German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 20 of 57 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
509 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
As promised, a thread about Dog Photography Tips and Tricks :) I’m not professional photographer but I have some tips and “tricks” I would like to share with you. I’ll separate them in several posts over time. Of course, it would be great that everyone write their tips and tricks so we could all learn how to make better photos of our furry friends, and sorry in advance if there are any spelling errors etc... English is not my first language

This is mostly for those whose cameras have RAW option, but not exclusively. The beauty of shooting RAW is in non destructive editing (to a degree), but some tips could be useful in general. I assume that you have basic knowledge about photography, by that I mean 3 basic elements Aperture, Shutter speed and ISO sensitivity. If not, here is useful link about that

First, get down :) don't shoot from our perspective unless you are doing some specific creative shoot. Avoid cropping tip of the ears (especially hard for us GSD owners :D ) tongues, feet… if you are not sure about composition use some common composition rules, when you learn them, you will know how to break them.

example of bad and good perspective:



example of creative shoot:



Choose a nice spot, without much distractions. You want to isolate the subject, not necessarily with shallow depth of field but background should not be distracting (unless it’s essential for telling a story).

example of distracting background and how you could edit even that kind of photo to get nice results (I'll explain editing process in next post):



example of isolation with shallow depth of field:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
509 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Avoid shooting during high sun, it will create harsh highlights and shadows especially if you have black or white dogs.. Most of my photos that I like are created near sunrise or sundown and overcast. If you decide to shoot in high sun (or you don't have a choice) see that you turn your back to the sun so the dog will be evenly lit, or put your dog in shade and face him/her to the sun. You can shoot against sun for some creative effects but that can get very tricky to execute right (especially with black dogs).

example of bad positioning, resulting with harsh highlights and shadows. It can be edited to look acceptable but it's best to avoid such situation if you can.



example of shooting against the sun:



another example used to achieve nice translucent feel of the grass:



there are other situations when you could use that technique, but I'll write about that some other time.

It’s always best to keep ISO levels low, but if you need more light (ie. faster shutter speed) don't be afraid to push ISO over 1600 if you have decent DSLR. If you don’t have, avoid using ISO over 800 if you can.

example of noise levels on low end, mid range and high end camera.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
509 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
If you are shooting portrait you could use lower shutter speed but for action shots I usually want at least 1/1200 - 1/2000

example of dog portrait with low shutter and action photo with low shutter settings.



Use right exposure. If I shoot action and dog is moving from light to shadow I usually set fixed aperture, faster shutter speed (about 1/1600 or more) and auto ISO. Be careful with autoiso option on low-end cameras, if you have option to limit upper value, use it. If dogs are posing I usually have time to manually set all the parameters for best results. Be careful with action shots and large aperture (low numbers eg. f1.8) depth of field is very shallow and subject can easily fall out of focus.

example of bad exposure and editing (note* it is not the same photo, I lost original, but it is successive one so the exposure is same):



example of action shoot with 85mm f2.0 and missed focus because of shallow depth of field and inability of camera to refocus fast enough on erratic moving subject. If I used ie. 200-300mm and f5.6 her head would probably be in focus even though camera missed because of larger depth of field.



Next step, editing photos. You could use Lightroom, Adobe Camera RAW editor or any other tool that you feel comfortable working with. I use Adobe Camera RAW editor and Photoshop CC. Most editing process can be done in RAW editor but for more complicated editing you have to use something like Photoshop. I’ll cover editing in the next part.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
509 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I'm glad it's understandable!

Part 2, editing :)

Don’t overlook photos with dull light, even those can be transformed to expressive ones with right amount of editing.



My first step in editing is setting the overall light. There are few parameters to set: Color temperature, Exposure, Levels (by levels I mean few parameters I’ll explain later). You can set them on whole image or paint settings on certain places of photo.

