This week we are at Week Seven of professional pet photography blog circle Project 52 and the topics of “slow shutter speed and panning.” This year, we are following the lessons in the book “The Visual Toolbox: 60 Lessons for Stronger Photographs” by David Duchemin

For this week’s assignment we were tasked with taking images using a slow shutter speed (nothing over 1/60) and then separately, working on the technique of “panning,” which is following a moving subject so that it stays in focus while the remainder is blurred. Each of these tasks deals with motion. Shooting at slower shutter speeds causes the potential for more motion blur in your images (unless you’re shooting with a tripod, which we weren’t supposed to do.) These two tasks each have their own challenges and I gave them a try with varying degrees of success. 

This first image is my example of using a slow shutter speed. This image was shot using a shutter speed of 1/15, which is very slow for a shutter speed and one I wouldn’t normally use (at least without a tripod). I was fairly successful with this image in getting the action happening at the center of the image in focus. The subjects of this image are Hoss aka “Little Dude” and Paco. Hoss is my foster through Louie’s Legacy Animal Rescue and Paco is Mr. Bojangles’ new brother, adopted from Louie’s this past weekend. He stayed with us for a few days in January when his foster was out of town and hit it off with Mr. Bojangles.

The second image is my somewhat-less-than-successful attempt at panning. The idea with panning is to get your subject in focus as you follow their motion and the rest of the image will blur away. This technique is frequently used with sporting images (such as someone running or cars). I don’t, typically, shoot action images, so this week was especially challenging for me to execute. It was also somewhat difficult to try on my own as I had to initiate the act that started the action for the dogs in each instance. Not so easy to do by yourself. Mr. Bojangles cooperated as best he could, but I think I confused him by my attempts at getting him to run away from me (not something he really wants to do.)

Now to see more use of slow shutter speed and panning, head over to Edmonton Pet Photographer – Mutt Love Photography, and then around the rest of the blog circle until you end up back here.

If you would like to book a custom pet portrait session, please use the hot pink “BOOK NOW” button to the right of this post (at the bottom of the page on mobile), send us an email to suzi [at], or give us a call at 513-288-1650 in the Cincinnati area or 650-382-3242 in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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