Beginner Photographing my Black and white dogs (help)

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I've got 2 dogs which quite often with occasionally my wife are the subjects of my photography. Now I'm ok with either or but together either Bobby (westie) or Robson (Scottie) are either over or underexposed. Recently since getting my hands on a flash it seems too have helped, but I'm wondering if there is a knack too it that I'm missing ? Especially for outdoors.

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Best if you can show an example.

Post processing can make up a lot of ground for exposure error.

Background, time of day, sky conditions all play a part as do the camera settings.

Flash is not an answer in many cases, can help though,

Let's see what you have "shot" then some positive comments can be made.

Good luck....

And welcome to the forum by the way:)



<span class="poty">POTY (Joint) 2016</span>
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Agree about posting samples.
You should use manual settings and set exposure using a grey card or other thing (e.g. grass) to set exposure. You will probably have to do somepost processing to get the best detail in both dogs.

Good luck
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I have a similar problem with my cats. If the camera picks on the white fur, the shot is under-exposed, the black, it's over.

With something like this, where the meter is getting it wrong, Manual control is essential, or Exposure lock.

Manual: Whatever location you're in, take a photo of the surroundings (or a grey card as suggested) and note the ISO, Aperture and shutter speed. Manually set your camera to these settings, and away you go. As long as the light doesn't change in the area (you go outside after being in for example) you should be fine.
AE-L: Alternatively, figure out how to lock exposure on your camera (it's usually a button you hold down often called AE-L for Auto-Exposure Lock). Point the camera at your grey card/neutral area, hold down exposure lock, recompose and take your shot. I find this method better, because you can effectively change your exposure on the fly by pointing your camera at what you want "neutral" to be, then recompose without having to fiddle with settings.

Edit to add: If you're outside, your hand doubles as an excellent gray card. Grass is good too.
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Take control of your metering. That means doing one of the following..
  1. using exposure lock
  2. understanding how matrix metering works on your camera in a variety of conditions or
  3. using spot metering
  4. using a light meter (ignore this for now - it's only here for completeness)
If doing 2, 3 or 4 you'll also need to learn how to use exposure compensation or manual mode. You don't need to use manual, it's just one option.

If you're spot metering then you'll probably want the whites of the dog's fur to read about +2 to appear white but retain detail, or the blacks to read about -3.

You just need to understand that if the camera's meter reads +3 then whatever you're pointing it at will be (nearly) pure white and if it reads -5 then it will be nearly totally black. Similarly I know that if I spot meter off the palm of my hand and it reads +1.3 then my exposure will be about right for most ordinary circumstances. Or you could meter off a grey card to set the exposure*

Exact results vary from camera to camera, and the colour you're pointing at can make a difference but the above is sufficient for most cases.

Note that on some cameras the spot metering always works off the centre; on others it wanders around when using a single focus point.

You should also learn to read a histogram. You can take a test shot and look at its histogram to work out whether your exposure is as you intended.

If you want to get really precise then an incident light meter is the way to go but again it's hardly necessary in this case.

Sorry, that's rather a lot of 'learn this' tips without any actual links to help you learn them. Google is your friend..
It's well worth reading, digesting and re-reading @Pookeyhead 's tutorial here

*You could use an 18% - or more likely 12% - grey card to set the exposure but make sure you get a properly calibrated one. Many grey cards are intended for setting white balance, not exposure, and some of them even suck at that.