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Urgent (well for me is it) - photographying a very black dog Sunday

Posted 27/02/2009 - 22:30 Link
I am 'helping' a friend out by photographying her very black dog on Sunday. She wants a few outside action shots then a portrait one inside - any tips? Lighting advice for inside would be good, maybe a bit of help with exposure too. Thanks in advance.
Everything is possible - just not today.
K7, K100d, 18-55mm kit, 50-200mm, Sigma 70-300mm, 50mm f1.4, 16-45mm f4.0, 50-135mm f2.8
Posted 27/02/2009 - 22:37 Link
1. Plenty of light.

2. The dog is black, so do not expose such that the dog turns out gray. You will probably need to set EV down a stop (similar to how you add a stop for snow to look white, you may need to under expose a bit for black to look right.)

Lots of people seem to recommend hot-lights for photographing animals indoors, but if you have flash use it. I have yet to see a dog freak out from flash... even a 1000watt hot light does not put out enough light to stop a moving animal from being a giant black blur!

Set flash to manual -- do not allow pre-flash as the animal will blink by the time the camera takes the photo, even if people might not.

If you can get some side or back light (hair light) it can help provide some definition.
Posted 27/02/2009 - 22:42 Link
This is such a fab answer, and I understood all of it (I'm a wee beginner) - I like the idea of some backlight and had thought about that, didn't know about the flash (thanks) I was going to play with the exposure - if the dog lets me!!
Everything is possible - just not today.
K7, K100d, 18-55mm kit, 50-200mm, Sigma 70-300mm, 50mm f1.4, 16-45mm f4.0, 50-135mm f2.8
Posted 27/02/2009 - 22:45 Link
Some negative EV compensation may be needed if the dog fills most of the frame or metering area. Just take a test shot and see what's required.

Indoors, personally, I would try an f2.8 or faster lens by a window with available daylight rather than using flash or other lights. You could get your friend to help with a reflector (any large white object) to throw back some extra light.
Posted 27/02/2009 - 23:04 Link
What sort of dog is it? f2.8 is great for light, but very difficult to get the DOF needed to keep a long nose in focus... if that is what you want. Out of focus nose may be acceptable. It is really a matter of taste.

If you have enough available light, that tends to look better. But if you have two or three good strobes, I prefer that to trying to fight a moving dog to pose for a reflector. You'll likely need the second and/or third person to distract/attract the dog's attention (unless the dog is very well trained).
Also, at a higher f-stop to keep everything in focus, you'll need all the extra light you can get. I find indoor lighting to be difficult when you cannot communicate with your subject with regards to exact positioning.

I have one dog that always poses and sits perfectly still for photos. A dream to work with even on my own. My other one, requires at least one other person to get her attention. Addition of reflectors would require another person, at least.

If you think you'll do this a lot, one of those all white vendor booth tents from the big-box stores are wonderful outdoors. They act like a giant white-box when the sunlight is very harsh and would otherwise be difficult to work with. For $100-150, they are worth it. (until the sun moves far enough around the corners... nothing is easy. )
Edited by amoringello: 27/02/2009 - 23:04

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