"Audrey" <scotiablue at optusnet dot com dot au> wrote in message
The main thing that stands out is that many of the shots have the dog in
shadow with hot highlights in the sunny background, which really pulls your
attention away from the subject. Effectively, the dogs are underexposed -
the Beagle shot is the only one where you've got good key light on the
subject. It's clear in other similar tunnel shots that clouds have come over
making the overall shot look a lot flatter.
For the dogs in shadow, one solution would be to create a reasonably
accurate matte (selection) for the subject and pull up the highlights using
the Levels tool on the foreground while dropping down the background to try
and change the balance. This trick, however, will do nothing for the Collie
shot as the black fur on its face is blending with deep shadows in the
Even for other shots, this technique won't work too well, as the sunlit
areas will still look too sharp and punchy. The next trick is to create fake
depth of field by applying gaussian blur to the background - this is best
done with a fairly large feather on the foreground selection so you get a
progressive blurring. This should help a lot in kicking out the subject, but
never looks great as the gaussian blur tends to be too uniform and often
looks artificial if applied to heavily. You can get "true camera" blur
plugins, but I've never used these in Photoshop - my main experience is in
post production fixing dud shots for TV commercials.
As a location tip, you should try opening up the aperture, take a few steps
back and work on a longer zoom to get a nice shallow depth of field - that's
a classic technique for ensuring your subject really stands out.