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Top Of The Best Shutter Dogs Reviewed In 2018

Last Updated March 1, 2019
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Adrian HoffmanHi! My name is Reginald Meyer. After putting in 50+ hours of research and testing, I made a list of the best Shutter Dogs of 2018 and explained their differences and advantages.

In this article, I will be categorizing the items according to their functions and most typical features. I hope that my Top 10 list will provide you great options in buying the right fit for you.



Feel free to explore the podium, click on the pictures to find out more.



How to save up to 86%? Here is little trick.

You must visit the page of sales. Here is the link. If you don’t care about which brand is better, then you can choose the Shutter Dogs by the price and buy from the one who will offer the greatest discount.



№1 – Pair of Large Textured Black Iron S Holdback Window Shutter Holders

Pair of Large Textured Black Iron S Holdback Window Shutter Holders
This holdback’s attractive design complements any pair of shutters and secures them in the open position
Hammered wrought iron with a beautiful glossy black finish
For use as a blind or shutter holdback


№2 – 7″ Shutter Dogs (set of 2) S-Hooks Holdbacks window Hardware

7″ Shutter Dogs (set of 2) S-Hooks Holdbacks window Hardware black


№3 – Pair Of Cast Iron Sun Flower Shutter Dogs – Post Mounted

Pair Of Cast Iron Sun Flower Shutter Dogs - Post Mounted
Heavy Cast-Iron For Durability
Authentic Colonial-Era Design
Enhances Historic Look and Feel



Do you struggle with finding the best shutter speeds when shooting unfamiliar subject matter? It can be difficult to know how to set up your camera to freeze movement, capture motion blur and other popular digital camera effects.

In the latest of our ongoing photography cheat sheet series, we’ve put together our list of what we believe are the best shutter speeds for every situation.

We spell out each shutter speed and what it is typically used for, and we also have provided a super-quick guide on how to adjust your shutter speed.


Originally, shutters were used to protect homes from the weather and intruders. Today, function is no longer a necessity thanks to glass window panes. But if you want that added protection, functional exterior shutters are a perfect way to add curb appeal and old-world functionality.

Shop Hinges »

Hold Backs: Keep the shutters open and can be twisted to allow the shutters to close. Installed directly to the building. Often referred as “tiebacks,” “dog hold backs,” and “shutter dogs.”

We Recommend: “S” Hold Back and Faux Hinges for the authentic look

Functional Hardware

1. Connect the hinges to the shutters: On a flat working space, place your shutters with the back facing up. (See 3rd figure on page for a visual)

Note: For paneled shutters, the simplest paneled side should be facing out when closed. For louvered shutters, have the opening at the bottom, so you have to look up to see through, when they are closed.

2. Fasten the slide bolt: Flip over the shutter so you’re looking at the front (what you’d see when they’re closed if you were inside)

Note: For slide bolts, be aware that if you have louvered shutters with no center panel, a slide bolt cannot be installed. Also if you have a double hung window, make sure to install the slide bolt just below center so you can close the lock from the inside of the window.

Shim into place: The best way to make sure your shutters and hardware are installed properly is to shim your shutters into place. To shim means putting a small wedge between two surfaces to create an equal space between them.

Note: Make sure the widest rail on the shutters, is on the bottom.

Installing the Pintels

Hang your shutters: Now that you have your hardware fastened to the shutters and pintles installed to the exterior, slide the hinges on the pintles.

Instal the hold backs: Connect the lag bolts, washers, and cotter pins of the hold backs and open your shutters all the way.

Connect with a local agent

Well-chosen and well-placed shutters can be a great finishing touch, but poorly-chosen and installed shutters can hurt a home’s appeal and value.

This Raleigh, NC home for sale features dark shutters that complement the brick exterior. “Away to the window I flew like a flash,

A little history

Window shutters in some form or another have been around as long as there have been openings in walls.

Early shutters were intended to cover an opening in the wall, protecting the interior of the house from the weather, animals and intruders — long before the invention of windows.

In the mid-1800s window glass came into wide use in America and changed the way shutters are used.  Shutters were no longer needed to protect the house; they were needed to protect the fragile and expensive glass.

But as window quality improved, protection from the elements became less important. And shutters — when they were used — became mostly decoration.

Shutters remain an important element of the composition of the exterior of homes today, even if they only serve as ornamentation.

Well-chosen and well-placed shutters can be a great finishing touch; many home designs just wouldn’t be complete without them.

