Last weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to work with the owner of JAK walkwear, Jessica Kostera. Featuring designer dog leads (and more products in development), Jess contacted me via my Facebook Page to do a ‘Lifestyle’ photo shoot. She was after imagery that would not only accompany her product shots, but also speak to the fun, trendy, design savvy brand that JAK walkwear embodies.
The brief for the shoot was to create images that had a ‘summer’ feel – fun, cheerful, warm tones.
Venue & Shoot Time
Sydney Park in the inner city suburb of St Peters was the selected venue and the shoot was scheduled for 10am (so as not to upset our four legged models and their chaperones).
- Time of day was definitely a potential problem. With Sydney now enjoying Autumn, the sun was high in the sky and very bright. Harsh shadows and blown highlights were my biggest concerns.
- Shooting our quick moving 4 legged models.
- Attaining focus-lock on our black and dark-brown coloured dogs whilst correctly metering the scene. Focusing on dark objects in a frame can play havoc with a cameras metering system as it will have the tendency to over-exposure the rest of the image. I was wanting to shoot in Aperture priority rather than Manual mode because we would be changing scenes and animals quickly and I didn’t feel I would be quick enough to accommodate the variables.
How I Approached It
- After taking a few test shots, I decided to settle on shooting in Aperture priority for a greater hit rate.
- Made sure the Histogram was displayed in camera
- Ensured that for each shot I took, I was capturing the widest dynamic range possible. In this way, I knew I would have plenty to work with in post since I always shoot in RAW.
- Kept relaxed, smiled and had some fun!
- I took the whole caboodle – all lenses, flash heads, light diffusors, and reflectors.
- In the end, I just used the Canon 7D with the EF 24-105L and the wide angle EFS 10-22 lens. Mobility was paramount and this worked well. At one stage we decided to shoot back into the sun so I grabbed my strobe for some off axis fill. They turned out only ‘okay’ so I didn’t pursue this avenue too much and just moved on to other, stronger options and angles.
- Post-processing: Lightroom 4
Above: This is the image after my first batch edit. In the initial post-processing of these images, I generally lifted the exposure of all images and really used the highlight recovery tool to ensure I didn’t lose too much upper detail. I also bumped shadows, whites, vibrance and warmed the White Balance toning up a bit.
Above: Final edit. In the last pass of editing I applied some split toning, reverse saturation, selective brushes for bumping the shadows, clarity and sharpening for the dog and a gradient mask to recover more highlights in the sky. Split toning to the whites and blacks were both in the warm spectrum – yellows and oranges respectively. Some saturation and recovery was also used on the lead to compensate for the overall image brightness. Whilst I lost detail in the lead (present even SOOC), the aim of the image was to keep it on the original brief – summery, fun and warm.
Below is some more of the final images shot from our morning at Sydney Park.
If you’re interested in finding out more about JAK walkwear and have your own pooch who could do with a funky new lead, check out the website here. Mothers Day is coming up and there’s always birthdays and Christmas too – they’d make a great present for that special someone.
As always, any comments, questions or thoughts are greatly welcomed.