Best Lens For Dog Photography

Dog Photographer Rebecca Goutorbe

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best lens for pet photography

The best lens for dog photography is… ok sorry it’s not that easy. 
Let me explain you will need to decide what type of dog photography you will be doing to then decide which lens will suit your needs.
For example you may be shooting portrait dog photography, outdoor dog photography, event photography, studio dog photography. All these types of dog photography could require lenses with different focal lengths and smaller apertures. For example a small aperture of say f.2 to create a nice creamy bokeh background.

Or you may need a longer focal length of around 400mm so you can distance yourself from the dog.   
Is the lens for photographing your own dog? Or for private commissions you will be doing.

Camera for dog photography

I use Canon DSLR full frame and crop sensor camera’s for all my dog and pet photography.
The lenses I use are all Canon lenses too. There are other makes and brands of lenses which will fit a Canon camera and other camera’s on the market. You will usually find that the other makes of lenses which will be great for dog photography can work out cheaper too than buying a dedicated Canon lens.
There are lots of different brands of camera and lenses to choose from for dog photography, including Nikon, Sony and more. So don’t worry If you have a different brand of camera.
There are still plenty of tips and information for the best lens for dog photography in this post for you.

Best Canon lens for dog photography

I find that the best Canon lens for dog photography on a private commission which is done outdoors is the 70mm – 200mm f2.8 Canon L series lens.
That is just my opinion other dog photographers may disagree that this lens is the best for dog photography.
The 70mm – 200mm f2.8 is a fast lens and has excellent image quality, but it is also a flexible lens with the focal length adjustable from 70mm – 200mm.
The Canon 70mm – 200mm is my go to dog photography lens for outdoor dog photography and was the main lens I used when photographing the Kennel Club Gundog events. 
Take a look at the examples below using the Canon 70mm – 200mm lens,  

Dog photography with a Canon 70mm - 200mm lens

A brand new Canon 70mm – 200mm f2.8 will cost around £2,200 which is kind of pricey especially if this is just for photographing your own dog. Although you could buy a second hand one which would workout a lot cheaper, or a 70mm – 200mm f4 which is cheaper again.
Let me show you what other lenses there are for taking great photographs of dogs. 

Prime lenses for dog photography

Prime lenses are a fixed focal length lens. So you cannot zoom in or out with a prime lens.
If you use a prime lens for dog photography you will have to move yourself closer or further away from the dog to get your shots. 
I love prime lenses for dog photography because when you nail the shot with a prime lens the images are just amazing.  Prime lenses tend to be sharper image quality too, and they come in a variety of focal lengths.
Here are some of the focal lengths available in a prime lens. 

best lens for dog photography

Image taken with a Canon 400mm prime lens (f5.6)

Examples of dog photography with a prime lens

Images taken with a Canon 400mm lens (f5.6)

A 400mm prime lens will give you the ability to photograph the dog from a distance.
This lens works great for Working dogs where the dog needs to concentrate on their job with no distractions from the camera or photographer. 

Example of dog photography with a Canon 135mm lens

best lens for dog photography

The 135mm f2 Canon lens is a stunning portrait lens. You can use this lens for actions shots or moving subjects as well.
The Canon 135mm lens is light in weight compared to the 70mm – 200mm lens, the images are sharp and the background blur from the lens is just beautiful.
This is one of my favourite dog photography lens for taking photos of my own dogs for their website.
A great dog show lens too, with an aperture of f2 this lens is great at Crufts dog show under the terrible low lighting. Even at outdoor dog shows the focal length of 135mm is just perfect for in the ring shots to catch all the action. Also the lens is small enough in size to fit into a small camera bag so you are not overloaded for your day out. 

Examples of dog photography with a Canon 85mm lens

The 85mm Canon lens again is a portrait lens. You don’t need to spend a fortune on an L series Canon lens to get an 85mm focal length prime lens. Canon make a more affordable lens the Canon EF 85mm F1.8 USM lens.
These lenses can usually be picked up second hand, the one I have only cost £200 second hand.

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Creative dog photography

You can be creative with dog photography with any lens.
By using a 35mm prime lens or a wider lens for example a 16mm – 35mm. You can start creating the really wide angle shots with the big sky or really close up shots, so the dog almost looks distorted in the image. This will create the big head and tiny body look of the dog. If this is the type of dog photography you would like to do then, a wide angle lens is for you. 

Lens for studio dog photography

The lens you will need for studio dog photography will depend on the size of your studio.
A popular lenses for studio dog photography is the 24mm-70mm, a 24mm-105mm or a wider lens like a 16mm-35mm. 

As you can see from the post above once you decide what type of dog photography you will doing. Then you can choose the best lens for dog photography which will suit your needs and creative style. 
I have 15 dog photography tips you may be interested in here > 
& tips for photographing dogs in action here >

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