But poorly-chosen and installed shutters can hurt a home’s appeal and value.

An authentic shutter dog

Authenticity also applies to shutter hardware and how shutters are attached.

Because they don’t need to be functional, shutters are often wrongly attached directly to a home’s siding or brick with screws. From a distance they might look OK, but up close — where details count — they look cheap and fake.

Shutters should always be hung with operable shutter hardware, even if they’re never going to be used. They’ll look much better that way, and here’s a bonus: They can be swung out of the way so you can paint or clean behind them.

Operable shutter hardware is widely available and consists of two parts. Shutter hinges allow the shutter to swing and come in a variety of sizes to allow the shutters to clear trim or masonry veneers.

Shutter dogs hold the shutter against the wall in the open position. They’re decorative, in designs appropriate for different architectural styles.

And a shuttered home with operable hardware looks much better than one without.

Paneled shutters

Real wood shutters can’t be beat for authenticity. But like any other part of the exterior of a home, shutters take a beating from the weather. Real wood shutters suffer the worst, and may require frequent repainting or even replacement.

Vinyl shutters are a decent alternative to wood and never need repainting, but choose vinyl shutters carefully; the quality of these units varies widely. Better quality vinyl shutters will hold their shape and color longer.

Composite shutters however, offer the best combination of authenticity and durability. Composite materials vary between companies, but they’re often a combination of engineered wood, PVC and fiberglass with a factory-applied finish.

My personal favorite? The “Architectural Collection” from Atlantic Premium Shutters.

Shutter colors

A typical home color scheme has two or three colors; shutters should be painted the accent color. Sometimes that means matching the color of the front door, sometimes the color of the windows, but always a different color than the siding or trim.

Clement Clarke Moore wrote the poem, “A Visit From St. Nicholas” in 182from his Manhattan Island mansion, Chelsea.

The exterior walls of American estate homes in the early 19th century were built mostly of brick, and were often very thick — as much as 1inches or so.

Such extraordinarily thick walls made it almost impossible to reach and open shutters mounted on the outside of the wall, so the shutters were sometimes mounted on the inside.

Wood framing became popular in the late 19th century Victorian era, with much thinner walls — and allowing shutters mounted outside to be easily reached from the inside.

Shutter Speed

For static pet portraits you only need to ensure the shutter speed is fast enough to handhold without risking camera shake.

If you have image stabilisation or a monopod this can be as low as 1/15sec. For action shots a faster speed will be required to freeze movement. Try 1/250sec as a starting point.

If the light level is not that bright you may need to increase your ISO to 400 or above to enable this.

Camera and Lens

You can use any camera, though a DSLR will give you more creative control over your pet photography.

While a telephoto lens is good for shots of your dog running in the park, a standard lens is ideal for documentary style pictures.

While a wideangle at close range can be a great way to inject a sense of humour to your portraits.


A tripod is a handicap for most pet photography as you need to be able to move and recompose quickly. However, a monopod will provide stability for your camera without impairing your capacity to react quickly to events.

Generally not a good idea when photographing pets. Direct flash is unflattering, and animals get redeye too. Even off-camera flash can bounce off shiny fur and look unpleasant.

Viewpoint and Composition

Just like when photographing children, the best pet photos are usually obtained when you get down to their level.

If your camera has live view you might find it easier to set the camera down low and view things on the screen from higher up. This is much easier if you have a tilting LCD screen.

On the other hand lots of great pet portraits have been taken from the most unusual of angles. This includes looking down on them from directly above (ideal for showing them isolated within a landscape) or even looking up from below (perfect for emphasising the height of a tall dog).

For maximum impact fill the frame with your subject. This either means going in quite close or using a telephoto lens.

An alternative to the frame-filling approach is to stand back and show the animal in their environment so that it becomes more of a documentary shot. A cat sunbathing in a tree, for example, will probably look better if you can see more of the tree.

Whether you go in close or show a wider view should depend on whether the environment adds to the picture, such as by helping to tell a story or show context, or detracts from the impact of the subject.

A plain patch of grass outside is perfect.

Make sure there is good light on your subject. Placing them near a window or doorway, if indoors, is better than using flash.

Outdoors, diffused shade will eliminate distracting shadows and keep the contrast down, making your exposure easier. Dappled sunlight can look good but take care with your metering.

Getting your subject to stay put and look at you rather than wandering over to investigate the distraction can be tricky. However, patience should pay off eventually.

