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My first shoot #8451
05/18/07 02:22 PM
05/18/07 02:22 PM
Joined: Jan 2006
Washington
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Dee Dee Offline OP
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Dee Dee  Offline OP
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Washington
I finally got the images up from my first shoot at a dog match. I learned a lot, like not having enough of the muslin on the floor and how it is very hard to crop to look good on some poses. I really hate that the different print sizes cut off the ends on some of them and are longer on others it would have been nice if they just shrunk at the same ratio so you don't have to worry about leaving extra to allow for cropping on different sizes. The longer format doesn't lend itself well to one subject shots.

I would love to get suggestions if anyone has any. I plan to get larger backdrops to cover the foreground better and the grooming table Julie suggested, I think will help a lot too.

Here is the link

http://www.murryphotography.com/events/wendys_may_07/index.html


My Web Site www.deedeemurry.com
Re: My first shoot [Re: Dee Dee] #8452
05/18/07 03:21 PM
05/18/07 03:21 PM
Joined: Apr 2006
Illinois
Peggy Sue Offline
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Peggy Sue  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2006
Illinois
Dee Dee, you are doing a wonderful job. You have a great eye for the dogs. I understand why you might want a comforter under the muslin for cushion. I might suggest you get a rubber backed rug that will add comfort but not so much bulk to the feet of the dogs. Bathroom type that are very washable for those accidents.

I might also watch out for crotch shots of the people like the first dog. People love photos of their dogs but if they do not look good they will not respond well to that image.

I love what you are doing with these shots. Very nice work. I would bet they were thrilled with images.


Peggy Sue
Re: My first shoot [Re: Peggy Sue] #8453
05/19/07 06:49 AM
05/19/07 06:49 AM
Joined: Mar 2007
virginia beach, virginia, usa
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bob swanson Offline
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bob swanson  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2007
virginia beach, virginia, usa
You did very well. Every time you go out is a learning experience (if your'e lucky). I know I mainly shoot couples but I have, thru experience learned to shoot a normal ( to my eye ) shot of the subject and then a wide shot even showing the background stand, etc. so that I might have an easier time of formating the image to the enlargement size I need. Also with whatever experience I have photographing pets I do realize that they don't stay where you want them to. www.bsvirginian.smugmug.com

Re: My first shoot [Re: bob swanson] #8454
05/20/07 12:03 AM
05/20/07 12:03 AM
Joined: Feb 2005
Manhattan, New York, New York
James Morrissey Offline
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James Morrissey  Offline
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Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Feb 2005
Manhattan, New York, New York
Hey DeeDee,

Very nice shots indeed. I think I most enjoy the solo pet photographs - but that is a bias of mine. I think that I saw some color issues with the humans though. For example, in the first set with the cattle dog, the owner looks a bit on the purple side to me. I see the same issue in the photographs with the Goldie and with Luckie the Dog (in a slightly lesser amount).

Some things to look our for when posing humans - watch the hands. While it is very natural to want to put your hands around the dog, there are times when an arm just looks like a meat hook (pardon the similie). The shots where you see the flat of the woman's hand are much better, in my opinion.

Some shots I really liked:
In the Corgi Section - #18. REALLY CUTE. You did a very nice job framing the two guys.

In the Goldie Section -#6 with the Goldie on top of the owner...AWESOME shot. Very creative composition.

In the Newfoundland Section - pretty much all of them, LOL. What an awesome subject. #s 2, 4, and 12 are definitely at the top of my list. Make sure you keep the counter for the natural rotation that folks tend to have (for example, I generally have to rotate everything about 2 degrees when I shoot hand-held).

The Terv - Wow - what a beautiful dog. #3 and 5 are my favorite. You did a great job capturing the shadow tones on this guy shooting against a dark background. Well done.

Thanks for sharing - really well done! I hope that I do half as well in my shoot tomorrow (it will be my first pet portrait in weeks).

James

Re: My first shoot [Re: James Morrissey] #8455
05/21/07 08:34 AM
05/21/07 08:34 AM
Joined: Jun 2005
TN
Julie Offline
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Julie  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2005
TN
Dee Dee, I think you did a great job. How have the clients reacted?

The muslin backdrop looks really nice. I have a harder time with muslins, as they often look too wrinkly for my taste. Also, how did you light the backdrop?

Re: My first shoot [Re: Dee Dee] #8456
05/21/07 04:32 PM
05/21/07 04:32 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Florida
Jim Garvie Offline
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Jim Garvie  Offline
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Florida
DeeDee,
the shots look great. I love the lighting and the dogs look good -- especially the Terv which, as James says, is outstanding.

A few questions/comments:
Did you shoot RAW or jpeg? I find that shooting RAW and balancing color for the first shot (always a neutral towel or cloth) will allow me to save it as a shoot parameter and then use the same setting for all photos. I use PhotoShop and ACR.

Who did the baiting?

You can never have too much backdrop. I have 12X10 ft backdrops (WXH) and they're never big enough. For National Specialties, I actually build my backdrops and they're still not wide/tall enough. That's why God invented the cloning tool.

