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#19765 - 01/16/09 06:13 PM Re: Bindy - about the ball [Re: julief]
psmith Offline

Registered: 11/09/08
Loc: Kansas
James, I just looked at this again...I love the last shot. I'd leave the ball in and the rear foot. But I would take the catchlights off the ball.

Is the color right? Does the dog have yellowish/brownish/dingy fur, or should it be white? Just asking, I pulled it into Photoshop and picked a white point in curves on the dog's forehead and I thought the ball and the bone looked better...since I've never met the dog I can't say what is accurate.

#19766 - 01/17/09 01:44 AM Re: Bindy - about the ball [Re: psmith]
Buddy Thomason Offline

Registered: 10/05/05
Loc: Colorado, USA
Nice puppy pictures,James! Congrats on the new camera too.

About the ball - I'd prefer the image without the ball. My reasoning goes like this: The puppy isn't interested in the ball and it doesn't add to the picture other than color. If color was important, it should probably be associated with the item that holds the puppy's interest. Also, the ball takes away from the picture in the same way as the o.o.f. right rear foot and knee because it forces the viewer, sooner or later, to devote attention to it even though it's unrelated to the essential image. The path of the viewer's eye hits a bit of a visual glitch when pausing to consider the ball.

My edit of the image is an experiment to see what happens when both distracting elements are eliminated. Personally, and I understand this may be, to some extent, a matter of taste, I like the image without those elements.

I did a few other things:

1. Used the shadow/highlight tool (PSCS4) to recover some of the puppy's hair around his outline and balance the lights and darks overall.

2. Cloned the puppy's R paw and transformed its shape to fit on his/her L, then copied the text from another photo, separated it from it's background and placed it out of the way just so I could better see the Puppy as a whole (I understand the purpose of the text vis a vis ownership issues etc.)

3. I used the lasso tool with an edge feather to darken the background and lighten the central area of the image. In the process I lost the texture of the fabric. Some subtle texture and gradient variation would be useful and, if working with full size RAW files this could be easily accomplished.

4. Eyes and catchlights - more times than not I get into trouble when futzing with already present catchlights during post-processing, so I did minimal work with the catchlights. I did, however, use curves and hue/saturation tools to enhance contrast in the eyes to bring them in balance with the overall enhanced contrast of the puppy.

5. Not knowing the true colors, I used the tongue and pink skin of the paw pads as my key color and adjusted accordingly. When that looked good to me (on my monitor with my room lighting) I quit.

6. I enlarged the canvas to allow for a slightly different crop.

7. Finanlly I added a little lens blur smart sharpen filter. Not that the image is soft, but rather to stay in keeping with an image that is processed to provide a bit more "pop" or "punch."

I offer this in the spirit of useful discussion, not as a critique or an example of how I think it should be done. There are a million right ways to process a superior digital capture such as this one.

Addendum: I agree (in advance) that the absence of the rear paw and knee creates some abmiguity - eg. the puppy could be lying or standing. However, depth of field and focus, as has already been pointed out, is an issue. (That's why I remain wedded to my 90mm tilt/shift lens for shots like this one - I can control all of the variables instead of letting my choices of distance from subject, preferred lighting, f-stop, shutter speed and ISO force a d.o.f. on me that just isn't as great as I'd like.) The black backdrop, as previously pointed out, has some disadvantages but IMO, those are far outweighed by the benefits. I like the choice of background here.

These are just my own musings, as I've said, and I hope I'm not ruffling any feathers. I appreciate the opportunity here in these NWP forums to both share and learn.

#19767 - 01/17/09 05:06 PM Re: Bindy - about the ball [Re: Buddy Thomason]
James Morrissey Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/11/05
Loc: Manhattan, New York, New York
Hey Guys,


Thanks for the feedback. Yeah, I think the color is essentially correct. While I could have made him 'brighter white,' I don't think that he actually was. I also agree about keeping the ball and the foot. I think I will take out the catch-lights on the final version.


Thanks for processing this! It really looks very different from what I produced...and I like it! Having said that, the colors are a bit redder than I think they were in real life. It is amazing what we can all do with the same image. He really is popping out of the photo. I would like to be able to do the same thing and not play with the color though. Thoughts?

Let's talk about depth of field though and the feet. Personally, I think it looks very natural to have it this way, after-all, you are shooting something that is in three dimensions. It would make sense that the rear foot would be a bit oof as compared to the rest of the face and body. If I had stopped down a couple of more shots, some of that may have been controlled for, but I don't think it should have to be. Thoughts?

Manhattan, New York, NY Pet Photographer

#19768 - 01/17/09 09:06 PM Re: Bindy - about the ball [Re: James Morrissey]
Buddy Thomason Offline

Registered: 10/05/05
Loc: Colorado, USA
Yikes! Yes, it's way too saturated (red and yellow). Sorry about that James. I did that edit quickly on another computer/monitor that I don't personally calibrate.

To facilitate a more credible comparison I put the two (mine now more or less color correted) together side by side.

Other thoughts...
Bindy's left eye contains one (of three) catch lights that I eliminated and a little white dot on the nose that I also cloned (actually healed) away. But it raises a question about catch light control. When possible I really prefer soft boxes. Instead of little dots one gets (when the placement is good) very pleasing shapes.

I agree there are often good reasons to allow the rearward parts to drift into an oof state. I guess, upon further reflection, I wish there was more of the hind quarter visible and I wish it was on the other side. But hey, kids and pets - they are awfully challenging and sometimes you just get what you get and that's it. It happens to me all the time. Eliminating that aspect of the photo as I did in my edit may not result in a net improvement as it introduces other issues - always the sign of a less than good solution!

Looking back over your selected images from the shoot I really like #1 but for the face and head angle - I like the arcing body composition.

What fun... those ears are a hoot!

#19769 - 03/02/09 03:50 PM Re: Bindy - Canon 5dii Portrait [Re: James Morrissey]
Wacky roger Offline

Registered: 01/25/09
Loc: Chama, New Mexico
WOW!!! that last shot knocks my socks off. You done did really gooood with this set.
Wacky roger
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