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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> Best way to photograph a black...
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06/17/2010 02:02:24 PM · #1
...poodle.

I have an 8 pound poodle. Jet black. In regular snapshot type photos she simply looks like a "hole" in the floor, couch, chair etc...

I can do a little better with my speedlight but still not to where I would like it.

What is the best way to set-up lighting on a black animal?

I have two nikon flashes sb800 and sb600. I will also have an umbrella to use after the UPS man stops by.

Thanks for you input.

Kenskid

06/17/2010 02:04:53 PM · #2
Have you tried spot metering?
06/17/2010 02:46:30 PM · #3
What sorts of shots were you looking for? I did a very casual shot for a doberman breeder, so have bit of knowledge. Condition of coat will effect outcome, as well as shooting environment. I learned a LOT from this particular shoot, so I may be able to help you out.
06/17/2010 03:21:03 PM · #4
Spot metering and underexpose unless you want a gray poodle. ;o)
06/17/2010 03:26:23 PM · #5
I'd go with either this:

Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_840681.jpg

or this:

Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_840566.jpg

Both setups taken from this thread:

http://www.dpchallenge.com/forum.php?action=read&FORUM_THREAD_ID=956611
06/17/2010 03:27:27 PM · #6
My parents' dog is approximately the same size and is a poodle/cross. I found that shooting him outside in sunlight worked best, may still have the shot kicking around...watch that the eyes don't go missing, have someone to wrangle him/her so they have someone to look at and listen to.

Good luck!
06/17/2010 03:39:07 PM · #7
Personally I think you nailed the setup in your "Sophie" challenge entry. The rim light is what separates the black dog from the background. Start by getting a proper exposure with your key light. The rim light is then added to the setup and set to about one stop over the key light i.e. key light @ 1/32, rim light @ 1/16. This is assuming that the lights are at equal distances from the subject. Keep in mind that the umbrella is going to reduce the amount of light by about a stop to a 1.5 stops. I would start with the key pointing at the face and experiment with moving the rim around to achieve the desired results.
Note; In that the rim light is pointed at the back of the subject, its best to make a snoot or use some other means of blocking the light away from the lens to avoid flaring.

Hope this helps.
06/17/2010 03:51:01 PM · #8
FWIW...Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_892006.jpg shot in sunlight, no flash, ISO 200, 1/50 and f.11. Didn't do any PS, just resize and save for web. Hope this helps! :-)
06/17/2010 04:31:10 PM · #9
Don't use diffusers. Use the lights straight on. This will give their coat a shiny look. With diffusion their coat looks drab.
06/17/2010 09:06:21 PM · #10
Shoot just the way you have been, then in post, do Image>Adjustments>Invert. Poof, white poodle! OK, not helpful. ;-)
06/18/2010 12:34:19 AM · #11
Thanks all for all the great tips. I tried a few tonight. I'll post one in the morning. They still came out somewhat darkish but getting better!
06/18/2010 01:13:33 AM · #12
I feel your pain.
Meet Lucy - jet black apart from a couple of very small whitish spots, and it is soooooo hard to get a good photo of her! I should have thought of that before I picked a black puppy, huh?

Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_840002.jpg Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_892103.jpg
06/18/2010 02:22:55 AM · #13
Originally posted by kirbic:

Shoot just the way you have been, then in post, do Image>Adjustments>Invert. Poof, white poodle! OK, not helpful. ;-)


I was going to suggest adding a healthy dose of hydrogen peroxide to the doggy shampoo!
X-D
06/18/2010 03:45:36 AM · #14
I underexposed on these two shots - I think I used center average metering and under exposed by a full stop. Shot using natural light.
Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_828042.jpg
Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_799289.jpg
06/18/2010 09:17:03 AM · #15
Underexpose to get the black to show up? That's something I need more info on!

Originally posted by Simms:

I underexposed on these two shots - I think I used center average metering and under exposed by a full stop. Shot using natural light.
Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_828042.jpg
Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_799289.jpg
06/18/2010 09:19:09 AM · #16
Originally posted by kenskid:

Underexpose to get the black to show up? That's something I need more info on!

Originally posted by Simms:

I underexposed on these two shots - I think I used center average metering and under exposed by a full stop. Shot using natural light.
Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_828042.jpg
Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_799289.jpg


The camera meter will try to make everything neutral grey so for black objects the camera will suggest settings that will over expose. To compensate you have to under expose to get black to come out right.
06/18/2010 09:55:10 AM · #17
and you sometimes have to sacrifice the background, depending on how many stops of light difference between dog and background. Like this one shot in the snow!

Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_650636.jpg
06/18/2010 12:27:34 PM · #18
Originally posted by brownsm:

and you sometimes have to sacrifice the background, depending on how many stops of light difference between dog and background. Like this one shot in the snow!

It's counter-intuitive but true. And the opposite is also true - if you want to get a properly exposed shot of snow, then you will need to overexpose by about one stop. So a black dog in white snow sounds like a candidate for bracketing!
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