A mulligan is a second chance at doing something and I thought it the perfect title for this week's prompt for the 52 Weeks Pet Photography Project of "Revise - Re-edit" where the participants were asked if our style had changed, or our skills improved? Or would we like to be more creative with some past images? This week it's all about taking a look at our past work and taking on an old image and editing it to your current skill set. I knew exactly the session I wanted to pull from; a pet photography session in the Texas bluebonnets around Dallas.
These beautiful pups belong to a friend and yes, you don't see any leashes in the "SOOC" (straight out of the camera) image because they are that well trained! We got together late in the bluebonnet season last year so I could get in a bit of practice with different techniques while shooting in a field in the middle of the day. That's the problem with bluebonnets; they're rarely found in open shade where we photographers love to shoot because of the beautiful lighting found there. This particular method involved a large scrim (something to filter the sunlight) along with a small flash to fill in the shadows and put a sparkle in the dog's eyes.
Yes the scrim softened the hard midday sun, and yes I got the sparkle in the eyes, but I also got a large shadow patch on the grass. That, and the sky was BORING! A plain blue sky does nothing for an image. I've been sitting on these images for a few months not knowing how to get them to the next level that would satisfy me (luckily my friend is very patient!). I had gotten the image cleaned up to the point where I could share it with her, but I wasn't fully satisfied with it.
Power lines and telephone poles are gone, as well as the assistant, but the boring sky and shadow patch remain (slide the bar to see the difference).
There's a saying that there are a least a dozen ways to accomplish anything in Photoshop and I spend hundreds of dollars and dozens of hours each year on my retouching education to expand my toolbox so when presented with a problem in an image, I can recover it (and most importantly) in a believable way. It does no one any good if the image looks heavily "Photoshopped". This week's prompt was just what I needed to dig these images back out and get them to where I wanted them be in the first place.
We now have a more visually interesting sky along with a more even lighting pattern on the ground (slide the bar to see the difference).
Ready for the 2018 Bluebonnets!
After trying a number of different techniques, I'm happiest with the result when bringing my studio strobe out into the filed to compete the bright sunlight as the example below with one of my own dogs in the Texas wildflowers. I'm ready for the 2018 bluebonnet season.
I've got my bluebonnet fields in and around Dallas and Fort Worth scoped out and I'm anxiously watching them for the first signs of the blooms. A bluebonnet portrait session for your child, family or pet is a Texas right of passage, contact me today to inquire about scheduling yours!
Tracy Allard of Penny Whistle Photography is a Certified Professional Photographer with the organization Professional Photographers of America; a designation held by fewer than 2,500 photographers nationwide and a hallmark of consistency, technical skill, artistry and professionalism. Penny Whistle specializes in both natural light and studio photography providing family and pet portraits as well as corporate headshots and commercial photography in her studio located in old town Carrollton as well as out on location in Coppell and surrounding communities in Dallas – Fort Worth, Texas.