Little Emily the Cockapoo lives in Palo Alto with a devoted family who has watched her grow up alongside her (human) teenage sibling. Now at age 13, she is dealing with some serious health issues and though her spirit is high, her time is short. Though one sibling is a little bigger than the other at this point, their relationship is so strong. When we had this San Francisco dog photography session, Emily's (human) sibling had just returned from college for the Summer, and as he knew Emily's health was failing the bond they shared was so present and beautiful. Everone gathered around the beloved family dog, doting on her in the most approporiate way, forgiving her questionable yet familiar behaviors (barking at passer-bys, wandering into the neighbor's yard, biting the hand that feeds her, etc), and making this Palo Alto dog photography session truly special.
So often I hear people say "I have a black dog. They're just impossible to photograph." Now, if you're using an iPhone or a point and shoot camera, or any kind of camera that uses the dreaded AUTO function- yes. You're right. It will be nearly impossible to create a properly exposed image of a black dog that way. The reason is that black dogs create an enormous amount of contrast within an image, and a camera that is on AUTO EXPOSE is going to really struggle with that much contrast. The problem is, with AUTO EXPOSE your camera is going to want to expose for the lightest thing in the frame, making the general exposure of the image way too dark, resulting in a black dog that looks like a big black blog with no detail. Now, when I photograph a black dog I have my camera on MANUAL (as always), and take a meter reading off of the actual dog- the actual black area of the dog's body. I do this because I want to make sure I am letting enough light into my lens as possible, which will result in a black dog where you can see all the wonderful texture of it's beautiful coat, where the eyes pop and expression is present, and the background just falls off and helps set the scene.
What a great dog, what a great family. Thanks for such an inspiring session, guys!