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Dogs are one of the best photography subjects ever given how energetic, unpredictable, and joyful they are. The result could either be eye-catching or chaotic or maybe, both. But what about black dogs?
It is no secret that black dogs stay longer in rescue centers than dogs of other colors. Are you wondering why? One of the sad reasons is because black dogs are generally harder to photograph. Taking photos of them is way harder than white dogs, brown dogs, and the rest.
So, if it happens that you have a black dog, how will you capture stunning photos of it? This article will give you some tips on how you could take images of your black dog without so much hassle. Ready? Take a look at the following:
1. Lighting and Catchlights
If you think that bright overhead sunlight is great when taking photos of black dogs, then most probably, you are wrong. Very bright places are not friendly to your iPhone’s camera. And besides, this will make your black dog and the very bright light battling against each other which will result in an unideal photograph.
If it happens that the only place where you can photograph your black dog is with the sun directly overhead, the best thing that you can do is to bring your dog in to somewhere shady. Just make sure that you choose an area that is evenly shaded with a soft light covering. If possible, take the photos on a cloudy day where the light is softer.
Another thing that you can do is to look for catchlights in your black dog’s eyes. Catchlights refer to the white reflections of light in your dog’s eyes which you can see in the camera.
Without catchlight, your dog will look like a black bob. If you can’t find a catchlight to your current position, then try another position. You can also use a selfie ring light to create an artificial catchlight on their eyes.
2. Choose the right background.
The background plays a pivotal role in the overall outcome of your image. It either makes or breaks your shot so you have to make sure that you are going to choose the right background for your black dog. Your black dog could easily lose its details due to its color which means that you need to choose a background that will not detract the situation further.
Ideally, your background should be soft and minimal and not a busy one. Take for instance a vinyl brick background or a vinyl wood background. This will help your black dog stand out from the environment. Your dog’s color is a strong one which requires a lighter and less busy background.
f you can’t find an ideal place, the best thing that you can do is minimize the chaos by using the bokeh effect or produce a rim light. You can use a portable, handheld LED and place it behind your black dog to highlight its outline. You can also use a selfie ring light if you want a stationary lighting source. Creating a rim light is a good trick that you can do most especially when you are doing a studio shot.
But the rim light effect is not just for studio shots alone, you can also have it even when you are shooting outdoors. You can do this by putting your light source which is most probably the sun behind and just off to the side of your black dog. Doing so will enable the light to catch the edges of the black dog that will create a glowing outline around your dog.
3. Focus on the eyes.
The eyes are the windows to the soul. With that being said alone, focusing on the eyes of your black dog when taking a photograph is already important. This is because, by chance, the eyes could be the only part of your black dog which is of a different color. The contrast between your black dog’s face and the color of his eyes can create an absolutely stunning image if you do it right by capturing it in focus, expressive and properly exposed.
The thing is, capturing the eyes of a dog is difficult due to their long coats. If that is the case, your best option is to use water. No, you do not have to let your black dog go for a swim or you even don’t have to give him a bath. You could simply wipe a wet flannel around your dog’s eyes. But if your dog loves the water, then that would be better.
Another way to which you can capture the eyes of your black dog is to shoot it from above. This will make your dog look at you which in return, will make his furs fall back from behind.
Meanwhile, if you want to experiment with other angles, you can work with more material using clip-on lenses for your iPhone. Let’s face it—if you have an older iPhone, you have a lot of limitations when it comes to zoom or taking shots from multiple angles. You can overcome this by investing in a macro or wide-angle lens.
This 2-in-1 clip-on lens for iPhone, for instance, has a 0.45X super wide angle & 12.5X macro lens. This lets you easily take a group photo and macro shots of tiny objects at the same time! Of course, if you have more than one black doggo or a tiny Chihuahua pup, this is ideal for you.
4. Enjoy the shade.
Too much contrast is not exactly what you need in your images. This is because harsh sunlight could give your black dog a bright glare on some parts of his coat and solid black shadows in other parts. Furthermore, there will be little to no detail that can stand out in between the two cases. To soften the light, bring your pet in a shady place. This will also make the exposure more even at that.
Keep in mind though that when you are in a shady area, in as much as possible, avoid brightly dappled light. Brightly dappled light has the same distracting effect as shooting in direct bright sunlight. To make sure you won’t capture photos with harsh lighting, you can also invest in a parabolic umbrella. This will help soften the overwhelming brightness of the sun outside. You can also use a parabolic softbox to help your furbaby stand out without losing that beautiful and authentic greenery background.
Another good thing that you can do to get a nice, even light is to strategically angle your black dog towards the light source. If you are taking the image of your black dog by the window, your best option is to angle your dog towards the window. This will help bring out and highlight the features of your black dog.
5. Don’t be afraid of silhouettes and shadows.
Most probably, you are trying very hard to put into photograph all the amazing features and dimensions of your black dog but you should also be open to what is considered the easiest way to photograph your black dog – through silhouettes and shadows.
