Dog portrait

Discussion in 'Critique Forum Archives' started by Willo, Jul 14, 2005.

  1. Willo

    Willo TPF Noob!

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    Hi all,

    I'm posting this picture in the hopes of getting some good honest feedback with which I can learn from and hopefully improve the picture. I welcome all feedback regardless of its positivity/negativity and I thank you in advance for taking the time to look and comment. :wink:

    [​IMG]

    The dog is called Skip and is a pure bred Cocker Spaniel (daft as a brush too).

    With this photo I have removed the background (sofa/hallway/staircase) and replaced it using the burn tool in Photoshop Elements. I think it suits the image of the dog but I'm not sure if it requires some sort of border?

    Thanks again for looking :)
     
  2. bogleric

    bogleric TPF Noob!

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    Technically there are some good feature to this shot. The burn tool created a simulated DOF that is suitable for the subject. While viewing this picture the focus of the viewer is drawn to the eyes of the dog which can be used to your advantage. There are a couple of things that hit me a little odd. For one, why is the dogs hair blue in the brighter areas??

    The composition creates quite a majestic look but in my opinion is lacking some emotion or overall power from the dog to capture the viewer and pull them in.

    This is a great attempt. Welcome to the forum, I look forward to seeing more from you.
     
  3. Willo

    Willo TPF Noob!

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    bogleric- Thanks for your reply :) Muchly appreciated.

    I think it may help if I post the original photo:
    [​IMG]

    Skip is facing away from a window in this shot and the throw on the sofa is blue which hasn't helped on the back of his head/ear. Skip is also jet black with a beautiful shiney coat and slightly greying ears so he reflects light/colour very well. There is also a patch on his chest that annoys me slightly as it's got a sepia type colour to it.

    I shall have to learn to use Photoshop efficiently to see if I could change the blues to be shades of black/grey and get rid of the brown patch too.

    Thanks for the welcome :)
     
  4. Tally Ho

    Tally Ho TPF Noob!

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    The window light is daylight and daylight is quite blue as is evidenced by the blue cast in this image. A silver reflector to camera right would have bounced some of the blue light back into his face lessening the exposure difference between the highlights and the shadows, then a color correction in PS could have removed it. The shot is quite good, but I don't care for the cropping. It would have been great had you gotten a little more of him in the image, then precisely cropped it later. A sharp catchlight in his eye would also help.


    Tally Ho
     
  5. bogleric

    bogleric TPF Noob!

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    Now it all makes sense. Thanks for sharing the origninal, that is quite helpful to examine the entire aspect of the photo.
     
  6. Mike Jordan

    Mike Jordan TPF Noob!

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    Welcome to the forum. A couple of things I noticed. Your camera metered on the light in the background rather than the dog. This is why he's under exposed and the stairs looks perfectly exposed. You didn't say what type of camera you used so I don't know what kind of adjustments you could make. But in a situation like this, if you meter up close so just the face is in the meter area and lock the exposure, you will get a better shot.

    With black fur or hair (some dogs have hair and some fur), it does not reflect light very well. This is why a lot of times with black dogs you get a big black blob, no matter how much light you throw at them. I know, I have a house full of big black hairy dogs. :D With the window light you almost had the solution to this... side light. If you skim light across them, it will cause more spectular highlights and give more detail. You can see the hair area on the side facing the window has more detail than the front. This isn't just because there is more light, it's because the light is hitting him across rather than straight on. Had you turned him around, you would have had some nice light on his face and nose, although his back would have had no detail in it.

    Just like with humans, you should keep in mind where you crop. You shouldn't crop off feet, tails, ears, etc. Here you cropped off his leg. A little less crop would have left the whole leg as well as give a bit more room in front of the nose. Also, I remove collars unless it's a safty factor, needed for control of the dog, or is an intragal part of the dog's persona (i.e. a big mean looking dog with a spike collar). You don't realize how much they can distract until you see the pictures. Especially bright tags that reflect light or brightly colored collars that stand out.

    It takes practice, so keep trying. It can really feel good when you start seeing the improvements as you learn how to use lights with dogs and black dogs in paticular. :D

    Mike
     

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