How I Got The Shot: The DogFather

Camera: Canon 7D
Lens: Canon EF-S 17 – 55mm f/2.8 IS USM
Aperture: f/2.8
Shutter Speed: 1/100 sec
ISO: 800
Flash: Bounced from wall on left, using a Canon 430 EX II
Focal Length: 55 mm
Shooting Mode: Aperture Priority
Exposure Compensation: -1 step
Photoshop: Lightroom 3; converted to black and white, increased contrast, cropped, and added vignette.

moody dog with sidelight

'The DogFather'

Sorry if you’re a little tired of seeing photos of my dog on the site, but, what can I say?, she ‘s just such a great photographic subject!

I wanted to get a bit of a different shot to normal, more of a dramatic/moody look – so I used some some flash bounced off the wall (to the left of the photo; my dog’s right) so that one side of her face was illuminated, whilst the other was in shadow. I think this worked to create a nice sense of depth in the photo.

As in most cases, I focused on her nearest eye, and I’m really happy at how sharp it came out. Focusing on the eyes like this is normally a safe bet, as the eyes are the things a viewer is naturally drawn to when looking at a photo – so if the eyes are nice and sharp, you’re halfway on to a winner already.

I shot in Aperture Priority mode, and chose a wide aperture of f/2.8 – this meant a nice, shallow depth of field was created, where her eyes are in focus, but her nose and collar were not. (I did a tutorial on how to blur the background/foregound in your photos a while back, which you may be interested in)

For post-processing, I used Lightroom 3, and converted the shot to black and white – I felt that the colour was distracting from the overall ‘moodiness’ I wanted to create; it just looked better in black and white. As I normally feel that black and white shots look better when they have a boost in contrast, that’s exactly what I did with this shot.

A bit of a crop so that her head took up the entire frame, and so her eye was nicely over a ‘rule of thirds’ cross-section, and voila, ‘The DogFather’ (thanks to my niece for the inspiration for this particular photo title…!).


  1. Jethro Lagado /

    love the shot :)

  2. Thanks, Jethro – one of my personal faves too :)

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