Always keep in mind that photographing black dogs is like having a walking silhouette with you. Feel free to play and have fun with it. Place them against windows or sunrises and sunsets where they will surely stand out magnificently.
Take advantage of the magical moments where your black dog walks along the pathway against the gorgeous blue sky or when silhouetted against the door of your house as they look outside. Take the image of your black dog that runs along the white sands of the beach during sunrise or sunset. Enjoy the rare moments wherein the eyes and some other face details of your black dog creates a shadow. Such things could all give you spectacular images.
6. Control focus and exposure.
Knowing how to control the focus and exposure of your iPhone’s camera when shooting your black dog could help you come up with crisp, maximum quality images. Focus refers to how sharp or clear your black dog is on the image. On the other side, exposure refers to the amount of light that enters your camera or simply, how bright or dark the image is.
When taking a photo of your black dog using your iPhone, the very first thing that you have to do is to lock the focus. This is because your iPhone’s camera automatically focuses and refocuses. This feature is known as the auto-focus, which means that it is your phone which decides the most important part of the whole scenario. More often than now, this feature works fine but if you really want to take the image of your black dog into the next level, then you need to have full control over the focus and exposure.
You can lock the focus of your iPhone’s camera by tapping on the face of your black dog on the screen then hold your finger until the AE/AF LOCK message along with the yellow square appears on the screen. To unlock it, simply tap anywhere on your iPhone’s screen. Once you have locked the focus of your camera, then you could already adjust the exposure on the area where you have locked the focus. You can do this by tapping and holding the yellow box then slide the sun icon up and down to get your preferred level of brightness or darkness.
7. Use portrait mode.
If your iPhone is one of the newest iPhone models, then you have the advantage of using the portrait mode. Using portrait mode can actually bring your photography skills into a different whole new level. This is because the portrait mode usually creates a bokeh or blurry background which makes your black dog stand out. Using the portrait mode will also help you capture all the other elements for an additional effect in your photo.
Furthermore, the portrait mode will give your black dog a perfectly sharp face with a beautifully blurry background. It is most useful when you are taking the image in a busy, messy, or distracting background.
Portrait shots also turn out better with the right artificial lighting. If you want a secondary light source for that professional studio result, you can also add a professional studio fill light. Particularly, you should get a fill light on a stand if you’re taking a portrait shot of your doggo. You can easily adjust the light and it’s suitable for outdoor use.
Want a smaller, more convenient light source? You can also get a clip-on LED video light for your iPhone. You can use it as a secondary lighting source if you’re not satisfied with the ambient light in your room.
8. Use camera panning.
If your black dog can’t stay still for a few minutes, then, sure enough, you will have a hard time getting a static photo of him. But that does not mean that you can’t get an incredibly amazing image at all. You still can by using a technique that is used in motion photography to capture your dog’s true and active form. The technique is known as camera panning.
To use the camera panning technique in your iPhone, hold your iPhone steady in either portrait or landscape mode. As your black dog moves from one place to another, follow its movements while taking photos of him. You may not get the technique perfect right away but once you have mastered it or once you have done it correctly, the result will be your dog will be the one in focus while the background will appear blurry.
You could also use the burst mode feature of your camera by holding down the shutter or volume up button of your iPhone. With burst mode, your camera will take different succeeding images of your dog then your iPhone will process it to select and group all the images into one master file. The best shots are the ones that will be displayed but if you want to select a specific image, you can just simply click on the “Select” button.
Another solution is to use a gimbal for iPhones. We recommend you get the 3-axis gimbal by DJI Osmo. It can provide you with a wide variety of camera work, which is ideal if you have an active furbaby. This gimbal can let you use slow motion, dolly zoom, sport mode, timelapse, hyper-lapse, and more.
9. Let your black dog be a dog.
There are dogs who really love the camera in as much as there are dogs that hate, if not loathe, the camera. You can use the “stay” sign to keep your dog still but if that does not work, then you do not have total control as to what your dog will do or how it will behave during the shot. You don’t actually have to fret about it. That is totally okay. Unlike humans, dogs are actually expected to act differently most especially when in front of the camera.
The tendency is that your dog won’t look into your camera so your best choice left is to hold a treat for him right beside or anywhere near your camera. In case you do not have a dog treat with you, you can make high-pitched clicky sounds, sing, throw wild hand gestures, and anything else that would capture your dog’s attention.
10. Edit your images.
There’s no harm in editing the images that you have taken as long as you do it to enhance its overall look. Besides, editing can make a dull-looking image stunning when you do it right. Editing the images of your black dog could give your pet more emphasis and could highlight its features even more. You could adjust the light and exposure if needed and you could apply filters too if necessary.
There are a lot of editing apps that you can choose from. Make sure that you pick the best one. If you know how to use Adobe Photoshop, then that is even better.
Regardless of what your dog’s color is, you should not keep yourself from taking their stunning shots. So what if your dog is black, does that make him less adorable? Definitely no, right? Sure, black dogs are harder to photograph but are you brave enough to take the challenge?
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