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Beginner Photography: Animal Interactions

Oh, hubris. I really thought this subject would be easy. I have animals! I can interact with them! How wrong I was. First, taking pictures of animals is difficult enough. They are generally fast moving, unless you know a sloth. Also, taking pictures of yourself is hard. Selfie+moving animals? Near impossible. I attempted to at least photograph my hand petting said animals, but even that is unwieldy using a DSLR. So then I tried to enlist my daughter, who, apparently, is only a good model when she has to stand very still and be creepy (see here and here and here.)

It has also been in the 90-95F degree range the past few days, so we have all been sluggish. Which resulted in either a very sad looking dog and cat or a very sad-looking child. 

I’m going to tell you now, this project was a failure. I missed focus a dozen times, I cropped the dog’s feet, my daughter’s shirt is wrinkled. I captured a few sweet moments, but they are still technically terrible. Here’s a funny video to make up for it:

So as usual I shot in aperture priority, but using a higher aperture to attempt to get Eloise and Hungry both in focus. Somehow that still often resulted in missing focus. I shot outside in natural light which worked fine, but my cramped back yard resulted is some busy backgrounds. I almost never got both of them looking at the camera. Ah well, this is what I wound up with:


f/3.5, 1/80th, ISO 200


f/5.6, 1/80th, ISO 200


f/5.6, 1/80th, ISO 640 (?!)


f/5.6, 1/60th, ISO 500


I don’t know. Looking at them now, I’m quite fond of them, but I just see everything about them that’s wrong. I need to work on manually choosing my settings and probably give back button focus a try.

Do any of these shots work for you? How would you have done things? I look forward to seeing so many animals on the show this week (and I’ll be there in studio!)

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Live Show Recap: Fashion Photography

Happy Cinco de Mayo! It’s not a real holiday. America loves to steal culture as an excuse to get drunk during the week.

Anyway! We’re looking at your fashion photos this week, and some of you nailed it! Some of you tried to sneak in regular portraits, or really nice shots that weren’t fashion! I didn’t let lots of those in.


  • The “affordable” Leica M-D
  • We are borrowing the Canon 1DX II¬†you’ll see our video on it soon
  • Phantom 4 quadcopter We’ll be testing it out in California in a few weeks.

Ok, we get into your fashion photos here, these are our notable submissions:

  • garbage bag dress
  • contrast (good for next week!)
  • monster street fashion
  • great studio shot (by our friend and blogger Anushila)
  • fashion/product¬†of ties
  • go see Best in Show. And by go see it I mean rent it somewhere because it’s old.
  • great catalog shot
  • “It seems like one thumb through the belt loop is the most you can do in a photo” “Sometimes you have to push the limits. That’s fashion!”
  • click here¬†to hear Chelsea’s incredible British accent
  • great photo story¬†“I’m gonna give it a pick. But tell her she can do better.”
  • lean back, lean back, lean back lean back lean back
  • this one is just crazy awesome

Let’s go over to me for your questions:

  • How do you pose for fashion? Frame the object/garment or post naturally? Depends on the model and what you’re shooting.
  • When would you use exposure compensation? When a subject is backlit, to expose for the subject. You should be using automatic shutter speed otherwise.
  • Where’d you get your shirt, Tony? You look fresh.

Okay over to a portfolio review. Great portfolio, Vladimir! No real feedback.

Now to Chit-Chat!

  • we got complimented!
  • Chelsea is into Tony! Ewwww.
  • Nathan For You is conflicting

Okay, back to photos:

And that’s our show! Next week’s topic is “high contrast!” So make it work, people.