photograph.

Next upgrade? If you need something longer, save up for the 85/1.8. It’s a fast & gorgeous lens that won’t fail you. Or maybe 35/1.8 if what you see is what you like (with cropped sensor cameras) or you need a wider perspective (with full frames).

What about those moving dogs, then? What should you get? I had 70-200/2.8. It was a great tool and gave me so many great photos. Good lenses last ages so take a look at that ”used” section, as well. You can save a lot of cash that way. Good price, just for you…

Here’s my digital DSLR camera history:
Nikon D40 > D300S > D700 > D800 > ???

Here’s my (Nikon) lens history:
Nikkor 17-55/3.5-5.6 > Nikkor 50/1.8 > Nikkor 35/1.8 > Nikkor 50/1.4 > Nikkor 85/1.4G > Nikkor 35/1.4G > Tamron 70-200/2.8 > Sigma 50/1.4 > Nikkor 105/2.8 micro > ???

I’m such a tech geek.




I want to learn more about dog photography.

Send me all the goodies!