Photography Tips: How to Photograph Dark Coloured Dogs

Photographing black dogs is one of the things that I hear beginner photographers struggling with the most. Photographing dark dogs without losing the detail in their coats can be a real challenge, but here are a few helpful tips to make it easier!

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1. Slightly over expose your photos to bring out the detail.
By slightly increasing your exposure, you will be able to see more detail in your dogs coat. If you are using aperture or shutter priority modes, you can do this by using exposure compensation to increase the exposure by around 1/2 a stop. If you are shooting manual then you can just use a wider aperture, slightly slower shutter speed or raise the ISO.

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2. Lighting is everything.
For black dogs, the easiest way to bring out the detail in their coats is to have the light behind you. This really brings out the shine in their coats! You can also try and put them in the shade where the lighting is more even which will reduce any harsh shadows for a nice even look.

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3. Watch out for the catch lights!
Catch lights are the reflections of light in the dogs eyes. This really makes them pop. It is especially important for black dogs as without catch lights, it can be difficult to see their eyes at all.

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But what about black and white dogs?
The trick with photographing dogs that have both light and dark fur in their coats, or for when you are photographing dogs of extreme opposite colours, is to photograph them in nice even light. If it’s a bright day, I recommend finding a shadey area to put them in which will make it easier to expose for both colours correctly.

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For DSLR Owners:
If you are using a DSLR, I highly recommend shooting in the RAW file format – especially with very light or very dark dogs. You should get your images as close to perfect in camera as possible, however sometimes this just doesn’t happen! Raw allows you a lot more adjustability in your photos when combined with an editing software such as Photoshop or Lightroom, which can be useful for bringing out shadows and reducing highlights. Small adjustments in post production can mean the difference between a very average image and a brilliant image.

Do you have more photography questions you would like answered? Leave me a comment below and I’d be happy to put together an article to answer it.