Flash Tips for Speedlight Newbies

At its core, the camera flash is a simple piece of technology that’s deceptively hard to use well.

Read More. If you think that flashes are so fast that it doesn’t matter what shutter speed you use, then you’d be correct — for the most part. As it turns out, there’s one situation where flashes and shutters do not play well together.

That situation is when your shutter speed is too fast. Every modern camera has a “Flash Sync Speed” spec that states the fastest shutter speed you can have while using flash. For example, the Nikon D5500 has a flash sync speed of 1/200 second while the Nikon D5 has a flash sync speed of 1/250 second. Slightly faster.

What happens when you flash with a faster shutter speed? You get partially-black images like the one above. This is due to the way that shutters work.

A shutter is two curtains: a top curtain and a bottom curtain. When you snap a shot, the top curtain opens (which exposes the sensor), and then when the shutter speed duration is over, the bottom curtain closes after it.

But when the shutter speed is too fast, the bottom starts closing before the top is done closing, so the flash doesn’t hit the entire sensor. Here’s a great visual explanation of how it all works:

There are ways to use flash with higher shutter speeds, the most common solution being the “High Sync Speed” feature that you can find on mid-tier and upper-tier DSLRs. If your images are being blacked out and your camera doesn’t have HSS, then you’ll have to resort to a slower shutter speed.

How to Improve Your Photography

If you feel overwhelmed, don’t worry. Shutter speed can be confusing at first, but give it time and it’ll sink in. If you want to get better, we recommend some hands-on experience with one of these virtual DSLR tools

Steps To Learning The Basics Of Photography With A Virtual DSLR

Steps To Learning The Basics Of Photography With A Virtual DSLR

Rather than learning your photography from books and tutorials, this web application from Canon Canada is the most fun yet. Outside of Auto from Canon is a gentle introduction to the basics of photography.  where you can freely play around with shutter speed.

We’ve also given lots of newbie photography advice


Van Gogh has been serving your shutter and window covering needs since 198If you have shutters, you have made a great investment. The timeless beauty of shutters will never go out of style. However, in the time you own your home,  you will no doubt need to have your shutters repaired. Life happens. Kids pull on louvers and dogs chew. We have seen it all.

We know how hard it can be to find someone you trust to protect the value of your investment. You don’t want just anyone to take care of your shutter repairs. Shutter repairs not done properly may not last or worse, may do even more damage. You can trust us. We have the experience and the care to do the job right.

We will fix your shutters right the first time. We repair all wood, vinyl and poly-wood shutters. We are experts at Plantation Shutter Repair and all high end shutters. We stock most repair parts and can order all parts we don’t stock. We will repair your shutters in a timely and professional manner.

To put it simply, we’re a step above the competition.  When it comes to repairing shutters, we believe that no job is too small or too big, and we treat all of our customers equally. We’ll work with you to determine what type of home shutter repair is best for your scenario, providing estimates and suggestions to ensure that your home looks the best it can once the job is done.  We offer services not even available at the big box stores such as repairing, repainting, and retrofitting shutters as well as replacement parts.”

Here’s what you should keep in mind

With the above in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best pet doors for dogs at different categories, and see which ones may be the best fit for you. I encourage you to read other pet owners’ dog door reviews to get a better idea of how exactly the door works so as to avoid disappointment and having to return it.

Dom Naish

Dom Naish is a Phoenix-based writer, vegan, cupcake addict and dog lover. Years in the animal rescue trenches have taught him every aspect of dog ownership from behavioral problems, personality and breed specific trait differences of all dogs.

Canon PowerShot SX530 HS video demo

The SX530 kept all of my adorable subjects in focus as they pranced around.

At night, however, my clip of traffic on Manhattan streets was covered with pixel noise and was so dark that most buildings were completely lost in shadows. Individual cars and road markings were clear, though.

Autofocus and Speed

Capable of firing up to fps in burst mode (1.fps with autofocus for each shot), the SX530 is fast enough for most shooters. It offers face detection, TTL (through-the-lens) nine-point autofocus and manual focus. During my testing, the camera was quick to find and lock on to subjects, typically doing so within a fraction of a second.

Design and Handling

It looks like a miniature DSLR, thanks to its protruding lens and grip, but pick up the PowerShot SX530 HS, and you’ll be surprised by how light it is. The 15.6-ounce camera’s light, plastic body doesn’t feel as sturdy as it looks, but at least it won’t burden your shoulders.

