It's a dog life

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This topic contains 28 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by  Albirder 7 months, 1 week ago.

  • Author
  • #377382

    Angela Schneider

    Hi, all!

    First-time poster. I’m in the early stages of a pet portrait business and I spend a lot of time using my own dog, a four-year-old Maremma named Bella, as a practice model. This is one of my recent favorites.

    Any  other dog togs out there? Feedback on this shot?

  • #377390

    chris pook

    I think you doubled up!


    I also have a dog.  🙂


    If Grace Kelly was a dog...

    • #377434


      Properly incognito.

    • #377507

      Erik Fransman

      Chris, I suppose it is a female dog and she is with you in Iraq.

  • #377396

    Tom M

    Hi Angela,

    Welcome to LS. I’m sure there’s a lot of dog togs here. The pose with the dog’s tongue is almost gross 🙂

  • #377408


    I’m not sure if you intended for this to be in the Shark Tank (ST) Angela but I’m going to assume so.

    I find the contrast in the shot way too high. It’s also a little under exposed with blown blacks as a result. You may want to raise your exposure and blacks – and also your shadows to a lesser degree. Then bring back the highlights so as not to blow your whites on the dog.

    I find the out of focus legs to be kind of weird but I can not recommend anything here due to a lack of Exif data (which should be included with ST shots).

    I’m not sure that the low point of view works for me either. It might have worked had the dog looked down at you.

    Composition wise it is hardly ever a good idea to have your subject in the middle of your frame. You may want to move hime just a touch to the (our) left.

    A picture speaks a thousand words but I do not want to offer one with my recommendations as your profile states that you would not like anyone to alter your shots (you may want to change that if it’s not intentional).

  • #377427

    chris pook

    Hi Angela, it’s kinda fun and off main stream.  That’s a good thing if you want to stand out from the crowd, develop your own look, and be known and hired for it.  For some reason this does not personally appeal to me, but it’s not my dog, and it’s just a subjective matter of taste.  I’m short on taste.  ;).

    Interesting lighting and processing.  What did you do there?

    • #378196

      Angela Schneider

      I’ve been working on a bit of a Euro processing style with my own style of desaturated contrast. I used a field blur on the background, masking out Bella and foreground rock.

  • #377433


    I am so glad to have a dog photographer in our group! We used to have one years ago, I wish I could remember her name. She was taking pictures of shelter dogs. I kept trying to convince her to do it professionally, also. By the way, I think taking pictures of shelter dogs, properly attributed, of course, is a great way to volunter. You can get a lot of experience fast and potentially build a customer base. I think the challenge with dogs, which is a similar challenge with birds, is that the ultimate goal is to get some pictures of them doing unique, dogs things. You have done that here. What a great start. If you had caught the tongue in a little lower position, it would have worked better for me. You might try a burst mode so that you have choices. (Speculation in my part.) I fell in love with the eyes. I look forward to your future posts.

    • #378197

      Angela Schneider

      I’ve found the shelters in my area aren’t very easy to work with. I’m on call with a few rescues but they’re often too busy to worry about photos.

      I shoot mostly in burst mode because that’s just how dogs do. I have several shots around this particular second in time but the tongue full out was my favorite.

      • #378930


        Always, always go with your favorite!

  • #377476


    i’ve did some dog shots years ago but i won’t post them.  one of my friends is a 911 dispatch supervisor and he wanted photos of his dog who was a k9 drop out.  once he showed off the photos that led to shots of active duty police dogs and their handlers.  it was mainly action shots of the dogs chasing balls.  the best part is those dogs never shut up.  nonstop barking 24/7, especially when the handler is on the radio with dispatch.

    love the strong pose and low viewpoint, it’s a good match for the post processing.  the center placement works well for this comp.  the dog is front and center and that’s where (s)he belongs.  the tongue is great!  i think the image portrays a lot about this dog’s life.  long hikes in the mountains, plenty of adventures.

    if anything i might open the shadows just a little while keeping the same black point.  but this would be a very minor edit.  the whites are just a tad bright on the front paws.  i’m also viewing on a work monitor which is uncalibrated.

    • #378194

      Angela Schneider

      Yeah, I think you’re right. The paws might be a bit too bright.

  • #377484

    Robert Apple

    I Have several family members as well as friends that are breeders, guess who they call for photos.

    I know something exciting is about to happen.

