I was running into a problem when I started working on Gypsy's session pictures at last year's Dewey Beach: everything was looking uninspired and dreary. What to do?
I thought I would add a lot more exposure than I usually do just because I wanted her to stand out more. So I added some black to sharpen things up a bit, and added a slight vignette. Even then the sky in the background was pretty featureless, so I played around with using a gradient filter and added some underexposure to see if I could get some details in the clouds to show up. That helped with what I had in mind. Then I did a bit of cropping and digitally removed her leash.
For the picture below, I'm exploring my photojournalist-wannabe side. I didn't want a standard pose here. After I uploaded the picture I felt like the image's vibe was ambiguous, or perhaps you weren't sure how how Gypsy is feeling (well? ill? stressed?) under a threatening sky at the moment:
She was actually turning to her right to present her profile to me.
I sometimes do this to see if I can see the scene in front of me differently. It doesn't always work (just like most of my pictures don't work) but it keeps things interesting, and helps me to keep trying to get better at seeing the world around me.
(Shot with the Nikon D600 and 18-35mm zoom; aperture-priority, with aperture set to f/8 and 1/160 second in top picture; shutter-priority, with shutter speed set to1/1600 second and aperture of f/4.5 in bottom; center-weighted metered; +0.7 exposure compensation in top picture, +0 in bottom; shot in RAW, converted to DNG, and imported into Lightroom.)