The comfortable grip on the right side makes the camera easy to hold (for right-handers). Most of the camera’s controls — which consist of two dials, 1buttons and a zoom toggle — are on the right side, within easy reach.

On the top right of the SX530 is its Mode dial, which lets you select from Auto, Scene, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Program, Manual and even a Fish-Eye mode. In front of the Mode dial is a wheel that lets you control settings such as aperture and shutter speed. On top of the grip sits the zoom toggle and the shutter button.

Pentax K-S3

DSLRs from smaller manufacturers shouldn’t be overlooked. The Pentax K-Shas an excellent price, along with features that are hard to find on entry-level models, like weather-sealing and wi-fi.

Sensor: APS-C, with optical low pass filter -Speed: fps, 1/4000 maximum shutter speed

Want to learn how to use this camera? Good news, we have a fantastic Fast Start course for this specific camera model.

Focal length

Focal length is expressed in mm and a higher number means a bigger zoom, while a lower number mean the lens can be used for wider shots. As a rough reference, the human eye is said to see about the equivalent of 30-50 mm on a full frame camera (more on that later). A number lower than 30-50 mm will take in a bigger view than you naturally see, while higher numbers mean focus will be on a smaller aspect of your view.

If the lens has a focal length range with two numbers (say 24-80 mm) this means it’s a zoom lens and is capable of zooming and being used at any point across that range. However, if there is a single focal length number (50 mm for instance) it’s a prime lens, so taking in more or less of the view will require you to get closer or further away from your subject. Traditionally, primes have been considered to be optically superior to zooms, because trade-offs have to be made when producing zoom lenses. But that’s not to say that some zooms are not better than some prime lenses.

To make understanding focal length more difficult, the same focal length lens gives different views on cameras with various sensor sizes, because of the crop factor (the sensor only takes up part of the projected image). As a result, many manufactures give a 3mm-format equivalent on lenses designed for cameras with smaller sensors and in this article descriptions are based on on 3mm-format. Therefore, if your camera has a smaller sensor, and there’s a good chance it does, you’ll need to consider this when deciding which lens you need.

If you’re using a full frame camera there’s no calculation needed, a lens will give you the field of view you’d expect from its number. If your camera has an APS-C sensor (Nikon DX DSLRs, Sony NEX…) it has a crop factor of 1.- meaning you multiply the lens focal length by 1.to get its equivalent 3mm-format focal length. For Canon APS-C cameras that number is 1.6, for Micro Four Thirds cameras it’s 2.0 and for the Nikon series it’s 2.7.

That means a 3mm lens would give a field of view equivalent to 5mm on an APS-C camera like a Canon 70D and equivalent to 70 mm on a Micro Four Thirds camera like the Olympus OM-D E-MOn a Nikon it would act like a 9mm lens does on a full frame camera.

Lens Mount

It goes without saying that you want to buy a lens that will attach on your camera, and this is known as the lens mount. Camera manufacturers generally make lenses with proprietry mounts which will only fit their devices, sometimes having multiple lens mounts for different camera lines. The major exception to this is Micro Four Thirds lenses which can be used on respective Olympus and Panasonic cameras. Third party manufacturers also make lenses with mounts to fit various brands.

It’s important to know which mount your camera uses before heading out to buy a lens. Example lens mounts for DSLRs include the Nikon F-mount, Canon’s EF or EF-S, the Pentax K and Sony’s Alpha (A) mount. For mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras, these are things like the Canon EF-M, Fujifilm XF, Nikon 1, Sony E, Samsung NX and Pentax Q. As mentioned earlier, Olympus and Panasonic Micro Four Thirds cameras take any Micro Four Thirds mount lenses.

In addition to being able to mount the lens on your camera, you need to be sure it will produce an image big enough to cover the image sensor. Because different cameras use different size sensors, manufacturers produce specific lenses to work with them.

For example, while Nikon DSLRs come with full frame or APS-C sensors – and both take F-mount lenses – its DX lenses only produce an image big enough to cover the smaller of the two sensors. Meanwhile, FX lenses cover the full frame and can also be used on DX and even Nikon cameras (with an adapter). This is done because lenses designed for smaller sensors can be physically smaller and lighter themselves.

Ultra Wide

What they are: Ultra Wide angle lenses have a focal length of around less than 2mm (in 3mm-format), this means they can take in a wider scene than is typical, though they’re not only about getting all of a subject into a shot. Rectilinear ultra wides help keep straight lines, just that, while fisheyes will reproduce buildings with curved walls.

