The Nature, Wildlife and Pet Photography Forum - Fine Art Landscape Photography

Maddy - 5dii Portrait

Posted By: James Morrissey

Maddy - 5dii Portrait - 01/21/09 05:23 AM

Hey Guys,

This is a set that I took of an older Birmese Mountain Dog this weekend. It was done with the 5dii. Over-all, I was pleased. I have a bunch of photos taken of humans at ISO 2500 that are amazing. On another note, do the colors appear to bright and saturated, or just perfect? I can soften the brightness just fine...I am just trying to make sure that my monitor is 100% perfect again. :P

James









Posted By: Julie

Re: Maddy - 5dii Portrait - 01/21/09 01:18 PM

Those are really nice, I especially love the second one. I was thinking how nice the color was. Not at all flat and not at all overdone.
Posted By: Jim Garvie

Re: Maddy - 5dii Portrait - 01/21/09 01:19 PM

James,
Maddy is a Bernese Mountain Dog and she looks quite lovely. While the black looks a bit warm on my monitor, I'm not sure that's inaccurate. Many of the Berners I see have a lot of brown in their black.

Nice series of portraits.

Jim
Posted By: James Morrissey

Re: Maddy - 5dii Portrait - 01/21/09 01:23 PM

"Maddy is a Bernese Mountain Dog and she looks quite lovely. "

LOL, I new that! I am just horrible with spelling and that seemed closest. :P

Thanks for the feedback. Oddly enough, when I look at things on my monitor in IE or Mozilla, they look warmer than they do in Photoshop. It is an oddity I have been trying to understand recently. I upgraded my Mozilla after Jim mentioned that he thought it could be a calibration issue with the program, but I see no difference. Right now, for example, I am looking at them side by side between PS and both Mozilla and IE. The colors look perfect in PS, but almost radioactive red in IE and Firefox.

James
Posted By: Jim Garvie

Re: Maddy - 5dii Portrait - 01/21/09 01:26 PM

James,
quick question: have you had a chance to play around with the video capability and what do you think of it?

Jim
Posted By: James Morrissey

Re: Maddy - 5dii Portrait - 01/21/09 01:28 PM

Hey Jim,

The video capability is a nice tool. I have not started playing with video files yet and editing. Honestly, I am not even sure where to start with that.

James
Posted By: James Morrissey

Re: Maddy - 5dii Portrait - 01/21/09 02:05 PM

BTW, of interesting note...it is JUST my desktop where it is a problem. I am looking at the photos on my laptop and they look spectacular.

James

PS Jim, another issue with the video...trying to figure out how to make it part of the business. I think it might be easier with what you do, i.e. pet show photography. I can only imagine how nice it would be, for example, to have a video of Dot in addition to a few photos!
Posted By: Jim Poor

Re: Maddy - 5dii Portrait - 01/21/09 02:42 PM

I'm not positive, but I think you actually have to turn on color management in FF3 for it to have any effect. I've not used it in quite a while so I'm not sure.

Quote:

"Maddy is a Bernese Mountain Dog and she looks quite lovely. "

LOL, I new that! I am just horrible with spelling and that seemed closest. :P

Thanks for the feedback. Oddly enough, when I look at things on my monitor in IE or Mozilla, they look warmer than they do in Photoshop. It is an oddity I have been trying to understand recently. I upgraded my Mozilla after Jim mentioned that he thought it could be a calibration issue with the program, but I see no difference. Right now, for example, I am looking at them side by side between PS and both Mozilla and IE. The colors look perfect in PS, but almost radioactive red in IE and Firefox.

James



Posted By: Julie

Re: Maddy - 5dii Portrait - 01/21/09 02:46 PM

Yes, it would be cool to have a video! I want one of those flip video things.

Anyhow, as far as color management. I can't get CS3 calibrated correctly. I have tried and it has been a problem both on the desktop and the laptops. Windows and firefox show correctly, but no matter how I tweak the settings, CS3 is off. I have been on NAPP forums trying to get it figured out and nothing has worked yet. I just don't screw with my color!
Posted By: psmith

Re: Maddy - 5dii Portrait - 01/21/09 03:13 PM

Nice shots of that Birmese, I was expecting a cross between a Birman and a Burmese. Looks like you are putting the new camera to good use. Love the colors and the way you capture the 'expression' of the pup. My only nitpick is that I don't like the shadow under the chin on the last two...looks more like a dirty chin than a shadow. Thanks for posting.

