Back Modifications (2)
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Clean Spaniel

By Sus  
A Clean Spaniel. I have some lovely furry fabric for them to sit on but wondering how long it will take to get it muddy!

1/125 ss
ISO 640
Flash in Ezybox plus some window light

Tags: Portrait Dog Spaniel Pets and captive animals

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


30 Oct 2011 9:07AM
That's such a nice picture of your cute dog. Smile

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franken Plus
15 4.6k 4 United Kingdom
30 Oct 2011 9:27AM
Wonderful portrait.

Sus 13 3.2k 9 England
30 Oct 2011 10:25AM
See your point Frank. My 'pure white' background is actually usually a cream shower curtain hung over the French doors which allows light to pass through, though of course it is not pure white. I actually prefer using my bright red fleece throw (5 Sainsburys) as a background, but there is still this perception of white background as 'professional portrait'!

I did do some with the red blanket, but these ones did look better.

Fixing the DOF (I have a thread asking about increasing DOF) may help, as I can then bring out the texture of the fur.

Quite tempted to keep the fur fabric for baby shots anyway!


FP4 8 1
30 Oct 2011 10:43AM
Hi Sus,

Well here's my opinion for what it's worth.

I would echo Franks comments regarding the background, the texture, tone and colour are very similar, so poor old Doggy looks like he is merging into the background.

Just a thought try blurring and lowering the contrast on the background, even try lightening or darkening it slightly.

It looks a tad over sharpen, if you look at the Whiskers they appear slightly jagged, it could be just the way it's appearing on my screen of course.

The lighting is good, but I find where you have Dogs with Black and White coats the lighting needs to be very soft, as it is easy to blow the highlights or lose detail in the shadow.

I would always expose for the white coat, then carefully select the Black areas of the coat and lighten in post production.

There is a slight risk of noise in the shadow area using this method, but if you blow the highlights it is very difficult to retrieve the detail.

Apologies for the ramblings of an old Fossil Photographer, but I hope it helps.


Sus 13 3.2k 9 England
30 Oct 2011 10:56AM
No, that's very helpful Mark, I'll take it on board. I'm considering investing in some more 'serious' lighting - this was lit with a softbox though (ezybox 60cm very close) so I'm not sure how I could have got softer?

My usual problem is actually getting enough detail in the black fur, so I tend to blow the highlights (literally and figuratively speaking) and try to get detail on black faces around eyes in particular. However, as I boosted the contrast on this I could have post processed to retrieve some of the white fur detail (this was a quick mod just to demo my DOF problem).

I would be interested in other observations about the oversharpening - to me there is nothing worse than oversharpening and I have always played it cautious, I would hate to think I am falling into that particular trap!


FP4 8 1
30 Oct 2011 11:27AM
I'm glad that was of some help Sus.

Great cheap way to soften the light is to use cheap White bed Sheets, thinner the better.

Get a couple pieces of timber 2x1, 2x2, or something similar (broom stick handle) and stretch the bed Sheet across so it becomes taunt, you obviously need to find something to support the timber.

Place the sheet between your subject and the light source be it a Soft box or natural light.

By moving the sheet only, you can change the softness of the light.

They also make nice reflectors, the size of a king size bed and when you've finished simply fold up.

You can also use as a white background, grubby Paws, no problem straight in Washing Machine, far cheaper than Paper backgrounds.

Oh dear I'm giving all my secrets away....
banehawi Plus
14 1.8k 3894 Canada
30 Oct 2011 2:04PM
A very nice sharp shot. Theres noting at all wrong with this that cant be sorted out with some minor tweaks in highlight and midtone contrast in Phosotshop, either using levels, Curves, or Shadow/highlight/midtone tools depending on the version you have. Its cheaper than buying a studio! I wouldnt entirely agree that white background = professional portrait, - this would look terrific on a darker colour, or black velvet.

Hope this helps, and that the mod shows the potential of the shot. I also added some space at the top, and shifted the dog more to the left by cropping.

For everything you ever wanted to know about dof check this link:


kaybee 14 5.8k 25 Scotland
30 Oct 2011 5:05PM
I may be a bit out of step with everyone else here - but I like the shot as it and don't think it needs any more of the shot in focus.
As it stands the viewers eye is kept on the dogs eyes. Any more and you would start looking at the dogs body
16 Nov 2011 11:12PM
I must admit I like this to I think the eyes make the picture..Lin

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