Image characteristics: Because of the wide field of view, shots with ultra wide angle lenses typically feature a large depth of field. Images tend to pull in subjects that are close, and push away more distant ones making them appear further apart. Perspective distortion of ultra wides can give falling-building-syndrome (where vertical lines converge) but this can be corrected in post-processing, or minimized with good technique.

What they are used for: While often seen as a specialist lens, ultra wide angles can be used in a number of ways. Typical uses include landscape, architecture and interior photography. Even the distortion can be used creatively, especially when using fisheye lenses.

Wide Angle

What they are: Typically covering a focal length between 2mm and 3mm, Wide Angle lenses are available as primes or zooms and come with either variable or fixed maximum aperture. Offering a wide field of view, they often also boast close minimum focusing distances.

Image characteristics: Wide angle photographs can magnify the perceived distance between subjects in the foreground and background. Wide angles suffer less distortion than their ultra wide counterparts, but you still get an exaggeration of lines and curves which can be used artistically.

What they are used for: Many people only reach for a wide angle lens when trying to get the whole of a subject in frame, whether that’s a building, a large group of people or a landscape. However, while those are perfectly good uses of one, they can also be used for interesting portraits where you want to place a subject in a situation. Just be careful not to distort faces unflatteringly by shooting too close.


What they are: Telephoto lenses are those with a focal length in excess of 70 mm, though many people would argue that “true” telephoto lenses are ones which exceed 13mm. They focus on a much narrower field of view than other lenses, which means they are good for focusing in on specific details or distant subjects. They are generally larger and heavier than equally specified wider lenses.

Image characteristics: Because they have a narrower angle of view, telephoto lenses bring far away subjects closer. They can also have the effect of compressing the sense of distance in a scene and making objects appear closer together. A narrow depth of field means that a subject can be in focus with a blurred background and foreground.

What they are used for: In addition to being used to photograph subjects you can’t (or don’t want to) get close to – like sports or wildlife – telephoto lenses can be used for shooting portraits and even landscapes where their normalization of relative size can be used to give a sense of scale.


What they are: Superzooms are do-it-all lenses which cover focal lengths from wide to telephoto. They can be good for uses in situations where you can’t or don’t want to be changing lenses and they normally change in length as you zoom.

Image characteristics: Because compromises have had to be made producing a do-it-all lens, superzooms do not have the same image quality of more dedicated lenses and often have slower and variable maximum apertures.

What they are used for: Offering a one-lens package, superzooms come into their own if you can’t (or don’t want to) change lenses. This could be when in situations where it wouldn’t be safe to switch lenses, or when travelling – you don’t necessarily want to be weighed down by five lenses when on holiday with the family.

What they are: One of the more specialist lenses, marco lenses are technically those which are capable of reproduction ratios greater than 1:However, the term is frequently used to refer to any lens which can be used for extreme close-up photography. Macro lenses typically have focal lengths somewhere between 40-200 mm.

Image characteristics: Macro lenses normally have excellent image sharpness, though it’s worth noting that when working at close distances they also have a tiny depth of field. You can often end up with a shot of an insect where only a fraction of it is in focus.

What they are used for: Though normally used for close-up photography (at which they excel), macro lenses can also be great for portraits thanks to their typical sharpness and focal lengths.

I want to do street photography

Street photography can be done with almost any lens, though a 300 mm F2.might raise a few eyebrows from your subjects. However, a focal range of around 35-50 mm is often seen as the ideal for capturing the moment in urban areas.

Unless you want all of your subjects looking directly at the camera, you’d probably be best served by something discrete. It’s also important that street photography lenses feature a fast maximum aperture for lower-light situations. This means that something like the Fuji XF 2mm f1.R Lens would be a great selection. The Sigma 3mm F1.DG HSM has also been very well received by many DSLR street shooters.

I struggle to photograph my kids running around in the garden

Many people shell out for a DSLR or mirrorless interchangeable lens camera when they have a child, but by the time that child starts running around, the kit lens struggles to keep up, both in terms of aperture and focal range. This is especially true if you’re trying to photograph the kids running around in the garden or on the sports field.