Color temperature will greatly influence the feel of the photo, so that is usually first thing I edit. If you need correct color temperature photo, find something white or gray in that photo (something you know it’s really white or gray) and select it with white balance picker tool and you will have right color temperature. But that’s not necessary if you want to change the feel of the photo eg. you took a shot in the early morning or at the dusk and it’s all bluish, cold. You can go into greater Kelvin values (greater in RAW editor, not really greater) to get more yellowish-gold overall color to achieve warmer feel and basically create sundown. You can paint color temperature corrections on certain parts of the image if you feel they are not working on the whole image, or you want certain parts to be warmer-colder.

Exposure and Levels are second thing to correct. There are no set rules for that, but one thing to keep in mind is avoiding clipping blacks and whites unless you are doing some type of creative editing. There are few parameters to set: Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites, Blacks and Tone curves. You can edit these parameters on whole image or use adjustment brush to edit certain parts of image. Exposure correction is needed if your original photo is under or overexposed. If you shoot high contrast photos eg. black and white dogs together, black dogs on light background etc you will usually have to correct exposure on either white or black dog, depending which part of photo was used to measure light by camera sensor, you may need to use adjustment brush to paint corrections. Depending on situation and camera-lens combo you may need to use override exposure to slightly overexpose or underexpose while shooting.

example of light setting (sorry for the 720p my recorder wasn't properly set):

 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,369 Posts
LOVE! See my issue is here in southern California the light is almost always harsh even early in the morning, we don't have a lot of tree cover to get out of it so makes photographing my dark dogs extremely frustrating!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
509 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
My next step is noise reduction, sharpening, lens corrections. There are in camera corrections but if you shoot RAW you should adjust that in photo editor. I’m usually doing initial color noise reduction in RAW editor and again on final or near final edit using photoshop Topaz denoise plugin for fine tuning. You could do everything in RAW editor but result are not as good. Sharpening is something I do last, before saving. I use Photoshop smart sharpen filter.

*note, I don't always denoise in the end, sometimes I do it in the middle of the process if it is to distracting

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,157 Posts
This is great.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
509 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Chromatic aberration (or color fringing): without getting into much detail about physics of chromatic aberration, let's say it is inability of lens to bring all wavelengths of color to the same focal point/plain. There are two types, longitudinal and lateral, and they can be present at the same time.

Lateral CA is most prominent in high contrast areas toward corners of the frame. Every lens has it to some degree, and while it is most noticeable in high quality lenses, It’s commonly present in low quality lenses, and fisheye/wide angle lenses (even high quality).

Example of my 70-200 f4 IS. It has about 6 µm Ca. There is no visible CA in the center, only at the corner of the image, and that is visible only at 100% crop.



Example of three high quality lenses and Lateral CA measurements (by DxOmark.com) :







Longitudinal CA (bokeh fringing) is most visible in out of focus areas. It can be reduced by stopping down the lens. E.g. I use 85mm f1.8 prime lens and it is prone to longitudinal CA in wide apertures, but stopping down even to f2-f2.8 will reduce CA to barely visible. This type of CA sometimes result in creative light on your photos but usually you would like to remove it, at least from the subject.

I’ll show you how to remove CA in editing. Auto CA removal can be destructive because it looks for certain hues and desaturate it. So in the first part of video you will see how that impacts colors of her tongue and in the second part you will see how I usually override that , by masking that part to use original unedited colors.
Carriesue, I know you are using 85mm f1.8 Canon, so this could be especially useful to you.


*note: I could use option box Remove Chromatic Aberration, but it is usually not enough.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
509 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Tip for overcoming a “problem” of shallow depth of field.

If I want to take a photo of two dogs that are in different planes relative to camera ( e.g. one behind another ) with wide aperture on relatively small distance I’ll run into the problem. Because of shallow depth of field one of the dogs will be out of focus. To illustrate that, let's say I’ve photographed subject with FF camera, 85mm 1.8 lens on f1.8, and distance to first dog is 2m (6.5 feet), second dog is 30cm (12”) behind. If I focus on the eye of first dog, only 3cm in front and 3cm behind the focus point will have acceptable sharpness, so there is no chance that second dog will be in focus.