How have the larger images affected your workflow? Is your computer holding up under 21mp images?
Posted By: James Morrissey

Re: Maddy - 5dii Portrait - 01/21/09 04:34 PM

Hey Guys,

Thanks for the feedback. Let me ask a question about the shadow. If I were shooting a human, I would be using a small reflector to take out the shadow under the chin. The problem with shooting dogs (and even worse, cats) is that they move around a lot. Outside of perhaps placing another light from down below, or trying to pull the shadow out in PS, I cannot think of a way to eliminate this problem.

Thoughts?

James
Posted By: wallyspop

Re: Maddy - 5dii Portrait - 01/21/09 04:53 PM

James, what are using for light? Looks like a softbox but is it on a hotshoe? I ask that because it looks like it is pretty centered and high'ish. When shooting pets like this where you have white in the chest, I have found an umbrella works better, shooting through and off center either camera left or right and a bit lower. The problem is you end up with a bit of flat lighting with the umbrella but if you also used a hairlight with a grid and light the background it will add lots of depth. Just some thoughts.
Posted By: wallyspop

Re: Maddy - 5dii Portrait - 01/21/09 04:55 PM

by the way, I almost always set the hairlight opposite the key.
Posted By: psmith

Re: Maddy - 5dii Portrait - 01/21/09 06:05 PM

You've either got to add another light or reposition what you have...or use a much larger light source closer to the animal to get the light to wrap more. Of course any of these options changes everything.

With cats I use medium and large softboxes to wrap the light and if I have a real problem I'll add another light to eliminate the shadow...makes for flat lighting so I don't like to do that. Also the problem is not as pronounced in cats because the muzzles are very short compared to a dog snout.

I still end up Photoshopping more than I want.
Posted By: wallyspop

Re: Maddy - 5dii Portrait - 01/21/09 09:57 PM

I agree on the larger softbox, but I have a 47" octabox that works super with people and I often use a grid with it, but it can be very intimidating to pets. The pets I have worked with seem to react better to umbrellas. Maybe the softer curved appearance? Not sure but has been my experience.
Posted By: Jim Garvie

Re: Maddy - 5dii Portrait - 01/21/09 10:26 PM

Bob,
I think you're advice is right on. I don't mind the flat lighting with animals since you can always create some directional effects in PS. But it's hard to get rid of those harsh shadows.

Anyway, I have no problems with flat lighting for dogs or cats. Nobody has ever complained because they could see the entire animal:). Flat with people is, well, FLAT!!! But with animals, it's a nice way to capture their 3rd dimension, IMHO.

Jim
Posted By: Jim Garvie

Re: Maddy - 5dii Portrait - 01/21/09 10:34 PM

James,
I agree. We're working on a website for our Standard Poodle client and she wants video of her dog moving -- she moves quite well, thank you -- so I'm thinking of giving the HD of the 5D MkII a try. It's been a while, but I used to handle some of those big studio cameras in a TV studio so I just might be able to figure out how to capture some decent video.

I also had a wedding client today ask if we could shoot some video along with the stills and that really got me thinking. The problem for me is moving intellectually between stills and video. I guess it's similar to when I shoot my moving shots in the ring. Time that first move and then press the shutter and pan like hell!!! But, at a wedding, you'd have to figure which segments you wanted to film vs photograph and that really requires two people shooting for different effects.

Anyway, I still believe the best application of that video function might be weddings. I just need to figure out how exactly to do it and still get the stills.

Jim
Posted By: wallyspop

Re: Maddy - 5dii Portrait - 01/21/09 10:45 PM

Quote:

Anyway, I still believe the best application of that video function might be weddings. I just need to figure out how exactly to do it and still get the stills.





If it is somewhere warm, I can come be your assistant!
Posted By: Jim Garvie

Re: Maddy - 5dii Portrait - 01/22/09 02:53 PM

Bob,
depends on your definition of warm. Last night, it dropped into the mid-20s and today's high will be in the low 50s.

