Dogs are only human!

Actually, as all dog lovers know, that's not true at all. Dogs are infinitely better than humans, in almost every way. Except opening jars. They're pretty rubbish at that, which is one of the reasons I keep my husband around.


However, I think we can all agree that dogs are not robots that can be programmed to do everything right at the precise moment a camera shutter is clicked. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why you hire a photographer with strong Photoshop skills!


Yes, yes, yes, getting the image right in camera is the ideal. "I want to screw it up in camera, and fix it in post!" said no photographer, ever. And I totally agree with that sentiment when it comes to all the technical parts of putting a photograph together. You need a photographer who knows their jam, and you can trust to capture those special moments of your beloved pooch. But I'm going to let you in to a little secret. Sometimes. I. Cheat. Here's the rub: the two pillars of a great photograph are 1. technical excellence (nailing that focus, getting the exposure perfect, making sure everything's where it should be, no bits chopped off...) and 2. EXPRESSION. A photo can be totally perfect technically, but if the dog's expression doesn't make your heart shout, "YES! That's MY BABY!!", then it's worthless.


And capturing that perfect expression at the exact moment that you press that shutter button is not always guaranteed.


Enter Photoshop, stage left.


Consider this screenshot of a photo I took of the hansummest boy who ever did live, Shadow. He was very very happy being fed cheese to stand on a table and look gorgeous. Some might say too happy. Some might say he looked a little stoned, on a Havarti high.



Then there's this one. Imagine the scene: I'm laying on my back, stones digging into my flesh, trying to support the weight of a ridiculously heavy camera in my right hand, whilst holding up a flash and diffuser in my left. Hands in rather short supply, I decided to balance the cheese on the end of my lens. Shadow, apex predator that he is, saw the opportunity, me flailing around doing an impression of a dying fly, and came in for the kill. He got him some cheese!! All I got was this lousy photo.



OK, OK, it's cute. But it's not where I was heading with the shoot.


But, lo! Here we are, with two technically great images with less than ideal expression. Let's be honest: the expression sucks in both. And, yet, with a little vision and the wave of a Photoshop wand...



Here we have it. THIS is Shadow. SO HANSUM! Looking like the Shadow that everyone knows and loves, not some cheese stoner.


OK, some might also be very familiar with Shadow the cheese stoner. Come on, guys, he's a Labrador. Work with me a little here, hey?


If you're interested in seeing the finished image, you're in luck. That stormy sky was absolutely fabulous, don't you think? And Shadow definitely isn't only human. He's more. So, so much more.