tips - pet portraits

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  • 8/12/2019 Tips - Pet Portraits


    Choose a locationWe took advantage of a bright and frosty wintermorning to shoot outdoors. If the sun is really

    bright try shooting in the shade to diffuse the light;dappled shade under trees works well, as the sun willadd attractive highlights to your subject. The further

    your subject is away from their backdrop the moreyoull be able to blur the background to make themstand out; we made the most of some backlit trees,as they created a nice bokeh effect.

    Get set upFor our shoot we used the EF-S 18-135mmf/3.5-5.6 IS STM kit lens, which has a four-stop

    image stabiliser, making it ideal for shooting movingsubjects handheld. Make sure that IS is engaged onthe lens, and that the lens is set to AF mode. If yoursubject is off-centre in the frame, rather than using thecentre AF point to focus and then recomposing, youcan manually select an AF point for greater accuracy.

    Shooting settingsSet your camera to Aperture Priority (Av) modeand select the widest available aperture for your

    chosen focal length, both to capture a shallow depth ofeld and to enable you to use a fast shutter speed. Foroptimum image quality select the Raw quality setting,and set a low ISO of 100; if youre shooting on a dull day,and your shutter speed isnt fast enough to capturesharp images, increase your ISO to 400.

    Focal lengthIn addition to the aperture setting, focal lengthalso plays a part in determining the depth of eld:

    with a longer lens depth of eld is reduced, throwingthe background out of focus to isolate your subject.Rather than staying in the same position and using thewhole focal length range, its best to keep the lens at

    between 100mm and 135mm, and move in or out tochange the size of your subject in the frame.

    Go lowGetting down to your subjects eye level will helpyou to capture a more engaging portrait it may

    help if you lie down with your elbows braced on theground to support yourself and your camera. If yoursubject struggles to sit still for any length of time, youmay be better off sitting on your knees so that you canmove quickly and easily to keep up with them.

    Composition and focusingWe shot in portrait format to ll the frame whenBella was sitting; when she was lying down we

    changed to landscape. Include background elementssuch as trees and the sky to create perspective andadd colour; shooting from above your subject will makethem look less imposing, and the frame will be lledwith the ground, which looks boring. Focus on the eyes,and when youve red off a few shots zoom in on theeyes in Playback mode to check for sharpness.

  • 8/12/2019 Tips - Pet Portraits


    ACR adjustmentsOpen the start le in Adobe Camera Raw andbegin by setting the Temperature slider to 6400

    to warm up the image. Set the Exposure to +0.20 andContrast to +22 to boost the brightness and contrast,

    and set Shadows to +35 to add some ll light. SetClarity to +11 to add some denition, and lastly setVibrance to +22 to boost the shots weaker colours.Click Open Image to open the shot in Elements.

    Contrast and colourWell use adjustment layers to ne-tune theoverall brightness, contrast and colour. Add a

    Levels adjustment layer and set the Shadows slider to8, the Midtones slider to 1.11 and the Highlights slider to247, then add a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layerand set Brightness to 5 and Contrast to 22. To nishoff add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, leave themenu set to Master, and increase Saturation to +7. n

    Enhance the bokehWe can also use the Clone Stamp tool to copysome of the blurred highlights in the background,

    to enhance the bokeh effect. To make the backgroundhighlights stand out more, take the Dodge tool, set

    Range to Highlights and Exposure to 25%, and brushover the background to lighten just the highlights;dodge the highlights on the dogs coat too.

    Crop and retouchSelect the Crop tool, choose Use Photo Ratiofrom the Crop Preset menu, and crop in tighter

    to make the subject more prominent in the frame. Nextselect the Spot Healing Brush tool, and click on thewhite marks on the fur to remove them. Use the CloneStamp tool to clean up blemishes such as clumps ofmud in the grass; Alt-click to sample a nearby area ofgrass, then clone these pixels over the blemish.

    Long lenses, typically in the 85-135mm range,are traditionally used for people portraits, asthese focal lengths compress facial featuresfor a more attering look. Shorter focal lengths

    introduce perspective distortion by enlargingforeground features; on full-length shots thiscan make heads or noses look unnaturallylarge, but while this isnt desirable for humansubjects you can choose to employ the effectwith pets for a cute and quirky portrait.

    PerspectivedistortionKeep it natural, or exaggeratefeatures for a quirky look

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    18 m m