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#20639 - 04/23/09 12:28 AM Definitely NOT Starting Over [Re: FarleyDog]
AdoptAPet Offline
Tracker

Registered: 02/21/09
Loc: NY
…have come too far for that.

WELCOME BACK!

It’s sad that more than half the thread was lost and I have been trying to think of what’s missing and where we left off. Thank you to Chanthee for recovering what she did.

I know all the Animoto information is gone and there was a lot of interest in that, so Julie you might want to post your link again.

The last post I left was to Julie regarding “Is it Cheating” stating I was shocked that heads could be switched and asked if she could post some examples for me to see. All of this amazes me.

Let me try and catch you up. I will do it in a few separate posts so that this doesn’t get too long winded and boring. Rescue is busier than I have ever seen for April. I have been caring for about 60 on my own (shelters will have 4 full time employees to do that) and needless to say I need pictures of each one of them in order to find them homes.

Before we lost the thread I posted to show that for the first time ever I was able to get pictures of black kitties (they are gone with the missing half of the thread). While the pictures might not have been great, in the past all I could get was a black blob. This was a major accomplishment for me. My photos are definitely getting better, slowly, but surely.

I got homes for the two black kitties I took in! As I previously stated short hair black and short hair brown tabby kittens are the hardest for me to get adopted. There is such an overabundance of them and I can never get a good picture of them. With my new skills I have gotten both the black and tabby cats adopted due to pictures.

I did make my way through the Digital for Dummies book and even attended a photography class that “psmith” found for me given by Steven Hirsch (more on that later).

Here are some samples of where I am at now (and how far I have come):

This first one was chosen, because David will think I did better with the catch lights (I just got lucky)




It’s funny, but for some reason I do not care for any backgrounds that are not solid. Even looking at some of the professional work I personally do not like the animals in front of anything but a solid background. That being said I do have some backgrounds here that are prints and some are rather busy and I usually only use them for holidays. I couldn’t find a solid that I liked and tried this print. It is so busy, but I had people fighting over this kitten (and of course what they are fighting over is the picture):



Here is one of the pregnant moms I rescued, “Fred.” Yes the shelter thought is was an altered male. SURPRISE! She steals and hides babies, so she has been renamed “Merlin.”



And just a couple more to show you the progress:





I still cannot control my lights. David wanted me to get the catch lights at 12 and 7 (I think – that too is gone from the thread) and I have no clue how do accomplish that. I have had my lights up, down, in and out and regardless of where they are (it also depends on the pose of the kitty) I can't get the catch lights where David wants them.

Anyway, I am glad we are back up and running.

Barbra

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#20640 - 04/23/09 12:46 AM Re: Definitely NOT Starting Over [Re: AdoptAPet]
Julie Offline
Addict

Registered: 06/08/05
Loc: TN
MUCH improved!!!!! Huge strides!!
_________________________
http://JuliePoole.com

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#20641 - 04/23/09 12:47 AM Back Light - Need help :-) [Re: AdoptAPet]
AdoptAPet Offline
Tracker

Registered: 02/21/09
Loc: NY
I might be getting a wee bit over confident as I agreed to rescue quite a few black babies (and 2 nursing moms that have a lot of black kittens). They will be arriving next weekend.

The one thing I am certain of from what I have experienced thus far is that I must have a back light set up to photograph these kittens. Preston suggested a great (inexpensive) slave flash for me, but it won’t work with my lights (I have the bulbs on stands with umbrellas). Since I can’t use a flash (I shoot too many blue eyed kitties and get very bad red eye) I need to find a way to do this. Does anyone have any ideas?

Jim – I know you mentioned something about shop lights at one time (not sure if that is in the lost part of the thread), but is there something I could use for a back light with the lights I have now?

Barbra

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#20642 - 04/23/09 01:02 AM Re: Back Light - Need help :-) [Re: AdoptAPet]
Bright Eyes Offline
Wanderer

Registered: 01/09/07
Loc: Maryland
Barbra these new photos are beautiful but if you are posting them on Petfinder, I would suggest cropping out the props as much as possible. You have really made leaps and strides. Personally, I agree with Helmi Flick's philosophy of 'the cat and nothing but the cat' because they are so beautiful and props are just distracting. If you look at that gorgeous little yellow tabby, she is lost in all those flowers. It's a pretty picture but it is done in the style of a 'still life' and so it doesn't actually highlight the animated life (cat) within the photo. But hey that's just my opinion, don't let me shoot you down.