However, the weekend forecast is for 70s so if I have an application of your video/photographic skills in the near future i.e. a wedding, you'll get a formal invitation.

Jim
Posted By: James Morrissey

Re: Maddy - 5dii Portrait - 01/22/09 10:25 PM

Hey Guys,

A bit about my set-up. I have been using either a three or four flash system employing Gary Fong Domes to help diffuse the light. One light is typically used as a bounce to help keep shadows down. One flash is typically located about two feet higher than the head of the pet - from as far back as the room will allow (never a lot here in the City). The third light is aimed to add fill. I typically use the bounce and higher flash as main light at a 4:1 ratio.

I have been hesitant to employ monolights principally because I generally don't have the space. They are definitely preferable for doing any sort of portrait work...and if I had a studio, that is definitely how I would do it. Manhattan homes though are a bit of an experience. I have been in apartments as big as you can find, and apartments where I had to photograph the pet sitting in the living room from the bedroom because the room was so small. I am going to post some photos later of a beautiful Poodle that I photographed two weeks ago. I was working from less than 3 feet away for much of the shoot.

So, the moral of this story is I guess I may need to do one of three things: (1) Cut the power of the bounce as that is probably causing much of the shadow, (2) Change the position of the fill, (3) Always shoot with a fourth flash angled in such a way to make sure that shadows don't occur.

Cheers
James
Posted By: wallyspop

Re: Maddy - 5dii Portrait - 01/23/09 12:42 AM

Jim, very tempting indeed! Raleigh is typically pretty warm compared to where I was born and raised, Syracuse NY! I would have to arrange a vacation and take the family to Disney. We do sometimes come in May due to Business convention we have there every year. You never know. At a minimum I would love a chance to meet you.

James, you would be shocked at the minimal space a bee takes with an umbrella. I have used a single light setup in some unreal tight places. I had a shoot where I too shot from a Living room into a kitchen and used a single bee setup, and with the umbrella no shadows. Anyway, with that awesome machine you now have, I think you should reconsider. I have no regrets on my bees at all! I rarely use my 580 EXII.
Posted By: psmith

Re: Maddy - 5dii Portrait - 01/23/09 03:00 PM

James, for those shots where you don't have room you could just change the position of the fill. BUT, if you have a little more room why not carry a hot shoe / umbrella bracket and a Softlighter? Very portable, quick to set up, great light. I think your speedlights would have enough power, although I prefer my Bees.

Softlighter: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/42418-REG/Photek_SL_4000_Umbrella_Softlighter_II.html

Bracket: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/298709-REG/Impact_3117_Umbrella_Bracket.html

I guess I'm assuming you already carry stands with you for the flashes.
Posted By: James Morrissey

Re: Maddy - 5dii Portrait - 01/27/09 01:12 PM

Hey Preston,

Great idea. Thanks for the links. I am going to go take a look at B&H later this week.

James
Posted By: James Morrissey

Maddy Portrait - Thanks Preston et al - 02/16/09 03:48 AM

Hey Guys,

I picked up the umbrella system for my flashes that was described above. I did NOT use it for a pet shoot, but for a wedding. All I can say is that they blow the Fong domes out of the water for doing large groups. Perfect, even light. While the Fong Domes still have their place for shooting in dark, poorly lit areas, I think that the umbrellas made a huge difference in my getting the shots perfectly lit without any work. The difference was that significant.

Thanks!
James
Posted By: Julie

Re: Maddy Portrait - Thanks Preston et al - 02/16/09 01:28 PM

I have the bracket and have just used an umbrella before. The great thing is for something like horses jumping in an arena, I can put the flash on a lightstand, keep the red eye away an sync it as high as I want. Helps A TON.

I like the soflighter umbrella and may have to buy one
Posted By: psmith

Re: Maddy Portrait - Thanks Preston et al - 02/17/09 02:20 PM

I'm glad you got good results. I have to admit I had to practice putting it together on my Bee a few times before I got the hang of it, but as far as portability, speed, and quality of light it is really a great combination.

Did you get the large or the small Softlighter?
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