I thought I’d share some of my pet photography image editing videos to show you what actually goes into editing images and that none of our dogs are perfect!
There will always be a lot of work ‘behind the scenes’ that goes into processing a photo for it to be of a high print quality and I would never provide an image straight out of the camera to a client.
Every image has to go through at least the basic standard edits to correct colour, temperature, exposure, brightness, contrast, saturation, highlights and shadow adjustments. Then there’s the additional work which can include removing distracting elements, cleaning up of backgrounds, fur, faces, marks and scars, lead removal etc.
Because people often don’t see the before images, they think “oh my dog can’t do that” when they see the final image of a beautifully posed dog, but you’d be surprised to find that often these dog’s aren’t as well behaved as you’d think and often the dogs are actually kept on lead or with the owners close by.
With the digital editing capabilities we have access to now, it means that the final image is often not what it seems.
Dealing with Harsh Sunlight
This video shows the before image straight out of camera (SOOC) and after image once processed.
Often beach shoots can be difficult if it is a bright sunny day as there is no shade to help diffuse the light. This is why I always try to shoot later in the day when the sunlight is softer. But this day the sun was still too high and fiercely bright, causing very strong highlights.
I always shoot with my subject backlit by the sun, but to get a soft light on the dog instead of harsh highlights for this shot we needed a little extra help, where I asked the owner to step in and hold a diffuser to soften the light, because the dog was posing so politely it allowed us to do so.
Lead Removal Examples
This before and after image video illustrates how dogs can still remain on the lead during their session and it’s actually more common, than you would think!
Let’s address the most common misconceptions as to why people think they can’t have a pet photography session…
“my dog isn’t well behaved enough”, “they’re too naughty”, “they’re untrained or unresponsive”, “they just won’t behave”, “they don’t have good recall”.
These are not actually reasons not to have a session. These can all be resolved simply by keeping your dog on lead during the session and then in your final edited images you’d never even know they were on lead.
This is another before (SOOC) and after image video where if you have any concerns about your dog’s behaviour, then sometimes it’s just safer to keep the dogs on lead. Because at the end of the day your dog’s safety is always the most important thing during a session!⠀
This image took quite a bit of work to get right, and you can see from the before and after that the images don’t quite line up as I had to make some further alterations to the background to get this one right.⠀
It’s very common due to the Breed Specific Legislation laws in Australia to have to keep your rescue Greyhound either muzzled or on lead (although the muzzled law in Victoria has just changed yay). And it’s not often I come across Greyhounds who are well behaved enough that they are allowed to be off lead. Let’s just say they don’t always have the street smarts lol.⠀
Greyhounds, I find, are often one of the hardest dog breeds to photograph! They can be difficult to get them to perk their ears up, and they are often very stubborn and just like to do their own thing. Gazza and Milly here however, are not like your typical Greyhounds! These two are the exception to the rule and sure know how to model.
This is another great example where we needed to keep Manfred, the Beagle, here on lead. Being a rescue dog and having come out of a testing lab, he is still learning the ways of the world. Although now being out and about, now free, there are still some limitations to ensure his safety and comfort so he can gain his confidence.⠀
It’s so great being able to capture an image like this where he is now running free, putting his best paw forward, happy and being able to enjoy life and the outdoors.⠀