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Old April 5th, 2007, 09:15 AM   #1
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pinpoint lighting

I buy equipment when I discover a need for it. Until now I've done without a focusable light, but have encountered a situation where one might have been useful, and I'm wondering if the more-experienced people here would agree. I was shooting an all-black dog lying on a light-colored couch. The width of the image is about eight feet so the dog makes up maybe 10 percent of the total. And, of course, if I light for the overall image, the dog becomes a black blob. Could I have lit the overall image as it looked best, then selectively added light to the black dog with a focusable source? Is this a common practice?

Thanks.
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Old April 5th, 2007, 09:53 AM   #2
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I think I would light the dog first using something with a snoot or barn doors THEN light the background area with something softer-be it bounce lighting off the ceiling or some sort of reflector(s)-I would also look at using some lights for the background that are a bit lower in wattage than what I used on the dog. Of course the dog will probably 2 or even 3 lights to bring out the detail but without actually seeing the setup and knowing what you've got for lighting it's hard to say exactly but I will say that if a dog is going to lay there quite and still long enough for you to properly light it then that's 1 really good dog. Mine turns away when she see's any camera-I guess she's either shy or stuckup ;-)
WOOF!
Don
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Old April 5th, 2007, 09:55 AM   #3
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You could use a Fresnel spot or a Dedo light. However, with black objects it's usually better to let light reflect from the surface/coat/hair rather than just blasting more light into them. The reflected light usually reveals the texture and keeps the tonal value. Often this means placing the light as a 3/4 backlight and flagging it so as to only hit the subject, but you do need to experiment a bit.

You could also use nets to reduce amount of light falling on the couch around the dog.
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Old April 5th, 2007, 10:22 AM   #4
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good dog

Thank you, Don and Brian. Both of your ideas make a lot of sense and I would have only discovered them accidentally. Don, we had a choice of two dogs. The first choice was a 1-year-old brown and black sheperd, but she growled at me and the talent. The 2nd choice was an elderly jet-black lab mix. If you threw a ball for DJ, he'd look at you with a "you've got to be kidding" expression. We also took advantage of DJ's weakness for peanut butter.
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Old April 5th, 2007, 02:15 PM   #5
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My son has a black lab and she is the most laid back dog I've ever seen-not so her sister but the old peanut butter trick works great. Dogs love more than my grandkids ;-)

Don
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