Tuesday, August 23, 2016


Idaho Humane Society Paw Prints Magazine

Every year we — The Storytellersusa.com — donate portrait photography gift certificates to about 30 charitable organizations for their silent/live auctions.  It’s our way of giving back and being introduced to new potential clients—a definite win-win!

One of those charitable events last year was the Idaho Humane Society’s 25th Annual Lawn Party. In that event we donated to their silent auction and their live auction. The live auction was a chance for bidders to have their pets photographed for the cover of Paw Prints Magazine—a very popular live auction item that regularly goes for thousands of dollars!

So, a year later the editor of Paw Prints Magazine calls us with contact information of the family that won one of our live auction cover sessions.  When I called to schedule the photo session of their dog I suggested that we expand the session to do portraits of their family, kids and dog—no extra charge—and they loved the idea. My vision for the cover was a portrait of the kids with the family dog—not just a portrait of the dog that the magazine usually does. Of course my vision for this cover image was far more challenging than just a picture of the dog! It all depended on the dog’s temperament…

f6.3 @ 1.250 sec., ISO 800; lens at 200mm
It turned out that I had no need to worry—their dog was a joy to work with and the kids had a great time too. 

On a technical note some amateur photographers may wonder why I used ISO 800 for a session that looked to have lots of light…

1)  ISO is a professional’s tool to get the shutter speed and f-stop we require. Of course you need a pro-grade camera that has very low noise to use the ISO’s I like; my starting point in outdoor photography is ISO 400 then 800 and when needed I go to 1000 or 1600.
2)  ISO 800 in this environment enabled me to bring my shutter speed to 1/250 sec., which is about the slowest shutter speed I’ll use when doing action of kids—and kids with a dog are always in action!
3)  The aperture I wanted— f6.3 — gave me enough depth of field in case the kids moved out of alignment.
4) And Lastly, by using my zoom lens at 200 mm the background still went nicely out of focus even at the relatively small aperture I was using to get the good depth-of-field.

Here’s one of the series of nice full figure images from their session…
f6.3 @ 1.250 sec., ISO 800
We also did the usual individual portrait of the dog, but we talked-up my idea for the cover with the editor and he said he would consider my idea when he saw what we had created.  We’ll see what he picks soon, but either way I’m very happy with the results; I captured the vision I had in my head—the ultimate goal in professional photography!

’Til next week…

Author:  Jerry W. Venz, PPA Master Photographer, Craftsman, Certified
Training site:  http://www.LightAtTheEdge.com
Client stie: http://www.TheStorytellersUsa.com

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