This means you need something with a bit more reach, but probably without the bulk and weight that a professional lens would bring. A zoom lens will allow you to keep your shots framed as you want while your subject moves around in front of you. So, if you feel you just need some added reach, the EF-S 55-250 mm f/4-5.IS II could get you closer to the action. But if you want a bit more speed (and to be the best equipped parent at the game), there’s the Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L USM.

I want to take landscape photographs

While the kit lenses which come with most cameras are surprisingly good at the wide angle end, you could find that they don’t quite go far enough for some of the landscape images you try to take. So, unless you’re able to keep moving backwards, you’re going to need a new lens.

Focal length is key here, and you’ll only get some landscapes if you’ve got an ultra wide angle lens. You could go for either a prime or a zoom, but most people in this situation are probably going to be best-served by a zoom. A lens like the AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-2mm f/3.5-4.5G ED could be good for APS-C Nikon shooters, while the Olympus 9-1mm f/4-5.ZUIKO would do the job on Micro Four Thirds cameras.

I want a lens which will make me improve as a photographer

After a while you might find that you’ve simply outgrown your kit lens. You suddenly find that it’s stifling your creative ambitions and preventing you from taking the photos that you want, even if they are within its focal length reach.

This is the ideal time to get yourself a fast prime lens, and the good news is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to do it. Getting something like a Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 3mm f/1.8G or the Sony E 50 mm f/1.OSS will mean you can play around with shallower depths of field, and shoot naturally in conditions that would have otherwise required a flash. Because they are primes, it also means you need to zoom with your feet, which will in turn probably mean you spend more time thinking about how you compose shots. Never a bad thing.

Capture the dog’s true character

Dog photography has changed a great deal over the past few years. Instead of action shots of dogs running or jumping agility fences, owners now tend to want stunning portraits of their dogs to hang proudly in their homes.

If it’s safer for the dog to remain on lead at all times, don’t worry, as the lead can always be edited out later in Photoshop.

Limited attention span

All dogs have a limited attention span when it comes to sitting still for portraits, so it’s important to capture portraits at the start of the session. Once the dogs have been running around chasing balls, they will be out of breath and panting with their tongues hanging out, which isn’t as photogenic.

Always make sure you are ready to shoot, as you never know when an opportunity will present itself. Dogs are always moving and it’s heartbreaking if you have the perfect shot lined up but your camera isn’t ready to go.

Using a wide aperture (in this case f/4) helps to soften an otherwise distracting background

As a rule, aperture priority is my preferred shooting mode – it gives me enough flexibility to be creative but allows me to respond quickly to changing light conditions and different colours of dogs. If you are shooting on aperture priority, however, do check regularly that your shutter speed hasn’t fallen too low – that way you will avoid blurry shots and the details will be super-sharp.

Photographing black dogs

There is a lot of mystery around photographing black dogs and many people seem to struggle with it. The key thing to remember here is that your camera generally sees the world as grey and will try to lighten the black slightly, so you need to use exposure compensation to darken the exposure and return the colour to black. I always recommend checking your histogram regularly to make sure that you have not gone too far over. One thing to be aware of is that if the dog is in shadow this will increase the shadow area which is not necessarily a good thing, so try and choose an area with as even light as possible.

Get down low

One of the biggest tips I give to people on my courses is to get down to dog level. This is why I spend most of my time lying down in fields. For the most powerful images, make sure your lens is at the dog’s eye-level the majority of the time – it makes a huge difference.

Use natural light

I rarely use flash as I feel it can be unsettling for dogs and I prefer the look of natural light. If you do need to use flash, use it sparingly and fire some test flashes first to settle the dog. Check the dog doesn’t have any health issues that will be made worse by flashing light.

Make the sessions fun

Fun is the key word with dogs, so keep the session moving. You want them to see it as a game rather than a chore. This will mean you will capture their ears up, resulting in happy photos. Not only this, but the dog’s attention span will be extended, making your life easier.

Back button focus

Use a camera with back button focus. It will improve your hit rate and reduce the number of shots you take, saving you editing time later. It also means you are not so reliant on the frame rate of your camera and thinking more about timing, which is a good discipline.


I want a camera that takes better pics than my smartphone

This sensor/lens combination means you can get cleaner, crisper, and more detailed photos of nighttime scenes and freeze the action of kids and pets indoors. You can also shoot portraits with a blurry background, which will make your subject stand out. You can shoot in full auto mode, but should you decide to start experimenting with manual controls, these cameras are designed to let you quickly change basic settings without diving into the camera menu. And you’ll also get better battery life from a point-and-shoot: a full day of shooting, significantly more than any phone can offer without tethering it to a USB battery pack.

