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Bonnie <3

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My beautiful dog, she never wants to sit still for a photo.

Constructive critique welcome. Photo taken in difficult light conditions. Annoyed that one of her paws is not fully in the photo but dogs are difficult subjects to capture as they won't sit still :o)

Brand:Canon
Camera:Canon IXUS 230 HS
Lens:5.0 - 40.0 mm (35 mm equivalent: 27.9 - 223.4 mm)
Recording media:JPEG (digital)
Date Taken:27 Oct 2012 - 12:37 PM
Focal Length:7mm
Lens Max Aperture:f/3.2
Aperture:f/3.2
Shutter Speed:1/30sec
Exposure Comp:0.0
ISO:800
Metering Mode:Evaluative
Flash:Auto, Did not fire
White Balance:Auto
Title:Bonnie <3
Username:PhotoGem PhotoGem
Uploaded:1 Nov 2012 - 11:46 AM
Tags:Dog, Pets / captive animals, Westie
VS Mode Rating 97 (36.36% won)
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Comments

This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.
iancrowson
iancrowson e2 Member 4209 forum postsiancrowson vcard United Kingdom128 Constructive Critique Points
1 Nov 2012 - 12:48 PM

What a Westie! You had achieved a very appealing photo of your dog. Yes dogs are difficult to photograph, dog photography is quite a specialised area. I watched an expert in action at dog show. She had the dog on a lead staked to the ground and said that the lead was removed later in photoshop.
The best shots tend to have the dogs looking at the camera. Both eyes in view with eye contact. That takes two people, one to hold the camera and the other above and behind holding the treat.
You took the photo in what would not have been an easy situation, indoors by a shaft of natural light. Camera settings look correct for the situation.
There is a little lose of detail on the bright light but I think this is more due to the limitations of the camera, small sensor, high ISO.
Our daughter has two Westies and I am still waiting for a killer shot.
A website I built a while back was for the Southsea Westie Walk, you may get some ideas there. One one the photos on there, three westies and a black dog, is mine, Shame on me, non of the dogs are looking at the camera! http://www.southseawestiewalk.org.uk
Hope you get some better advice because I need it too
Ian

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PhotoGem
PhotoGem  1 United Kingdom
1 Nov 2012 - 1:00 PM

I had a professional shot taken of her at a local pet shop and they used the same technique. Dog on a lead attached to a stake. My skills are nowhere near being able to remove a lead from a shot yet. I have two westies the other is more of a willing subject than this one but she sits in the wrong places so the background is all wrong lol.

Thanks for the advice will try to get them looking at the camera hmmm lots of treat bribes needed Smile

Thanks for the link I will take a look. Thanks again for your help and advice.

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Ayoob
Ayoob e2 Member 3Ayoob vcard Australia
1 Nov 2012 - 1:35 PM

Lovely image and great capture.........Grin

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banehawi
banehawi Critique Team 10781 forum postsbanehawi vcard Canada2797 Constructive Critique Points
1 Nov 2012 - 2:01 PMConstructive Critique!This comment was flagged as constructive critique! 

Finally a Westie with a discouloured beard, just like my dog. Im always jealous of the perfectly white beards, - dont know how they do it.


Its a decent shot, and youve mention the paw. Ive taken a few shots on here of my Westie, and theres a few tip I can give you after many hundreds of failed Westie and Daschund shots.

Dogs often know you are about to take a photo because we make some kind of fuss, try to get the dog to stop moving, etc which always works the opposite way. The dog will come towards you, etc. Try not to make any fuss, ignore the dog, and wait for a time where it sitting normally, or lying, perhaps on a couch. This means just having the camera handy. Then compose the shot, and when youre ready to shoot, make a noise to get the dog to look at you and lift his ears. Its an ambush really. It works maybe 50% of the time, which isnt bad. The whole trick will give you more time, as rushing the shot really results in a lot of missed opportunities, and also has the dog relaxed.

Next, dont shoot down on a dog, get to the same level, either the dog higher, on a chair, or you lower, sitting on the floor. This is always an improvement. My dog is 14, so maybe more relaxed, though he will always come to me if I tell him to sit, stay, etc when Im shooting.

Try this next time. The mod I have uploaded has the Westie off centre, with the shaded areas brighter, and very bright areas toned down. These changes need you to know how to use layers and masks in Photoshop, which you likely havent done before. The idea is you make a chage to the whole shot, then remove it from areas you dont want it. If you search the Techniques section of this site, - or Youtube, you will find information on the technique. Once you know it, its easy to do.


Hope this helps, - look at my Westie with the same colour face!


regards


Willie

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Sooty_1
Sooty_1 Critique Team 41177 forum posts United Kingdom196 Constructive Critique Points
1 Nov 2012 - 3:12 PM

I have a parsons russell terrier, just as active and just as hard to catch!

There are shots downward like this, but they tend to be more extreme wides and much brighter. Generally it's better to get down to the animal's level, which with a short lens, usually results in the dog moving. Often good to get them playing, running or otherwise active, it usually captures more of their character. Longer lenses mean you don't have to approach them, but shot candidly you can often get them unawares.
Bribery is another option, and a reward for sitting still or laying down sometimes works.

My dog thinks that when the camera comes out, it's just for him, so he plays up, but the best pics I have are when he's on a walk, running around in a field or savaging one of his toys!

The only way, is to continuously shoot, in different ways, with different focal lengths, and eventually you will build up a catalogue of characterful shots.

Nick

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Focus_Man
Focus_Man  4481 forum posts United Kingdom631 Constructive Critique Points
1 Nov 2012 - 6:04 PM

As this is your own doggie I feel sure that you have sufficiently established a rapport that will enable you to get low down, face to face with the Westie. This to my mind makes for the best kind of picture, because eye contact is easily established. Indoors of course you will have to watch out for skirting boards etc which will spoil your background, so look for areas where the backdrop will prove to be suitable, or sometimes in your garden will make for an excellent shot.
Try a close up of Bonnie's head with the face filling the frame, maybe just a blue sky behind, like the shot on page 6 of my portfolio, the shot is called ‘Rhea’ (The page number seems to change dependent upon when I look at it and I don't know how to make a link to the picture); you could even make your own background if you so wished.

Be careful with a shutter speed of 1/30sec that you don't get any camera shake and I feel sure we will soon see some great pics of her.

Frank

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Jestertheclown
1 Nov 2012 - 10:32 PM

Some good advice there from Willie and Nick.

I've got hundreds of shots of my "Sprocket," but being a German Shepherd, it's easier to get closer to his level.
I'm fortunate in that he'll actually sit, stay and look appealing if I tell him to, so the treats aren't needed but I do find that those shots, whilst they're quite good technically, tend to look somehow contrived, clinical even. It's too obvious that he's sitting there because I've told him to!
The best ones by far, are the ones where he's out, running around or jumping over things. They're harder to get and quite a few go in the bin but the keepers are much more satisfying.

Bren.

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PhotoGem
PhotoGem  1 United Kingdom
2 Nov 2012 - 4:18 PM

Thank you everyone for your helpful feedback and the mod. Looking forward to trying to take some better shots of my westies Smile

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paulbroad
paulbroad  681 forum posts United Kingdom842 Constructive Critique Points
3 Nov 2012 - 8:16 AM

It's a nice image. Ideally you need to get down to the dogs level, or get it up to yours. Because you are looking down and are much closer to the head than the body, you get a large head and small body. I have shot quite a few friends dogs and usually find they react better outdoors when you can get both moving shots and some posed stuff when they get tired.



Paul

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