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Old 11-19-2012, 01:10 PM
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I agree with what Rik posted.
The grey card can be a big help with exposure as well as setting white balance in post.

To get a perfect exposure on a dark dog and a light dog can be difficult. The camera's meter tries to balance it out. You will likely need to compromise some and clean up in post (dodge here, burn there kinda thing).

When I go to Hunt Tests and/or WC WCX events, and it's sunny, I almost always underexpose Goldens a tad. I do this to not blow out the highlights too much of the lighter fur. When I shoot the darker dog, like black labs, I will overexpose a tad. Generally.

We have the same problems shooting field sport, like football and soccer. In these types of sports, one team generally has light jerseys and the other dark jerseys. The meter and/or digital sensor doesn't have the dynamic range to get it all right, so you either expose for one, compromise, or what I do, try to expose for the highlights. I try to limit blown highlights. Sometimes called "blinkies" if your camera's LCD shows 'Highlights'. You can't recover blown highlights in post, but you can pull back some details in shadows or underexposed areas. This is why I tend to underexpose, slightly, light colored dogs like light Goldens.

A lot depends on the camera and software you are using too.

Two tips I would like to offer are:
#1. Get down on the dogs level! Don't shoot down at them. Everybody whether using a $6000 D4, or a $200 point and shoot, or a cell phone will benefit from that tip

#2. Do it when the dog(s) are tired. Do it after having exercised them. Not when they are excited to eat or play.

One more...
#3. Takes lots of shots. Pick the best one(s).

Wait, just one more...
#4. Again, I don't know what camera or lenses you have available, but if you can, try using a fast lens. Something like F2.8, 1.8, or so. Shoot at a wide aperture. This will help blur the background (shallower depth of field). I like to use my 300 2.8 when shooting dogs - I love what it does to the background. The longer lens also help by getting you away from the dogs and then you might not be the focus of their attention. You can then have somebody pose/handle the dogs.

Good luck.
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  #12 (permalink)  
Old 11-26-2012, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Otter View Post
Wait, just one more...
#4. Again, I don't know what camera or lenses you have available, but if you can, try using a fast lens. Something like F2.8, 1.8, or so. Shoot at a wide aperture. This will help blur the background (shallower depth of field). I like to use my 300 2.8 when shooting dogs - I love what it does to the background. The longer lens also help by getting you away from the dogs and then you might not be the focus of their attention. You can then have somebody pose/handle the dogs.

Good luck.
(It is not what Joe says) but many people think that a longer lens gives a more blurry background. A common misconception. Read here and here
The lens compression is maybe a little bit confusing

But back to the main question; the light and dark dog. (dynamic range)
Read Ken Rockwell. A good tip from this article; use a flash.

In this picture I used a flash. (of course spot metering) Wedding photography; Dark suites and light dresses. I controlled four spots in photoshop and in every spot there was color information (between 0-and 254)

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Last edited by rik; 11-26-2012 at 02:39 PM.
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  #13 (permalink)  
Old 11-27-2012, 03:58 AM
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Looks like everything has been more or less covered... spot metering, and exposure compensation for either the dark or the light dog... If you spot meter the dark dog, set your exposure compensation to -1 to -1 2/3 EV if you're spot metering the lighter dog set your exposure compensation to +1 to +1 2/3...

If not, shoot RAW and use Lightroom 4 lol, or Adobe RAW converter... the adjustment brush is awesome (lets you paint smaller portions of your photo and adjust exposure in that one spot)...

But getting it right in camera makes things a lot easier in the end...
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Old 01-20-2013, 01:31 AM
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My best suggestion is never ever be without your camera when you are with your dogs or taking them out. My dogs see me putting on my boots and picking up my camera and they know we are going out. I take pictures of everything they do and typically shoot almost every imagine with a speedlight to eliminate the shadows, my go to configuration is shooting aperature priority F10, auto iso, I use a long lense outside so I can zoom in and I lock
in the speed to never drop below 200 and then I let the camera figure out the rest. I go back and forth between spot metering and central focus and try to use a single spot focus, which I always focus right between their eyes. WB drives me insane at times, I use a custom setting in the snow but prefer more of a golden look which I get from the cloudy setting. Lighting is absoletely everything in photography, I love the golden light, right after sunrise and as the sun is sinking in the sky. I try to get down as low as possible to shoot from the dogs point of view. I bought a fast prime lense for myself for Christmas so I can virtually sit right in front of my dogs and shoot with no flash at aperature 1.8 and get a great blur and only a tiny field of focus.

I have not photograped a black dog extrensively but have photographed white swans, which offer the same challenge in losing detail, this is where that golden light worked to my advantage. The swan family I followed was so familiar with me they would come swimming over when I whistled. They loved the whole wheat bread I would bring them also.

Good Luck.
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:29 AM
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1) Pay attention to composition until it becomes second natures. Ideas like the rule of thirds( not centering the main focus of the photo in the middle of the photo, but in a third of the frame) are not laws, but it is nice to internalizes the "rules" so when you break them, it is for a reason.

2) Do not stand and shoot down on the dog. If you lay on your stomach or if you get the dog to hop up on a snowbank, hill or stone wall, it ennobles the photo .

3) use "photographer's light" in earliest morning and before twilight. It is sometimes called "blessing light". The best photos involve getting up super early.

I do not use photoshop on principle, so I can't say anything about that. It may eliminate the need to early rising! Not sure.
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Old 08-21-2013, 07:18 AM
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We had a black lab & siberian husky a few years ago.
I also struggled with exposures.
I found getting them in the shade & setting camera white balance to cloudy worked the best.
This brought out the detail in the lab, without blowing out the whites on the husky.

Mike D
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Old 08-27-2013, 01:28 PM
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Light & dark dogs (Cloudy White Balance)

Here's my wife with Romeo (husky) & Emma (lab) taken in spring 2007 (both over Rainbow Bridge now)
Shot taken in out kitchen , overcast day, no flash, WB set on cloudy.
Detail on both dogs is pretty good.

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Old 08-31-2013, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mddolson View Post
no flash,
Detail on both dogs is pretty good.

Mike D
The details on both dogs are very good but you did use a flash. Like I wrote in #12 a fill flash is a very good instrument as you can see We only have to find a solution about the eyes.

exif of this photo:

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Old 09-01-2013, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rik View Post
The details on both dogs are very good but you did use a flash. Like I wrote in #12 a fill flash is a very good instrument as you can see We only have to find a solution about the eyes.

exif of this photo:

Oops My mistake,

Thanks for checking the exif data, That was taken about 5-6 years ago & I had forgotten I'd used the flash. & if I'd looked closer I'd have seen the flash in their eyes too.
I grabbed wrong photo. I'm still looking for the right one. & I'm sure it was taken out doors with my Sony DSLR, I remember playing with the white balance.

Mike D.

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Old 10-02-2013, 01:54 PM
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Shooting differing whiteness requires you compensate with light at the source or in edit. A small reflector or external fill flash will do that for you. External flashes made by Younguo are cheap on eBay and are actually quite decent. It takes some practise, but meter for the lighter dog (use spot metering and exposure lock) and with either the reflector pointing at the darker ddog or fill flash rotated towards or used off camera with slave or radio trigger at the darker dog. Now that may seem like a lot of doing, but in time it becomes second nature. The other thing you can do is use evaluative metering and use a mask in photoshop to compensate for whichever dog needs the adjustment. With CS6 this isn't much work and can be done in the ACR now. Add an unsharp mask when you are done and play with the levels mask a bit to give an overall balance.
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