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« Photoshop’s Recovery and Fill Tool | Main | Assembling an image to get the picture you pre-visualized »

Travels with Charlie

Taking a great picture of your pet can be challenging. Here’s one tip I think is important when your friend has both dark and light features.

Getting a good exposure can be difficult if you shoot with direct sunlight (either front or side lit) on your pet. That’s because with the extreme contrast in that kind of lighting situation, either the shadows will be too dark, or the highlights will be blown out. The image below is exposed for highlight detail, and look how the shadows plug up.

The better solution is to have your subject backlit. That reduces the contrast so the film or digital sensor can handle the range of exposure from shadow to highlight. Also, it will create some nice highlights in the hair or fur at the back edges, separating your pet from the background and adding a sense of depth. The top photograph shows that approach.

Just look at the difference in this portrait of Charlie. And just think how much happier he was without having to squint!

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