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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 27 Sep 2010 (Monday) 13:58
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Taking photos of black dogs

218 posts
Likes: 8
Joined Sep 2006
Sep 27, 2010 13:58 |  #1

I have a flat coated retriever puppy. And I want to take great shots with him. My golden wasn't much of a problem. He looked great in the sun, in the dark, in the snow and so on. But either way, my flat looks like black thing in the way in the photo. If you know what I mean. ;)

Not only is he black, but he's also a 10 week old puppy. That likes to be right in your face or run out of the picture, or won't hold still long enough. Sooo, any tips?

Some of the shots I've done. I kinda find it easier to take photos with my "handycam" (the IXUS), but it's way too much to handle with the 30D. Oh yeah.

Puppy likes to eat everything.


Puppy likes water.


Puppy washing his paws.


number ­ six
"After 40 years still not housebroken, I still piddle on the carpet"
8,926 posts
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Joined May 2007
Location: SF Bay Area
Sep 27, 2010 14:15 |  #2


I have the same problem with my black cat, Basement Kitty.

You're doing about as well as possible in direct sunlight, I'd say. An overcast day will let you get a shot with less contrast.

You might try setting your 30D to the Neutral picture style and experiment with contrast set to -2 or -3.


"Be seeing you."
50D - 17-55 f/2.8 IS - 18-55 IS - 28-105 II USM - 60 f/2.8 macro - 70-200 f/4 L - Sigma flash
I do not piddle on the carpet!

Todd ­ Lambert
I don't like titles
12,625 posts
Gallery: 9 photos
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Joined May 2009
Location: On The Roads Across America
Sep 27, 2010 14:21 |  #3

Try using a flash for fill light, it'll give life to the face (bring out the eyes) as well as add a sheen to their coat.

I have a (much larger) black english lab, I know how tough it can be in various circumstances to get a good shot of em.

By the way, your shots look great.

54,657 posts
Gallery: 60 photos
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Joined Sep 2007
Location: Vancouver, WA USA
Sep 27, 2010 15:38 |  #4

Cute pup -- what exactly are you trying to accomplish differently from the shots you posted?

The first shot is "overexposed", simply because the camera meter was trying to render the pup as "medium gray", which is what happens if an object fills a lot of the frame. Your other two had a slightly opposite effect, where the camera took in more of the scene making the meter tone things down a bit, meaning the dog came out dark.

How to balance things out is a "balancing act":)! You could put your camera into Manual mode, point it at the dog, and adjust your exposure to where the meter indicates "this is dark", in other words, adjust the exposure to where the "marker" is close to -2 EV. If you do that and shoot in consistent light you should get pretty consistent shots where the dog is dark but not horribly underexposed. You can get similar results in other shooting modes, you just have to be aware of the fact that the camera meter does not have the "smarts" to look at a black dog and know to make it black. You have the smarts, though, and can tell the camera what to do.

Two Canon cameras (5DC, 30D), three Canon lenses (24-105, 100-400, 100mm macro)
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Taking photos of black dogs
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