I’m tired of lugging around my DSLR

A mirrorless camera packs the image quality of a DSLR in a much smaller package. Photo: Amadou Diallo

The days of having to buy a big DSLR to get professional-looking pictures are long gone. The picks in our mid-range mirrorless camera guide can deliver DSLR-quality results in a much smaller, lighter, and less bulky package. That means images will be a high enough quality for large wall prints, or to crop and enlarge aggressively; and you’ll have more leeway when editing while still keeping usable results. Mirrorless cameras achieve their significant size advantage by ditching an optical viewfinder in favor of an electronic one. Most mirrorless cameras use an APS-C sensor—the same size found in entry-level to mid-range DSLRs—so you don’t have to sacrifice image quality for portability. And you still get plenty of physical dials and buttons for quick access to shooting and camera controls without having to go scrolling through page after page of menus, plus fast autofocus and responsiveness so you don’t miss the perfect moment.

Camera companies have been steadily building out impressive lens arsenals for mirrorless cameras to ensure there’s a lens best suited for your shooting needs. If you want the smallest kit possible, consider a Micro Four Thirds camera from Olympus or Panasonic. These use slightly smaller sensors, but that means dramatically smaller and more compact lenses. You can easily pack a bag with a Micro Four Thirds camera and three lenses that will be lighter than a DSLR with a single lens.

If you still want excellent photos and plenty of control, but need something that will fit in a coat pocket or purse, a high-end point-and-shoot camera is still miles beyond what a smartphone is capable of, and retains all of the manual control and fine-grained settings of a DSLR or mirrorless camera, though it won’t be able to take photos on a par with those larger options.

I want to get my kid their first camera

A tough camera will survive whatever your kid can throw at it. Photo: Brent Rose Photo: Brent Rose

For younger children, particularly those under 10, getting them a camera depends a lot on the particular child. How long do you think her interest will last? And what are the chances he’ll break the thing? If you’re worried about any of these things, it might make more sense to use an old compact camera you have floating around the house, or to grab a cheap junker from Craigslist or Goodwill.

I want to shoot sports like a pro

DSLRs may be bulkier and heavier than their mirrorless competitors, but there are reasons that most pros still swear by them. Chief among them is an extremely sophisticated autofocus (AF) system that can successfully track fast-moving subjects as they move across the frame—which means more in-focus shots you can keep. The top picks in our mid-range DSLR guide rely on eerily accurate autofocus algorithms to lock onto a moving subject and make predictive adjustments to give you many more focus hits than misses. Some DSLRs offer the option to fill virtually the entire frame with AF points so your subject is never out of range.

While many mirrorless cameras struggle to maintain a live preview through their electronic viewfinders when shooting at fast burst rates, DSLRs will always show you the action in real time because they use (with rare exceptions) optical viewfinders. And if you think nothing of going out and shooting 300-plus images during a single event, you’ll appreciate the much greater battery life of DSLRs, which can capture more than 1,000 shots per charge while most mirrorless cameras, which have to power both a screen and EVF, manage fewer than 400.

I want pro-level features in a camera that can take a beating

These are cameras for advanced photographers who demand, and are willing to pay for, class-leading performance. Getting the most out of them requires spending some quality time with the user manual. And they require a financial commitment beyond the initial price tag. Great lenses can cost as much or more than the camera itself, and once you start investing in a company’s lenses, switching brands later on can be prohibitively expensive. So you’ll want to take a careful read of our recommendations. But should you pony up for one of these, you likely won’t need to buy another camera for several years.

I want to shoot underwater

If you’re frustrated by the limitations of your waterproof point-and-shoot camera and want to take dramatic images like you see in dive magazines, we’ve put together a detailed guide to underwater photography. Learn how to outfit your regular camera for deep-depth scuba diving. Find out why lighting is such an important part of your kit and which lights give you the most bang for your buck. Underwater photography is not an inexpensive hobby, but our guide will make sure you get started with the right equipment for the job.

Pet Photography

If you’re a budding photographer, there’s a good chance that your pets and those of your friends and family have become a source of inspiration and the subjects of countless experimental photo shoots.

But since animals are notoriously unpredictable and can’t be directed in the same way human models can, getting great snapshots of your loyal companions is often easier said than done. So we talked to professional pet photographer Jasper Stenger to get his tips on moving past the stereotypical dog or cat pictures and getting photos you really love.

