Book Links: Select a chapter below to find links to more info:

The Humane Society’s 2010 Online Spay Day Photo Contest Entry Deadline: 2/26/2010

February 26, 2010 is the last day for people to submit images to The Humane Society’s 2010 Online Spay Day Photo Contest, and the last day to vote for photos is March 4. I’m honored to join celebrated photographers Nigel Barker, David Sutton, and Lori Cheung on the judges’ panel for the contest. In addition, copies of my book, Pet Photography 101 will be donated by the publisher (Focal Press) and given to a number of the contest winners.

There are two ways people can win prizes in the contest (text below is from the contest website):

Your pet will be instantly entered in the Judged Category. Our panel of photographer judges will pick 36 winners based on your pet’s photo and a few simple questions that reveal your pet’s personality. The winners all get prizes!

If you choose, your pet can also compete with other pets for votes in the Fundraisers Category. Just choose the charity that you and your pet would like to support, forward your pet’s photo page to your friends and family (don’t worry, we make this step easy for you), and then ask them to donate to vote for your pet! Every dollar donated in your pet’s name will help spay and neuter pets to control overpopulation—AND give your pet another vote. If your pet finishes in the top 600 in votes, you’ll win great prizes.

For more information about Spay Day or this year’s contest, visit this page.

Super Pet Expo this Weekend (February 12-14) in Edison, New Jersey

I’m happy to announce that I’ll have a booth at the Super Pet Expo in Edison, NJ this weekend (February 12-14, 2010). I’ll be there all three days showing samples of my work and signing copies of Pet Photography 101. It’s a great event in which leashed pets are permitted. There is always interesting entertainment and many vendor booths.

Feel free to use coupon code EXHNJ for 37% off the online ticket fee.

For more information and show hours, or to register visit:

Review of Pet Photography 101 in Shutterbug Magazine

A big thank you to the folks at Shutterbug Magazine for reviewing Pet Photography 101: Tips for Taking Better Photos of Your Dog or Cat in their February 2010 issue (see below).


Below is an excerpt from the review, or you can read the entire review here on

“…With the aid of this handy guide, photographers of all skill levels can produce heartwarming shots that are certain to delight any pet parent. Andrew Darlow offers advice on composition, lighting, setting up fun shots, and printing the best quality images so you can produce top-quality work that will set you ahead of the pack.” -Shutterbug Magazine

I’ve been a longtime reader and fan of Shutterbug, and find it a valuable resource for learning about all things related to photography. I especially like their product and software reviews. They also often include book excerpts, which are a great way to determine whether a book might be right for you.

One article from the February issue that I particularly enjoyed, and that you can find online in its entirety is titled: A Body Of Work; Do You Really Need One? You can read the article here: Launches a Group! now has a Flickr Group! It’s free to join, and will allow any member to post photos of pets or pets with their people friends, as well ask questions about photographing pets and people. I’ll be announcing a photo contest soon just for group members. You can read all about it here.

A Guide to Understanding Exposure Compensation and Auto Exposure Bracketing in Photography

This article expands on the information in Tip #8 of my book, Pet Photography 101 (pages 19-20). It’s an overview of exposure compensation and auto exposure bracketing in photography.

Exposure Compensation: What it is and How to Use it
One of the most useful exposure controls available on all DSLRs and most point and shoot cameras is Exposure Compensation. Your in-camera meter wants to essentially make everything it sees a medium gray tone (about halfway between white and black), so that means if you are photographing something that has a large area of white in the scene (like a white dog), your image will probably look too dark if you don’t use exposure compensation. You can remedy this by dialing in an exposure compensation adjustment of about +1 EV to +1.5 EV. Conversely, if you have a large area of dark colors in the scene (like a brown or black cat), your image will probably look too light if you don’t use exposure compensation (-.5 EV to –1.5 EV is recommended in this case). Exposure Compensation is also covered in Chapter 3, Tip 28.

Auto Exposure Bracketing: What it is and When to Consider Using it
One of the most useful exposure controls available on most DSLRs and some point and shoot cameras is Auto Exposure Bracketing. Setting this option will tell your camera to take multiple pictures consecutively at different exposure levels. For example, you can set your camera to take a picture with no compensation, then -1 EV, and then +1 EV. When you review your images, you will see three images, all with a different brightness range. Setting your camera to continuous shot mode (as opposed to single shot) is a good idea when using this mode because you may want to borrow elements from one photo (for example, a sky) and paste them into another. This technique works even better when you use a tripod.

Your shooting mode (for example, Aperture or Shutter Priority) will determine whether the camera changes the aperture or shutter speed when it brackets. In most cases, when shooting Raw, I would recommend a +/- 2 EV for AEB. For those who shoot only JPEG, I would recommend +/- 1 or +/- 1.5EV AEB. Though mentioned elsewhere in the book, a major advantage of shooting Raw is that it’s almost like shooting in AEB mode. You can process the same Raw file multiple times and merge the files together to expand the highlight and shadow details in your images.

Some cameras allow you to auto bracket the white balance, and at least one (Nikon), has a feature called “Auto ISO” that allows you to set a maximum ISO (for example, ISO 1200) and optionally, the minimum shutter speed (for example, 1/30 sec.). Your camera will then sense when it does not have enough light to expose a scene properly at 1/30 sec. at your camera’s widest aperture, and it will adjust the ISO up to a high ISO such as ASA 1200.

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    Andrew Darlow Photo

    Andrew Darlow, Author of Pet Photography 101: Tips for Taking Better Photos of Your Dog or Cat., at a client's home with their very friendly Dalmatian. Photo by David Levy