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Evening walk

By Twoflowers
An unedited photo I took while out walking one evening, I think it is a nice photo but can you suggest any ways it could be made into a better photo?

Tags: Dog Pet Pets and captive animals Unedited

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mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.7k 2395 United Kingdom
1 Apr 2021 12:53PM
Hello again. Thanks for asking a very precise question, about how this could be improved - I hope that it indicates that you are starting to think about processing. But this one is about something else as well - it's about light.

You have captured a good moment here, the dog's expression is alert and characterful. The image is sharp and well focused. Yes, it's a 'nice photo'. I think that you want to do better than that, so it's worth trying to look objectively at your own work.

There's a big problem here - the low sun is 180 degrees away from where it needs to be! It's catching the back of the dog's head, so the face is in shadow. Would you take a human portrait with the light like that?

The Exif is also showing an exposure compensation of - 1 stop, ie you were underexposing quite considerably. (I've just noticed the comment that you have added to your Lambs upload - I think you need to read up on the circumstances that may need a plus or a minus setting, it doesn't just depend on the subject!!)

The dog needed to turn towards you and then a little further, a 3/4 face looking slightly to our right would work here. I know that dogs are not easy to direct but the message is that in order to progress beyond 'nice photo' you need to consider light and angle. The word 'photography' means 'drawing with light'. It's essential to work with the light not against it, to consider where it is hitting your subject, how it moulds contours and shows up detail.

I've added a quick modification. I isolated the face and lightened it quite considerably, and also tried to tone down the light on the back of the head. On reflection I needed to warm the colour on the face and cool the colour on the back - that's another aspect of light that you need to be aware of.

This is your third Critique Gallery upload, I hope that you are getting used to how we work and that you will join in the conversation. That's how the CG works best.
banehawi Plus
16 2.4k 4227 Canada
1 Apr 2021 12:57PM
Nice pose

I would echo Moiras feedback re exposure compensation; in practice in general photography, a positive compensation will be used much more frequently than a negative, something to keep in mind next time to consider applying negative.

Mod is similar.


mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.7k 2395 United Kingdom
1 Apr 2021 2:30PM
Following on from your response on your Lambs upload, and the use of a minus exposure compensation setting here, I did a quick Google search and found two good articles, see here and here. (Hope those work).

Both explain the most common situations where the camera is likely to need a bit of help to get the exposure right. I suggest that you read them carefully, in both articles the really important stuff comes a little way down the page. The important point in both is that the camera's brain can be fooled in certain situations, so it's important to be able to recognise these situations when they arise.

Always check the result, and try out different settings, starting at plus or minus 1/3 stop. With practice you will be able to adjust this very quickly.
KarenFB Plus
14 5.6k 182 England
1 Apr 2021 6:31PM
I love its blue eye that we can see (are they both blue?) - perhaps if you'd made a 'squeaky' or 'kissy' sound he/she would have turned and given you direct eye contact. I think those eyes would make a stunning portrait!
pamelajean Plus
15 1.5k 2211 United Kingdom
1 Apr 2021 8:33PM
Hello again, Lily Rose.

The importance of light has been covered well. Often, in the excitement of getting the shot, especially if the dog is sitting still after a good run, you forget things like background, composition and where the light is coming from.

You chose a shutter speed that would cope with movement from your subject and an aperture that would blur the background. That background is quite a way away, and that's ideal for isolating the animal. Importantly, you got down to the dog's eye level and achieved good focus on its eye.

I have done a modification, using Moira's mod, just to show what a difference the addition of space on the left makes to the image, giving your subject room to look or move into, the idea of compositional Negative Space. My format is now square and your image is slightly cropped.

I did yet another modification, simply mirroring the first. This is to give you an idea of what it would look like with the dog facing to the right. We read text and also a picture, from left to right and although we don't always have the choice of direction that our subject gives, it can simply be mirrored like this.

dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1832 England
1 Apr 2021 9:15PM
The light isn't ideal, but the pose and angle are excellent. The lesson is that sometimes you can't get the perfect picture - though others have shown that processing can help. If you're close enough, sometimes a burst of fill-in flash can help.

Exposure compensation is confusing at first - it took me around two years to get it right, when I first got a camera with auto exposure! It was costly in money and ego back in the days of film. The best thing to do is to read the articles, and then try it out, with what you think is right, and check immediately. There will be one display mode that gives a histogram as well as the image you've shot: for an average scene, this should be a bell curve: if the graph is stacked up against the left side, the shot's underexposed, against the right side, overexposed.

It comes clear as you practice, check, and practice again.
chase Plus
15 2.1k 562 England
2 Apr 2021 11:01AM
Lovely pose from this beautiful dog, what stunning eyes he has.
Just a little underexposed as has been addressed and the light is the all important factor here, a difficult one to get right because of the very bright sunlight, saying that you did quite well.
I would have liked to have seen much more in front of him, space for him to look into, for me, he is a little cramped in the frame.

I did do a mod, lightened, flipped, straightened and added the space I mentioned.
I understand your post processing is limited atm but I just wanted to demonstrate how this may have looked perhaps using landscape format instead of portrait.
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.7k 2395 United Kingdom
5 Apr 2021 11:14AM
Hello again, are you looking in? I know you are busy, but it would be good to hear from you. Has any of the above helped? Have you learned anything from this image?

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