I'm not sure there are many tips, much less "tricks". I've been taking photos of my black Labrador for more than 7 years now.
What do you mean by "nice pictures"? Are you referring to technically nice i.e. good exposure/composition, or nice as in tips on how to get the animal looking good for a photograph? Please be a little more specific.
I'm mostly thinking about how to get it to look technically nice. I find it very difficult to take nice pictures of dark dogs because they tend to become all black in the picture, or get very much unnatural light in the fur (especially with the flash on the camera (I have a canon eos 60D) but now I got another flash to use instead (Canon speedlite 320EX) so it's not too bad, but I'm not sure if I'm pleased. I do turn it away from the animal to get bounce light instead of direct light). I find it especially hard indoors, because of the lack of natural light. But I'm not very experienced when it comes to taking pictures of dogs, so any tips on how to get the animal to look good is also very much appreciated
Firstly, what camera do you have, a DSLR or a point and shoot?
I'm mostly thinking about how to get it to look technically nice. I find it very difficult to take nice pictures of dark dogs because they tend to become all black in the picture
Okay, in my experience, if you want to take good photos (in terms of light) of dogs indoors you're going to want to photograph them when during the day and try and place them close to a large window that lets a lot of light in. It's best to do this on a cloudy day, but not grey cloud. If you have any large plain white walls, try and make these the background. Example 1:[link] each of those three photos were taken with Chloe (my dog) in front of some big French windows. I still had to add half a stop of exposure in ACR, which actually evened out the light a bit more. I used ISO 1000/ f/5.6/ and 1/40 for the shutter. The photos were hand-held. Example 2:[link] this was another hand-held, although I did use the floor to steady my arms. I also had to add another stop and a half of light in ACR. The thing thing with taking photos of dark animals indoors is that you need a fast enough shutter speed to freeze slight movements, but it can't be too fast or the photo will be underexposed. The following photo was taken in the evening (no window light) with only the kitchen lights, because I didn't use flash and there was no white in the scene to reflect light: [link] I had to add a whooping 2.2 stops of light in ACR. Example 3:[link] light shining in through the windows but the harsh rays seemed to miss her, 1/30 second shutter at ISO 1600, hand-held of course.
Generally, I would avoid using flash indoors for animals unless you can diffuse it considerably. As I'm sure you've noticed dogs eyes catch the light and it seems to make the eyes glow quite a lot, which looks as unusual as red eye on humans.
Outdoors is generally easy. You still have to pay attention to lighting, but if you just want to capture your dog(s) having fun then you don't have to worry so much. All these were taken just after midday in direct sunlight with varying focal lengths from 170-500mm, all ISO 200, and 1/640 shutter f/6.3 aperture: [link]
Start by metering on the darkest area and then open the aperture two stops from the metered reading. Use a three shot bracket closing the aperture by a half-stop between each shot (giving a series with exposures of -2, -1.5, -1).
"Start by metering on the darkest area and then close the aperture two stops from the metered reading. Use a three shot bracket opening the aperture by a half-stop between each shot (giving a series with exposures of -2, -1.5, -1)."
Unless they want to make an HDR - which leads (mostly) to even worse results...
I've been around some. Being more selective in my posts recently - mostly because I haven't had much spare time. My daughters came home from their respective colleges (Oxford and Marymount) during holiday break and I spent a bunch of time with them.
Had enough time to get a wicked case of the flu though...
MichaelRowlandsonFeatured By OwnerJan 10, 2013Professional Photographer
Check your metering, you need to underexpose by around half to a full stop as you camera will want to overexpose by a stop. The camera sensor always wants to expose the image for 50% grey keeping details in lights as well as dark's but if you point your sensor at a subject that has black fur it will want to make it 50% grey by overexposing it. Thus you will need to underexpose by half to a full stop to keep it black.