*Calculation is based on Online Depth of Field Calculator



So how can we overcome that problem?
  1. we can use smaller apertures e.g. f5.6 and greater distance from subject e.g. 5m instead of 2m, and that will give you around 1.17m of DoF, which is enough for both dogs to be in focus, but we’ll lose nice blurry background.
  • we could take two photos, first focused on dog1 second on dog2 and connect them later in photo editing software.
Here is the example of editing:

Note* it can get a bit tricky and noticeable, depending on the background and distance between subjects, so it’s not perfect solution.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
283 Posts
Black Kali-

I have a Flickr of ALL of my photos of my mostly black (tan) german shepherd as well as my friend's husky. Any suggestions as to my photo taking?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

there is the link if you want to flip through a few :)

I love taking the photos!
I am from massachusetts so we get winter and summer photos
-I currently have a canon t3i
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
509 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
jaudlee, I've looked first 4-5 pages of you Flickr stream. Beautiful dogs and scenery. I have some suggestions but bare in mind that I'm not professional photographer so take my advice with a grain of salt.

1. I would suggest that you use dedicated hard drive for your photos, not the Flickr account. Take as many photos as you like but choose few that you like most and upload them. I usually take between 150-500 photos per session but I only choose few (5-30) that I like most, and the rest is either deleted or saved in some folder. As my photography skills progress, I take less and lees photos per session, because I already know some shoots will not look ok.

2. Go to the first page of this thread and take another look on post about perspective and busy background. You have some nice creative shoots on your stream but there is bunch of snapshots from high angle.



3. Do you shoot RAW or JPEG? You should shoot RAW and edit your photos, it seams to me that you upload them directly form camera? Go to the first page and take a look to the video setting the overall light.

4. Think about your photos before you take them. Think what would you like to shoot, portrait, action etc... if you want portrait, think about that from which angle does you dog look best? :) what would be the background? something not to distracting, remember, you want all the attention on your beautiful dog. If you want to show us lake where your dog is playing with his buddy, find the best spot from which you will show us all the beauty of that place, choose a nice lit spot and call the dogs to play there so you could take action shoots of them in nice scenery.

This two photos are created on the same spot but from different angle of view. As you can see, first time I choose a nice spot and you can't tell that a dog is actually in urban area surrounded by buildings.



Another suggestion, buy additional lenses. There are some nice cheep lenses e.g Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM and 50mm f1.8, it could make huge difference in your photography.

If you have any additional questions feel free to ask.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
509 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
jaudlee, I've looked to your Flickr stream again, but this time from 45th page instead 1st :) I can see you have some great photos there and with little editing they would be phenomenal. Again, great scenery, I'm jealous :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
283 Posts
wow I appreciate you taking the time to look!

The reason I use flickr is because I share the account with my friend (owns the husky) for our dog's instagrams haha it is just an easy share/upload spot mutually beneficial.

-I shoot in JPEG because of the file size and when I shoot I take hundreds at a time. I do not have a good photo editing program anymore as my Macbook got wiped clean when it crashed :( otherwise I would be in RAW format.

-Still a beginner here for sure, but im learning slowly!! I really appreciate your time and tips :D Im going to be learning a bit more on the lenses that I have now and then will look into those that you suggested!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
283 Posts
Yeah we share the account and have two totally different cameras, most of the pictures of the shepherd I tend to take but we also take pictures of each other's dogs. I love this thread I hope more people give some input. I took a bunch of photos messing with the manual settings yesterday I will be uploading in a few hours!
-Some wonderful scenery around where I live. It is my favorite hobby (going to different parks) and shooting photos so if I can improve upon this I would be ecstatic!

I will continue to follow along

If you want to check out the instagrams of our dogs they are
-German shepherd is @roorootheasshole
-Husky is @gabbysibe

If you do check them out make sure to comment so I know who you are!
 
1 - 20 of 57 Posts
Top