Very nice portraits. As James said, make sure that if you include people in the shot that they look as good as the dog. People will look at themselves and judge the image based on that.

I think you should be very happy with this effort. Now, to see if it makes you any $$$.

Jim


Jim Garvie
www.jagphoto.biz
Re: My first shoot [Re: Jim Garvie] #8457
05/22/07 02:58 PM
05/22/07 02:58 PM
Joined: Jan 2006
Washington
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Dee Dee Offline OP
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Dee Dee  Offline OP
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Joined: Jan 2006
Washington
Thanks for the great input!!! Feel free to be harsh I have very thick skin, I am soaking in all the advice.

Ohhhh nooo Peggy Sue...I got CROTCH SHOTS. LOL! I see that now. I have no clue how to pose people they were basically posing themselves, I will be on crotch watch from now on. THanks for the suggestions on the flooring, I learned that lesson the hard way, that is a great idea I will get a big rug. I am going to be ordering the grooming table Julie suggested too, when I see the photographers at the shows they always have a table and their camera set up at a certain height and they don't have to change anything. My tripod also gave me fits it wouldn't sit straight so I kept tipping it by hand...sigh.

Thanks Bob, I did crop these down a bit sometimes too much I will have to learn how to pose each number of subjects better to fit the different formats. I found I didn't have nearly as much backdrop as I'd like but I think it will help when I get the table as the subjects then cannot be creeping forward and off the floor area I want them to be on.

Thanks so much for all that James. I looked at the lady in the cattle dog shots and she actually looks very golden to me, I don't see any purple? It's so hard with monitors....does anyone else see purples on their monitors? I have not printed any of those out yet (she was excited and wanted one of each, over 20 but when I sent her to the order form that shows the cost I haven't heard back from her yet LOL). I see what you mean about the hand! Thank you those are the kinds of comments I need to hear. That corgi shot was my favorite too, I wasn't too excited about most of the shots myself I like the ones though that aren't the norm. Although, the owners did order several but not that one, maybe the more "artsy" shots aren't a big of sellers at least to the show crowd. The golden pose was totally the girls idea she said she'd been wanting to try that for a long time. I should have used the darker backdrop though the dog got lost.

"Make sure you keep the counter for the natural rotation that folks tend to have (for example, I generally have to rotate everything about 2 degrees when I shoot hand-held)."

I'm not sure what you mean by this one? I'd love to hear though it sounds like a good tip!

Thanks on the Terv, really cute puppy I had to correct in photoshop a lot more than I would have liked. Another thing to fix for the next time around.

Julie I know what you mean I dont' like wrinkles either, but it is so much easier to carry muslin around and I like being able to drape it forward to become the floor under them. I am going to try bringing the dog farther from the backdrop and see if that helps hide the wrinkles. I didn't light the backdrop actually I put a spot light effect on in photoshop. Is that a no no? I wish I could light it like this in real life but I don't think I could...the clients all went nuts over them so far but then this was the first photo shoot like this most of them have had opportunity to do. I wasn't at all happy with the outcome myself, I see so many things I should have done differently but it's all part of the learning process.

Hey Jim! It's great see you here and to get your input. I shot jpeg. I know I should shoot RAW, but as it is it takes me a few days to get through all the shots with jpeg (I work 12 plus hours a day on the computer plus paint at night and walk my dog for an hour so I don't have a lot of extra time). Opening, looking at and processing RAW images takes 3-4 times longer than jpegs, it would take me weeks to get to all of them. I tried some RAW shots and also didn't see the benefit of raw I found the controls in the program it used to be hard to adjust and would always end up loading it into photoshop anyway where I was more comfortable (I know it has to do a better job I just was not able to figure it out). What is ACR? Also all of the images were pretty much the same color balance as shot I was just getting fancy and putting warming filters and spotlights on some in photoshop. I'm very open to suggestions on this though!

I have no helpers so I was doing the baiting unless there was a spouse or friend helping the person posing the dog. I would love to be able to stand away from the camera with some kind of remote thing that would set off the camera and strobes while allowing me to be wherever I want, baiting dogs but I suppose even if they made one, that wouldn't be feasible as how would you focus. I totally agree on the backdrops I am going to get 10 x 20 from now on. I spent waaay too much time in photoshop cloning in backdrops! I skipped some floors as they were more complicated and not worth the time for the price, I will clone them in on ones that sell.

Thanks, yes I see I need to be way more aware of what the people are doing. I just will not be happy taking the usual posed shots of people and their dogs, I really want to do something more artsy (I want to do horses with a backdrop but many problems to work out there). And I don't think show people are going to want artsy. They want more traditional and something that makes their dog look good conformation wise.

Thanks everyone for taking the time to comment and help. As I said I personally was not all that happy with these but I do see what needs to be worked on.

Oh one more question, what aperture do you guys usually shoot at? I was down at 2.8 (I hear a collective groan out there LOL) thinking I wanted the shallow DOF look but I got a lot of faces OOF! Also does anyone know of a good tutorial on the sekonic light meter? I went through the whole manual with it and still have no idea how to use it or how it is supposed to work. It uses too many terms it doesnt' explain and I have no idea what they are talking about. I would love to learn to use it, I took a lot of practice exposure shots of each dog before I could start shooting and even then I overexposed too much.


