Editing questions


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Jan 18, 2016
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i came across this amazing photographer Boston Dog Photographer | Dog Breath Photography | Boston Pet Photographer and was wondering how she gets such gorgeous light and colours? I don't shoot pets, just landscapes. I saw a behind the scenes photo of her shooting a dog and it was just her, the camera and the dog. No extra lighting. Her photos are just incredible.
Off camera flash.


Great photos.
She seems to favor round flash modifiers, as can be seen reflected in the eyes of the dogs.
Then you didn't watch the right video! ;) Almost everyone of those used some sort of round modifier (umbrella, brolly-box, what-have-you) as Derrel has mentioned. The rest seem to use a bare-tube flash. A couple seem like they could be ambient-light only images, but the vast majority have a strobe, and it's used very, very well!
If you would like to try her method, do some searches on the string "overpowering ambient light with flash", and then read up a bit on the methodology that underpins the technique, and maybe watch some videos on it. It is a visually compelling way to show off subjects!

The thing with overpowering ambient light with flash is that it allows the scene to be shown, to set a location, to set a mood, to show context, but the foreground is lighted by diffused electronic flash, which gives stop-motion capability, so she can show a dog splashing in water, or leaping in the air, and get a nice, crisp Freeze!, and she also gets nice, big, bright catchlights in the eyes of the dogs, which focuses attention on their face/eye areas. Most dogs will have very,very dark, almost colorless eyeballs, so the catchlights really are very helpful!

The background brightness is easily made fairly dim, especially if the shots are done early or late in the day, or even after the sun has gone down. The brightness of the background is controlled by the shutter speed, ISO and f/stop. The FLASH-lighted parts of the scene are only the close-range things. THe flash falls off in intensity very rapidly. Overpowering ambient light with flash has become a somewhat popular technique over the last few years, in large part because of the development of small, high-capacity, powerful portable sine wave inverter/battery units, which can provide power to studio-type flash units that need 110 volt A.C. current to run. Paul C. Buff's Vagabond series, and the Innovatronix brand's Explorer series of inverter/battery units are the most popular brands.

overpowering ambient light with flash - Google Search
Also note that many of her images are made using an ultra-wide-angle lens which contributes greatly to the unique look.
tirediron said:
Also note that many of her images are made using an ultra-wide-angle lens which contributes greatly to the unique look.

YES! You bring up an excellent point! The ultra-wide or wide lens gives a good breadth of the location behind, but it makes 1) the dog look BIG and 2) it makes the background appear fairly small. The two things, large foreground object and relatively small background size keeps the emphasis on the dog, while showing a pretty good section of the real world--but in a way that the background does not compete very much because it is smallish, and a bit darker.

This shooting and lighting method has been used quite a bit with famous sports figures, who are often shown in front of their home stadiums or ball parks; a huge stadium is a very big thing...in order to make a portrait with the subject rendered large, but something as large as a stadium shown so that it will not compete for attention, this lighting method and an ultra-wide angle lens are often used.
You're right these images are gorgeous. I don't think she was shooting all of these with just camera and available lighting. Some look like they can be achieved with just natural/available light. For others, (like the ones in low light environments) it looks like she has a Speed Flash or off camera lighting.

I personally, would try to achieve these photos by using a speed flash with a Gary Fong Dome diffuser. I have the collapsable one and used it for nightlife photography. It has a great affect, especially if there is a good surface nearby to bounce the light off of. If not you can point it directly to the model/subject, but make sure you don't have the power to high for that. It will probably blow out tones, blind the model, or worse tick off the dog lol. :345:

If she is not using additional lighting, she must be doing something in post; such as selecting the dog subjects and brightening/pumping up the curves.
Also note that many of her images are made using an ultra-wide-angle lens which contributes greatly to the unique look.

I totally agree with you. I think the ultra wide lens give the images alot of life.
Wow I love these photos Dog Breath is amazing.

Would a EFs 10-18 be an appropriate lens for this technique?
I also think these are terrific images. The suggestions about off camera lighting and wide angle make a lot of sense, but, I certainly see some skillful editing going on as well. I'd like to hear some thoughts on that.
To my untrained eye, many look HDR, there's at least one I can spot being a composite. Are they mostly just boosted in saturation and properly sharpened? There's a universal style there where the colors really pop. I'd love get some of my images looking more like that.

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