What’s in the bag of a dog photographer?
Very often people ask me what equipment I use for my photo sessions with dogs, so I decided to write you a short article on everything that I can take with me during my sessions. Over time I understood which material was suitable for my use.
Since early 2020, I have been working with a Nikon D780. Before that, I used the D750 as well as the D500.
I needed a box with a responsive Liveview because I use it a lot, I feel more comfortable with it than with the viewfinder. So naturally I looked at the Nikon D780, the new camera that I had just released. I found the Liveview of the D750 too slow, and the D500 was still an APSC… So I found a kind of compromise thanks to this new D780. The D780 retains the 24 megapixels of its predecessor, but sees the sensor and processor as well as its autofocus detection module evolve. The video part finally reaches 4K UHD at 30 fps, which is handy for me who wants to do some video from time to time. The D780’s display has a 2,359 megapixel resolution while having multi-touch.
Nikon D500 + Sigma 85mm f/1.4
Nikon D750 + Sigma 85mm f/1.4
Sigma 135mm f/1.4 Art: a lens that I mainly use for my photo shoots with clients, the bokeh really highlights dogs thanks to its very wide aperture. I can also stay away from dogs who are afraid or who just don’t feel comfortable.
Sigma 85mm f/1.4 Art: my favorite of all, I make 99% of my portraits with this lens. The focal length is perfect, neither too long nor too short. The bokeh is delicious, the autofocus is correct, it can sometimes be inaccurate, the chromatic aberrations are rather low.
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art: the new one, replacing my Sigma 24mm f/1.4 Art. The first tests were conclusive, nice bokeh, precise autofocus, perfect sharpness, even at wide aperture. I chose it mainly to photograph dogs with more landscape, to photograph my products, etc.
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II: for action photography, it’s the best. The autofocus is incredibly fast and precise, the sharpness is divine. The weight can be a little to much after a few hours, but we have experienced much worse! For portrait use, it is better to mount it on a full-frame, 200 mm on APS-C, that’s a lot.
Essential equipment for dog photography
Because it is not over!
I always have with me my cleaning kit in case of annoying traces on my lens. The kit consists of a blower bulb, a microfiber rag and a microfiber brush, you can find it on Amazon for less than 10 euros.
Also important: additional batteries and memory cards! Choose brand batteries, they last longer and are more reliable.
For memory cards, all depends on your needs but a card with good writing speed is preferable to avoid ending up with a card that is too slow and a saturated buffer.
What would a dog photographer be without a ball in his bag? Even if there are plenty of other ways to get a dog’s attention, a toy is by far the best tool!