How to photograph a dog

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© Richard Cox

Preparation

  1. Allow plenty of time for the dog to become comfortable with you.
  2. Instruct the dog owner to have the dog bathed and groomed prior to the photo shoot.
  3. Bring attention-grabbing toys to get the dog to focus on your camera when it is time to capture the photo. Surprising the pet will create an alert look that will last a few seconds. Toys that squeek are a good choice.
  4. Use treats sparingly to encourage the desired behaviors. A treat-focused dog may become unruly.
  5. Consider the use of props. Too many props can be a distraction in the composition and make it more difficult to capture the shot you want.
  6. Plan the shoot for when the dog is somewhat sleepy (either just waking or ready for a nap) when he is likely to be easier to keep still.

Photographing the dog

  1. Use natural light to avoid startling the dog with the flash of artificial lighting. Shoot one hour after sunrise or one hour before sunset to get the best available light conditions.
  2. Get down to the level of the dog to shoot at his eye level.
  3. Focus on the eyes to make sure that they are in sharp focus.
  4. Photograph the pet in positions and activities that are typical in order to capture the true character.
  5. For an alternate composition, try shooting down on the dog from a higher level, using a stairway or ladder.
  6. Try filling the frame with a portion of the pet (e.g. just the face) for a different view of the subject.

How to Create a High Dynamic Range Photograph

Learn to overcome the limits of your camera sensor’s dynamic range with HDR techniques

© Richard Cox

For any given exposure setting, your camera’s sensor is capable of capturing only a portion of the color and brightness information visible to the human eye. HDR techniques increase the amount of detail visible in a single image by merging the information gathered in multiple shots taken at different exposure settings. If your camera has a built-in HDR mode, it will typically merge two shots: one exposed for the highlights and the other exposed for the shadows. You can do HDR with any camera that allows you to change exposures and then use post processing software to merge the images. [Read more…]

How to Photograph Food

The Food

  1. Make food look shiny. Polish fruits and vegetables like apples, tomatoes, and peppers. Try coating them with a thin layer of Vaseline or spray with a mist of water. Using both techniques will cause the water to bead on the surface.
  2. Work with a food stylist or learn from their work. Study magazines and cookbooks to learn how to garnish and plate different types of food in the most appealing manner.
  3. Undercook food to preserve their color and texture in the photograph. Slow simmered stews may be more delicious, but they are generally not too photogenic. Barely cook the vegetables and just sear the meat.
  4. Mist the surface with hair spray to create the illusion of frost.
  5. Use a steamer or a microwaved sponge, tampon or cotton ball to create steam. The moisture from a steamer can be hard to control. With either method it will take practice to control the steam and time the shot for realistic results.
  6. Make it beautiful by employing non-edible arts and crafts techniques. Glue seeds and nuts onto the surface or paint in an attractive and realistic color. Note that in some types of product photography it is illegal to misrepresent the contents of the package with this type of trickery.

The Photography

  1. Use flash to augment available light. Bring light diffusers and reflectors to avoid hot spots on the subject.
  2. Mount the camera on a tripod and use a cable release or timed shot to minimize camera shake.
  3. Light hot food from the back or side and use a dark backdrop to make the steam show in the photograph.
  4. Be aware of your surroundings when working in busy kitchens. Stay out of the way as much as possible and always say “behind you” when passing behind a worker. Look for opportunities to capture some photojournalism shots of chefs in action.

How to Photograph Night Scenery

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© Richard Cox

Capturing the beauty of night scenes is a challenging photographic problem due to the low levels of available light. With practice, you can master key camera settings and work out a formula that works well for your particular camera and lens combination.

[Read more…]

How to Create an Effective Digital Workflow

The primary goal of Digital Workflow is to maximize image quality and avoid data loss throughout the end-to-end process from camera settings to finished images. There are many tools and recommended techniques to assist you with your workflow. This tutorial will guide you through the issues to consider as you establish the system that best fits your requirements. [Read more…]

How to Photograph 2-D Subjects

The key to photographing two-dimensional subjects, such as works of art, is to illuminate the subject so that it is sufficiently lit with only diffuse reflections. The setup required to accomplish this goal varies depending upon its subject and its environment. [Read more…]

How to Capture Texture on a Flat Surface

Capturing the texture of a flat surface requires illuminating it so that each element of texture has both a highlight and shadow area. Dark subjects require special handling leveraging direct reflection to compensate for the lack diffuse reflection. [Read more…]

How to Recover Lost Images on Flash Memory

If you’ve accidentally formatted a flash card that holds the only copy of your photos, you may be able to recover them. Formatting simply makes the memory used available to hold new images, in the process making the old ones invisible to file system viewers. The photos remain on the flash drive until new pictures are written to the location they occupy. [Read more…]

How to Create Uniform Thumbnails in Photoshop

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© Valerie Whittier

It is easy to create thumbnails by simply resizing your image to a smaller size. However, this method results in inconsistent sizes based on the orientation and dimensions of the original image. Make your thumbnail presentations more professional by creating consistently sized and oriented thumbnails. [Read more…]

How to Avoid Flash Memory Data Loss

Incorporate safe handling procedures for flash memory cards into your digital workflow to avoid catastrophe.

One of the most devastating experiences a photographer can have is to lose great shots due to hard drive or media failure. Incorporate safe handling procedures for flash memory cards into your digital workflow to avoid catastrophe. [Read more…]