Pet photography is all about taking beautiful pictures which show the personality of our subject, tell a story, or capture a perfect moment in time. By thinking about how you’re using light, expression, editing and more when creating your pet photos, the images will be more impactful and cohesive – that’s what the July challenge was all about!
Below you’ll find my Top 10 choices for this month! I didn’t make a video choosing them – I find this really stressful and it usually takes me an hour to decide when I’m under that pressure.
I’ve written up a short critique for the Top 5 images. I also wanted to save my main critiques for Learning Community students, as this is one of the benefits of their membership.
(Psssst, want to go on the waiting list to become a member? Click here!)
There were so many amazing images submitted for this challenge!
I felt like so many of you went out and really tried to find ways to show the personality of your subject, well done! Having these kinds of specific foci can really help us improve as a photographer, as it can give us just one thing to “hone in on” and improve.
The main thing I noticed with both the images uploaded to Instagram and amongst the LC, was a bit of a disconnect between the subject/personality being shown, and the editing choices.
I saw several quite cool & dark images of dogs doing tricks or who looked super cheerful or goofy, as an example. For each photo I saw, I asked myself: What are they wanting to say or show about this dog? If it was that the dog was sweet and silly, I checked if the elements in the photo supported this (I discuss some of the elements you could consider in the July post), and then whether the editing brought it all together. If it seemed like the dog should be tough, or serious, or intense, I checked whether the elements and the editing all came together to tell that story.
Keeping in mind, of course, that all I have to go on is one image (and maybe a caption, though my LC students don’t have that luxury!). So I am making assumptions about the photos based on what has been presented to me. If I assumed wrong, then there is something in the photo that has led to that assumption!
But overall, my main piece of advice would be to make sure the editing fits the story / moment / personality you’re showing!
She just looks so happy and content!! Framed by the purple flowers, eyes closed, tongue out, she is a vision of happiness. I would love to have more of a feeling of light or lightness, maybe by bringing some light in from above, as if she is bathing in it. You could also possibly copy & flip the blurry foreground from the left and put it on the right, to balance the front of the image.
Even if I didn’t know these were her crazy bird eyes, I still think she just looks so goofy and happy, which is supported by the beautiful golden light and field of dandelions. The line from where it is dark -> gold -> dark in the background happens a bit suddenly (for my taste!)- it might be worth just blending the edges a bit more so it fades from dark to gold a bit smoother. Looking at the histogram, I think there’s a little room to brighten the image to suit her expression, and particularly to brighten her and her face up a bit more so she isn’t getting lost in the dark.
This image was one that kept me coming back, not just because it’s a red and white collie 😉 But because it has captured both a sweet and almost pensive side of this dog (which I know very well from border collies, who can care highly about your opinion and want to be Very Good Dogs), and also a darker, more serious and intense side. There’s a real balance of light and dark here that I think speaks a lot about this dog. I would probably brighten that dark side of the face up just a touch more if you can – it doesn’t have to totally match the brighter side, but just to bring a little more lightness there, and don’t forget the colour-casts under the chin, on the neck & chest. Otherwise, it’s a beautiful shot 😊
I just love the mix between movement and stillness in this image – the legs frozen, but the tension in the body too… the sense of waiting is enhanced by the blue/grey tones of the sky and ocean, which help to show that intensity and seriousness of this dog contemplating his next move into the ocean. Make sure the horizon is straight when you can see it this clearly 😉 Otherwise, super lovely mood, photo and moment captured. I’ll be in contact to organise your prize 🥳
August Editing Challenge! - CLOSED!
It’s been ages since we had a pure editing challenge, and I know you guys loved them last year so it’s time to a revival.
It seems especially fitting to use one of these images as it was an editing challenge from almost a year ago. I wanted to use it again as our Learning Community Challenge this month is about Glow Ups, showing your progress from the past, to now.
If you’ve already worked on the photo of Journey below, there is another option for you, or you can work on Journey again,using alllll the new editing skills you would have picked up over the past year!
Make sure you read the rules carefully!
- Anyone is allowed to enter – LC Students or not.
- You are welcome to edit both photos, but only use the #inspawrationchallenge hashtag with one of them. Otherwise I’ll just choose which of the two is your entry.
- Download the RAW or .jpeg file below – there are different options depending on if you’re editing on phone, computer, or on some program that can’t read RAW files. Do not edit screenshots from here or from Instagram.
- Upload your edited image to your Instagram feed, using the #inspawrationchallenge hashtag, or upload it to the Album in the Facebook Group.
- If your feed is dedicated to your dog and it’ll be too weird to have these photos there, you can put it as part of a carousel.
- It must be clear that the photo was taken by @inspawrationphotography.
- I will judge the photos based on things like white balance, attention to detail, and basically creating an overall image that works. More flashy edits (eg., crazy light haze or making everything pink) are definitely not guaranteed to win. Sometimes less is more 😉
- The aim is not to copy or reproduce my edits, but to create something which draws attention to the dog, supports the mood of the photo, and so on.
- Sharing your edits to your story is encouraged – and I generally shout-out anyone who does 😍
- The prize will be a 30 minute mini lesson or critique of your photos
The Photos - before & after
And that’s it! Go and have fun with the edit, pop it up on Instagram and make sure to use the hashtag! I can’t wait to see what you guys create with my photos!
Ps. If you’re not sure where to start, Lightroom is a great program full of features. If you don’t know how to use it, or think you could get more out of it (you probably can 😅) then make sure you check out my Lightroom Course!