My Web Site www.deedeemurry.com
Re: My first shoot [Re: Dee Dee] #8458
05/22/07 04:45 PM
05/22/07 04:45 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Florida
Jim Garvie Offline
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Jim Garvie  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2005
Florida
DeeDee,
ACR is Adobe Camera Raw and it's integral to CS2 and the new CS3. It really does make editing images just as fast as jpegs and you can batch process all the images once you've set the color/white balance for one. Believe me, I appreciate the time involved in editing. I shot the Rottie National in April and had to process over 2,000 RAW files. However, once I had them as proofs, getting out the final orders took as long as it takes to drop in the sign and print.

I shoot my studio stuff at ISO 100 or 200 (depending on the ambient lighting in the room) and at F8, 1/200 sec. For on-camera flash, I shoot at F8, 1/125 sec. I use F8 because it's the sweet spot for my lens (Canon 17-40 F4L) and because it gives me greater DOF so that slight variations in focus aren't an issue.

Frankly, I like the crinkled look of muslin that's been crushed into its carrying bag but that's up to individual tastes. It also gives me a barometer of how much (actually how little) adjustment to give skin tones in Digital Gem Airbrush Pro when I'm doing people portraits. If the wrinkles in the backdrop start to smooth out, then it's too much

I'm not quite sure why you're using the Sekonic meter. Is it a flash meter? Incident or reflective? Need more info.

Again, good start and you have the best tool of all -- a great eye.

Jim


Jim Garvie
www.jagphoto.biz
Re: My first shoot [Re: Jim Garvie] #8459
05/23/07 12:59 PM
05/23/07 12:59 PM
Joined: Jan 2006
Washington
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Dee Dee Offline OP
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Dee Dee  Offline OP
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Joined: Jan 2006
Washington
That must have been the program I was using then when I tried out the RAW, I just need to learn how it works then. I usually will open 17 images at a time in photoshop and then quickly delete the ones I don't want and save the others where I want them. And I could click between one and another if I wasn't sure which to keep. I didn't seem to be able to do that with the ACR program?

I have wondered about batch processing, so, say if you have a bunch of indoor shots under flourescent lighting and they vary as the light cycles between gold and blue, could you still batch process those easily since they would all need different treatment?

I will go learn more about it, if it works well for you then I'm sure it would for me too. Just a matter of figuring out all it can do. Thanks Jim.

Thanks too for posting your settings when shooting. That makes sense I don't know what I was thinking shooting at F/2.8. I'm anxious to try again.

I used to really hate the look of crinkled muslin too but I'm getting used to it and it doesn't always show all that much. I do fold it, I need to bunch it because the fold lines are definitely not good. I really like the versatility of muslin. I wish they could come up with a fabric that didn't wrinkle quite so much. I also wish I could find a more natural looking pattern, like
http://www.yannarthusbertrand.com/yann2/affichage_bestiaux.php?reference=BCH-254&pais=

I love his backdrops I'm sure he either made or had those made special.

Yes the sekonic flash master L-358. I bought one but cannot figure out how to use it. I would like to so I didn't have to take test shots with each dog. The manual doesn't help me much since I don't know enough about it, it will tell you to put in this number for this thing but I don't know what "that thing" is or which one of them fit what I am doing...I need a flash meters for dummies book!


My Web Site www.deedeemurry.com
Re: My first shoot [Re: Dee Dee] #8460
05/24/07 07:54 AM
05/24/07 07:54 AM
Joined: Mar 2005
Florida
Jim Garvie Offline
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Jim Garvie  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2005
Florida
DeeDee,
first the meter: I guess if you're shooting available light, getting an incident reading (where you hold the meter at the subject and read the light hitting it) would be helpful. But that begs the question of why you're shooting available light indoors if you don't have to.

If you're using flash, why not just take some test shots and look at the results on the camera. Use the histogram if you can't tell from the actual images.

As for ACR and PhotoShop: there are a lot of very good RAW conversion programs out there -- PhaseOne, Bibble, Lightroom, Aperture -- but I stick within the PhotoShop program for simplicity and consistency. Once I set up in a location, I take a photo of a white towel and that's the first image I make adjustments to. Then, when I get the towel image to turn out white, I save the settings in ACR as something like "PerryPoodles" and that's my setting for every other shot under those lighting conditions.

What I like about shooting RAW is that I can adjust color balance, contrast and skin tones and apply sharpening later with plugins that do a better job than the camera does with its jpeg algorithms.

As for backdrops, it's fairly easy to find raw muslin at any JoAnn's and then to dye it the color(s) you prefer. But, if you don't like the crinkles, you might want to consider canvas. As a painter, you'd like this. The only downside is that canvas is very heavy to tote around and you need to put it on a frame to keep it stretched.

I've found that the key to portraits -- whether it be of people or pets -- is to control the lighting. Even if you're doing available light (not recommended), try to stay in one location so the light doesn't change. That way you can have consistency in the images.

Cheers,

Jim


Jim Garvie
www.jagphoto.biz
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