Be patient

An important quality you’ll need to develop when photographing cats or dogs is patience, because like children, animals tend to have short attention spans and are easily distracted. “I often see people getting impatient when photographing their pets,” says Stenger. “But shouting commands or forcibly trying to move an animal into place will only stress it out and ruin any chance you had of getting good photos.”

With this in mind, he emphasises the importance of familiarising the cat or dog with the camera and environment you’ll be shooting in beforehand. “Give the animal all the time they need to walk around and get used to where they are, and get them acquainted with the camera before you start shooting,” he says. “If you’re using flash, try a few test flashes beforehand to get them used to that too.”

Put the animal at ease

Whether you want your dog to jump through a hoop or dress your cat in an adorable little suit and tie, keep in mind that unless the animal is comfortable, your photos aren’t going to be very flattering. “I tend to avoid props and go as natural as possible to get the dog looking comfortable and relaxed,” says Stenger. “If you try to force anything, the animal is going to feel stressed and look stressed on the photo. If you have any ideas for props, by all means try them out, but if the animal isn’t comfortable with it, consider moving on to something else.”

Other tricks that can help animals relax include shooting outdoors, which is generally a more natural environment for them, and lightly exercising dogs beforehand so they’re not too nervous, but still have plenty of energy.

Get the animal’s attention

A few shots of your dog or cat staring off into the distance can be nice, but having your pet’s full attention will make for a more striking photograph. Once the animal is relaxed and comfortable, treats or toys can be a great way to capture its attention. “I usually have my photography assistant nearby to get the animal into position with treats or toys,” explains Stenger. He also notes that having someone, such as the pet’s owner or other familiar person, stand behind you as you take the pictures can help attract the dog’s attention and encourage it to look straight into the camera.  “It’s really about being flexible and seeing what works with each different animal,” he adds. “One thing that works well with dogs who are scared of the camera is to just start handing out treats whenever they’re near the camera so they realise it’s not a threat.”

Pay attention to the background 

Newer photographers often fail to pay sufficient attention to their surroundings and focus only on the thing they’re trying to photograph, but this can be a big mistake. “It’s extremely important to pay attention to your background, especially if you’re indoors,” says Stenger. “If you’re not shooting with a plain white or black studio background you always need to check and make sure there is nothing like shoes or mess that will detract from the photo.” 

Choose the right camera settings

While the camera settings you choose will depend on the situation and type of photo you’re trying to create, when you’re going for action shots or photographing animals that are moving around a lot, a high shutter speed is important.

If you’re not comfortable shooting in manual mode, shutter priority mode (TV or S) will you allow you to try out different shutter speeds without having to adjust the aperture each time. “Some modern cameras have an auto ISO feature too,” says Stenger.  “This allows you to shoot in shutter priority and if the aperture goes too low for the lens you’ve got, the ISO will automatically increase, giving you one less thing to worry about.”

Choose your equipment wisely

While it’s possible to get great photos of your dog or cat with just about any lens, some may be more suitable than others. So what lenses are the pros using? “I switch between a few lenses, but my favourite is an mm fisheye, which I use to get in extremely close to the animals,” says Stenger. “It produces really goofy-looking and fun pictures, but it’s not recommended if you are working with animals that are afraid of the camera, as you do need to get within 20 to 2cm of their head.” “Both Canon and Nikon also make an excellent 50mm f/1.which can give you a nice out of focus background at wider apertures and are relatively cheap, but even the kit lens that often ships with new cameras (18-55mm) is a good place to start,” he says.

Develop some basic post processing skills “Post processing is almost as important as the photo shoot itself,” says Stenger. “For instance, sometimes if a dog is a bit nervous or keeps running off, I’ll have my assistant stand next to the dog and hold it on a leash. Both the leash and the person can later be edited out in Photoshop.” “To do this, I keep the camera in position after taking a photo and have the assistant and dog leave the frame. Then I take another picture with the same settings. This makes it easy to copy the background over the assistant or any other unwanted distractions later on.”

If you can, of course, it’s always better to get everything right in camera, as this will save you a lot of work later on. “If a photo doesn’t need a huge amount of processing, I usually do things like adjusting the contrast or sharpening in Lightroom,” he says. “But for any actual processing like removing branches from places they shouldn’t be or moving leashes, I use Photoshop.”





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Final Word

First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.

Most important, have fun and choose your Shutter Dogs wisely! Good luck!

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