Hi Chris, Although the images are a bit washed out because of the flat light (mid-day?), they are nicely in focus.
My main observation has to do with the subject matter. Why did you take the photos? What was the message you were trying to convey to the viewer about the dogs?
For me they would be good pictures to show to someone interested in buying the dogs. You show one holding a point, another also in action. But, I have seen a lot of black labs, so what makes this one special? To me it would be the expression, so how about a close-up with the head filling the frame? I want to see the look in the eyes, the head, the ears and any markings of interest.
The middle photo is a good one of the dog in action, but do I really need to see so much of the rear end?
Maybe next time you get your dog in point change the angle slightly so we can see more of what he is looking at. What did he see? Where is that bird hiding? Maybe you could have just backed the frame to a wider angle, so we could see more of the surroundings.
So, a softer lighting with more contrast would help bring out more detail on the dogs and a bit more color, but overall your photographic skills are good. Now, you need to think a little more about the art! What would make these dogs a lot more interesting?
I like them all. Not all pix need to tell a whole story. It's OK for the whole point to just be: "Here is my dog." You know, the kind of photo that ends up in a rotating computer wallpaper, or framed at one's desk at work to give a little levity to an otherwise dull day.
Now, as for CC, I don't like the second one, just because I can't see the dog's face.
The first one is great. Nice shallow DoF lets me focus on the dog, despite his busy surroundings. I also like that he is out in the field, enjoying himself, and not being persuaded to sit still so he can have a perfect background.
The third one is good too, but I think the triple collars distract a bit. For photos, you should consider paring it down to just a single collar. Looking back at the first pic, I see he is wearing at least two collars also, but somehow it is not as distracting in that photo.
Yes, it was mid-day right before lunch. I went with some guys that were running these dogs and they wanted pictures as the dogs were doing their thing.
I noticed that the one dog is really facing the wrong direction. With the direction of the sun and and guys trying to shoot, I thought I would stay put were I was. This picture is also wider, I cropped it thinking I would have more focus on the subject.
I also noticed that the white on the two (2) dogs pointing is blown out. Should I have shot in a higher shutter speed (to reduce light input)?, or should I have done something else to get the softer light you are referring to in Mid-Day sun? I do see that the images are "Harsh" in the lighting aspect.
I am just starting with this new hobby and have upgraded to a camera that does not have a full auto setting(working in program mode, but have been changing f-stops and WB, Auto ISO) . I am doing a lot of reading and am trying to apply, but I still have no idea what i am doing.
You are correct in that I need to tell a story, which still seems very foreign to me as I have just been working on mechanics.
You did get some nice shots of the dogs doing there thing, and I, too, like that the black dog is not looking at your camera.
As for the lighting, I think you did well for what was there. If you underexpose the whit dog , the white tends toward grey which would be off.
In editing you might try adding a bit of saturation or even add brightness then increase the blacks to retrieve contrast. Better yet would be to try afternoon lighting or even a cloudy mid-day to get more favorable lighting. Nevertheless, I think the owners would like your photos of their dogs. Good for you for taking advantage of the moment.
Jeremy - Thanks for the comments as well. Seems like all of the dogs had on three collars - A GPS tracking collar, an electronic collar and a leather collar with their contact info. Yes, the Lab had a little extra around the neck to cover up some of those collars so they were not as noticeable.
jwbryson - I am actually in Clear Lake - but the pics were from south around Eagle Lake. There was a lot of rain the week of the shoot and thats why some of the dogs are muddy.