AI Servo and Dogs Gone Wild

Yesterday I took my husband and my two dogs to the dog park. My intention was to recreate a photo I had seen of a dog racing through an open gate. The caption on that photo read “Live like someone left the gate open!” I thought this was a fantastic idea. So I had Bob hold the dogs back at the gate to the dog park and then release them on my say so. The photos we got were hilarious. They turned out so well I wanted to share them here.


I also wanted to share some knowledge that helped me get this shot. I have always had trouble getting “tack-sharp” images when shooting pet portraits. Unless I am shooting an older dog who likes to sit still, it is really hard to get consistently good, sharp images. I heard a photographer who does pet portraits mention shooting with AI Servo. I was curious so I looked up a tutorial on YouTube*.

AI Servo controls the way your camera attains focus. If you are like me and never changed this setting before, you are used to hearing your camera find its focus when the shutter is pressed half way. The focal point is typically whatever is in the center of your frame and it will only change once the shutter is fully released.

AI Servo is for subjects that are moving. In this mode the camera is constantly attaining focus. You still use the focal points to select what you are focusing on. When you press down the shutter half way the camera will find a focal point but if your subject moves as you are pressing down the shutter the focus will adjust. This one small setting change made a huge difference for me.

For the photos below I left my ISO on Auto and cranked my shutter speed up to 3200. I set it for rapid fire shooting. Check out some of the captures I was able to get:


* This is the tutorial I mentioned above. He does a good job of explaining the different Auto Focus Modes.