Black animals, I would shoot in natural light so you can get the red highlights in their fur. A cat breeder told me they don't really have solid black animals but are really dark brown. So catch those highlights and they could work for you so you don't get black blobs :-)
_________________________
Inspired By Paws

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#20643 - 04/24/09 09:07 PM Re: Definitely NOT Starting Over [Re: Julie]
AdoptAPet Offline
Tracker

Registered: 02/21/09
Loc: NY
Quote:

MUCH improved!!!!! Huge strides!!




Thanks so much! I really am trying sooooooo hard. I take and try all the information and advice everyone on here suggests and it seems to be working. :-)

Barbra

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#20644 - 04/24/09 09:30 PM Re: Back Light - Need help :-) [Re: Bright Eyes]
AdoptAPet Offline
Tracker

Registered: 02/21/09
Loc: NY
Quote:

I would suggest cropping out the props as much as possible. Personally, I agree with Helmi Flick's philosophy of 'the cat and nothing but the cat' because they are so beautiful and props are just distracting.




I used to use props in EVERY photo for the rescues. When I came to this forum and started looking at everyone's work (including Helmi's) I immediately changed my opinion and agree that with the quality of the professional photos the props are very distracting, so I started shooting without them.

After quite a bit of trial and error I am now positive that when trying to find homes for the rescues the props DO help (if used correctly). There are a bazillion orange, short hair tabby kittens out there. The photo is what separated my orange tabby from the others. Last week I posted a picture of the tabby with no props. I had no interest in him. This week I posted the pictures with the flowers and received so many inquiries on him and so many comments about how great the photos are. He goes to his adoptive home on Sunday and the woman is traveling SIX hours one way to get him!

Even the picture of the little orange tabby above on the busy background got so much attention. That totally shocked me. While I am in agreement with you about the cat and nothing but the cat (and maybe once my photos get better it will change) there is no doubt that right now the props are helping to get these kitties homes.

Now if I can only figure out how to set up a back light….

Barbra

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#20645 - 04/26/09 06:08 PM Strobes vs. Hot Lights [Re: AdoptAPet]
AdoptAPet Offline
Tracker

Registered: 02/21/09
Loc: NY
Does everyone use strobes? I found a very interesting site on the net all about strobe lighting and there were several videos as well. Do all professionals use strobes over hot or constant lighting (not that I can switch because it seems the strobes are cost prohibitive)?

It seems like strobes would be much harder to work with, because the lights aren't on until you take your shot. How do you even meter the lighting?

LOL the more I read the more confusing it gets!

Barbra

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#20646 - 04/26/09 11:35 PM Re: Strobes vs. Hot Lights [Re: AdoptAPet]
DavidRamey Offline
Veteran

Registered: 01/05/06
Loc: Alaska
I would say that more pros use strobes than hot lights. But some pros do use hot lights.

Strobes are cooler to operate and use less electricity and the color balance of the light is more consitent than hot lights.

To meter the light, you use a hand held light meter.
_________________________
David Ramey Photography

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#20647 - 04/27/09 12:35 PM Re: Strobes vs. Hot Lights [Re: DavidRamey]
Julie Offline
Addict

Registered: 06/08/05
Loc: TN
Barbra, even with the melodramatic lives depend on it, a backlight is not going to be the answer to save more lives. It is a great tool for more dramatic photographs.

If you are not to the point to know how to use your camera in manual and to be able to use basic light ratios, a backlight is just going to slow down your efforts to get the photos you want.

What I was saying in my last post was to concentrate on what you are doing so much more right now, than you were. The photos with the flowers are very cute and very good to get people interested. Crop them closer so there is less flowers and more cats. A backlight would have absolutely no impact on those photos.

Sometimes we can overthink things and think new equipment will solve the problem. I think you have come darn close to solving the problem and doing so with the gear you currently have available.

What Helmi and Psmith do are show portraits that are for sale. That show off the cat's structure and excellence of its breed type.

I shoot my pet portraits differently than my show portraits. Often I do not use a backlight at all. Develop your style and develop one that makes people want to adopt your cats. The last few photos would do just that. I do not care for the printed fabric. The rest I think are wonderful
_________________________
http://JuliePoole.com

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#20648 - 04/28/09 02:00 PM Re: Strobes vs. Hot Lights [Re: Julie]
I_See_Spots Offline
Tracker

Registered: 04/04/09
I've been following this thread since the beginning, and I just wanted to say that as a newbie, who is just starting to learn more about photography, I appreciate the questions you are asking Barbara. You are doing a great thing for these animals as well.
_________________________
Geri

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