  • #377508

    Erik Fransman

    I do not understand why it is so grainy at ISO 400, F/5.6 and 1/640s.
    10 mm is arguably not the best lens for a portrait shot of a dog.
    I agree with Tobie, the whites you can tone down. I would also crop it a bit.
    Tobie, I think he out of focus legs are post-production out of focus. A 10mm at f/5.6 is sharp from here to anywhere.
    The tongue looks really weird, but I am a cat person and have no knowledge of dogs.

  • #377684


    I have to disagree – the tongue makes the image.  But I’m a dog person.

    • #378198

      Angela Schneider

      Thanks. I love it, too. I’m just kind of ignoring the tongue comments. 🙂

  • #377700

    Kent DuFault

    I had an immediate reaction to this shot. However, I wanted to wait and see what other folks said. I’m hard pressed to criticize this photo, as I’m sure it is special to the owner of this beautiful dog. However, as a photographer, and a frequent viewer of photography, it leaves me pretty empty- not a great visual experience. There’s something about it that is just off. After viewing it a number of times, I think it’s a combination of the low camera angle and the dog’s upward gaze. The tongue, I’m assuming, was meant to anchor a viewer’s eyes to the face. However, it’s not happening for me. My eyes still want to proceed up and off the top of the image. The dog’s bright eyes are a powerful visual element, and the line-of-sight is a powerful push upward. I think perhaps a longer lens and a higher camera POV would have given this a better composition.

  • #377758

    Graham Hart

    At Tobie’s suggestion, this is a repost from the other thread about this pic.

    Like the pose, like the DOF blur, like the eyes…BUT…half a second before or after this shot and it would have been better I think (burst mode?). The tongue is just too much of a distraction to everything else in this pic and the second your brain registers it, that’s all you can see.

  • #377933


    For those interested…. the EXIF…

    Exposure: 1/640
    Aperture: 5.6
    Focal Length: 10.0 mm
    ISO Speed: 400
    LensInfo: 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5

    ApproximateFocusDistance: 0.45 (which I”m guessing is about 2 feet)

    Depth of field -> at 2 ft for f/5.6
    Near limit: 1.22 ft
    Far limit: 5.63 ft
    Total: 4.41 ft

    Based upon the comment regarding the out-of-focus paws it looks like you were physically only ‘inches’ away from having them in focus.

    Not sure if you use longer lenses in shooting the animals, but you may find that when taking images of pets that unfamiliar with you, they may relax a little more and provide you with poses such as this one.

    My only really comment is the shadow on the bottom half of its tongue/chin and its chest. I think if you were to introduce more light onto the bottom half of the tongue and chin and little bit more light onto its chest, it would keep the viewers’ eyes more on the dog. For my eyes, the darkness almost seems to cut the dogs face in half and leaving the lower half of its face providing no interest.

    My eyes want to look at its chin area, but the darkness keeps pushing my eyes back up and away.  (I would have posted an example but you have selected – no – to members editing your image [I think that’s the default setting])

  • #377941

    Dave Watkins

    I have a fondness for LGD breeds. Our 10 yr old, Cider,  is mostly Great Pyrenees. But his  mom did have a wee bit of Maremma in her. Very intelligent breeds of dogs. But personally Bella’s tongue in this image is a distraction to me. Just my 2 cents. Would like to see other shots of her. I’m guessing you have a few others. 🙂

    Here’s one of Cider. Looking bored since he’s been retired from protecting our herd of goats.

    • #378200

      Angela Schneider

      Yes, I have lots of my little beauty queen. 🙂

      She doesn’t look at the camera a lot. She knows what’s going on and doesn’t like her job as a practice model. She does it very begrudgingly. These dogs are too damn smart sometimes.

      Cider has that sweet but watchful look about him. 

      • #378463

        Dave Watkins

        Cider’s not a big fan of the camera either.  “These dogs are too damn smart sometimes.” I agree. Incredibly smart.  Give Bella a good scratch behind the ears for me. 🙂

  • #378182

    Mariah Gauthier

    I personally like the tongue– yes, it’s a little gross, but I feel that this photo has a gritty quality to it. The dog feels wild and rugged, which I like. The thing that really throws me off on this photo is that the dog isn’t looking at the camera. Its gaze upward really takes me out of the photo and makes the dog feel disconnected.


    Of course, know it’s nearly impossible to get dogs to look where you want them to look, but think him looking directly at the camera would have made this much more impactful.

    • #378201

      Angela Schneider

      I don’t have problems getting client dogs to look at the camera. Bella is a special case. She intentionally avoids me.

  • #378391


    Reminds me of this one of mine called “Caught in the Act”.

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