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Old Sep 26, 2007, 5:40 AM   #1
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i have bought the metz 36af-4c flash unit

These are the results im getting my dog is black and he is ether too dark or too light .

They were taken with the canon G7 bounce head and 100iso

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Old Sep 26, 2007, 5:41 AM   #2
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Old Sep 26, 2007, 5:42 AM   #3
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i like this one because of the brown of his eyes but again the backround blue basket is bright

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Old Sep 27, 2007, 7:35 AM   #4
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Nobody else has responded, so I'll take a stab at it.

What you may want to do is attach the photos here after downsizing from the originals so that we can see the camera settings used.

The EXIF (a header in the images that shows camera settings) has been stripped out of those images. If you're using photoshop to downsize, make sure you use Save As versus Save for Web.

Do you know what metering mode you were using?

Chances are, the black is fooling it. That's pretty common.

If you meter on a subject that is very dark (like your black dog), the camera will tend to overexpose (too bright)

If you meter on a subject that's very light (for example, a white dress), the camera may do the opposite and underexpose the image.

A darker subject is not going to reflect much light from the metering preflash, and the camera is going to use a longer flash burst, assuming that the image needs to be exposed where most of it is more neutral in brightness (hence, turning very dark or very light subjects more gray).

It doesn't know that you're shooting a black dog or a white dress. It's trying to make most of the scene 18% gray (or 12-13% according to some people). The metering mode you use will also influence what it takes into consideration (Spot will meter on a Small Spot, Center Weighted will more emphasis on the center of the frame (although most systems still look at the entire frame), Matrix will take the entire frame into consideration and usually gives more weight to your focus point.

The angle of the flash and the surface you're bouncing it on is also going to impact lighting (where you're going to get shadows, hot spots, and more). Those darker photos looked like they were taken standing and pointing down, and if you were bouncing, the angle of the flash coming down on the dog may have left the eyes in shadows

But, when you have a mostly dark or mostly bright subject in the frame, with nothing else at that focus distance that's brighter or darker than your subject, your metering can be fooled into trying to make more of the scene a neutral gray in brightness).

So, you sometimes need to compensate via Exposure Compensation when you have something in the scene that is very dark or very light (use -EV setting to get a darker exposure, or +EV setting to get a brighter exposure).

Metering mode can also impact it. So, I'd check your metering mode and make sure it's not set to something like Spot. But, even on Matrix (multi-segment) metering, most cameras will give more weight to the focus point, and a darker object occupying most of the frame could be easily overexposed.

If you have something lighter in the frame, the metering may work differently to keep from blowing the hightlights in the lighter areas (like the images where you had more of the blanket wiith white patches in it as part of the image). But, metering mode will impact how it works in those types of scenes, and your focus point (and focus distance, depending on camera model and lens) will also carry some weight.

Using a diffuser of some kind can also help with more even lighting. Lowering your contrast settings can also help with Dynamic Range a bit (some of those images look a bit too contrasty to my eyes).

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Old Sep 27, 2007, 11:23 PM   #5
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There isn't much to add to JimC's reply, as far as camera settings go, but since I have a black cat, and know how difficult it can be to get these pictures, I will add that the real problem is the dynamic range of the scene vs that of the camera. It is nearly impossible to get a single exposure which will show detail in a black animal, yet not wash out highlights. A darker background can help, but if too dark it blends with the coat and you lose separation of subject and background.

I tend to resort to post-processing for these pictures. In Photoimpact, I use the High Dynamic Range option. Photoshop has the Shadows/Highlights tool, which does much the same thing.

Just as an example of what can be done, I modified your first picture using HDR.

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Old Oct 7, 2007, 12:19 PM   #6
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I would set the white balance to sun or outside.

Make sure there is no white or almost white colorin the frame. A darker patterned blanket would be fine.

Soften the light from the main flash. A white trash bag over the flash or many other things.

Use two light sources. Let the sun come in the window or place the dog near a corner of the room and make the light bounce off the wall.

The camera will almost always over expose a all black frame so you could frame loose, then crop with some grey cloth to one side( to help set the levels) or set the EV to something like -.3 or more.
I took some quick shots of our dog using a remote flash and a white foam reflector. The flash is on the tripod but I didn't frame it in. The camera is a Canon S2 with the flash set to low and ISO 50 and shutter speed around 250. There was sun coming in the window.

I did have a few shots with the glowing hair if it was over exposed. None of the shots were perfect but they were OK. The plastic helmet was hard to get even close with the exposure. Everything would have looked better if I had used the soft box I have.

My dog does not like men (it's my wife's dog) so she will never look at me! You can see the two lights in here eyes ome from the camera and one from the off camera flash.
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