November 24

5 Tips for Photographing Black Pets

We have two, adorable and completely (almost) black dogs, Molly & Gizmo. And man we love them! Getting a good photograph of them is surprisingly difficult though. Black tones are very difficult for your camera to pick up on and meter. Your camera has to figure out how to expose for a subject that reflects little to no light. This is why you’ll have photos that are too dark, too light and somewhere in between.
So here are our top 5 tips for taking great photos of your darker coloured pets!
  1. Use Manual Mode. One of the downfalls with dark fur is that it reflects so little light. The problem with this is that your camera will meter the situation differently every time you take a photo. So if you’re a fan of Aperture Priority (which is great btw), you’ll probably see wildly different exposures each time you click the shutter (even if you’re not moving!). In Manual Mode, you are able to set your aperture and shutter speed to exactly what it needs to be in that moment giving you much greater consistency.
  2. Focus on the eyes. Eyes, while dark, are generally not black – so by focusing on their eyes you’re giving your camera a chance to focus on a point of contrast. Not to mention you’ll likely end up with lovely composition by doing this as well.
  3. Look for contrast. Be careful of posing a dark dog against a dark background. With so little contrast you run the risk of completely losing your dog to the background and your photo might end up looking like two eyes in a sea of black…
  4. Use zone focusing. This is particularly important if your pet is moving. You want to give your camera as much time as possible to focus because as we know, focusing on a solid colour is very difficult for your camera to achieve. So maximize your chance to succeed and put it on a zone focus mode so that your camera can help you with figuring out what point to focus on.
  5. Use continual focus. Continuing on from above, you want to give your camera as much time as possible to focus on your pet – try using continual focus so your camera can continually refocus as your pet moves.
Then just have some fun! Black pets can take the best photos, you’ll just need to practice :D.
Share your best pet photos with us on our Facebook site! And if you want more help with Action photography, check out our awesome Digital II – Action & Composition class offered in: Calgary, Edmonton & Ottawa!


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