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Thomas Dosik's picture

Winter Dog

This guy is my most photographed subject--he doesn't complain about getting his picture taken the way the rest of the family does. Its always hard to get exposure correct for a dark brown and white dog in the winter. If I get his face exposed well everything else gets blown out. If the rest isn't blown out, his face is too dark to see any detail. I am always pushing the limits of the "shadows" and "highlights" sliders in Lightroom.

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I'm feeling with you as my cat has black fur.

Matthias Kirk's picture

First world problems...
My dogs are all BLACK and white.

This certainly is a case were a case where a modern foll frame camera comes in handy to deal with the dynamic range (which I haven't got)

If I shoot in hard light I make sure It hits their face and then underexpose to not blow out the whites, but usually I shoot in open shade or overcast conditions.

I spot meter +2.3EV on the white coat and that gives me the sweet spot for post work as it just keeps the highlights from blowing out and preserves detail and contrast in the dark areas were it matters. With a brown face I would meter +1.7 or +2 EV.

If I recover highlights in post I get the best results with local exposure/highlight adjustments by brushing over the white areas. That preserves more overall contrast than going wild with the shadow/highlights sliders.

And finally I kinda accept blown highlights as a fact of light with these subjects and don't agonize over them.

Photographing dogs can teach us a lot about exposure...

Thomas Dosik's picture

Thank you! Actual practical information can be surprisingly hard to come by sometimes.