Dog Words

0248: UnderPaw Photography with Tom Bradley

December 22, 2021 Season 2 Episode 48
Dog Words
0248: UnderPaw Photography with Tom Bradley
Show Notes Transcript

Tom Bradley of Bradley Photography introduces us to a new perspective on dogs with UnderPaw photography and delivers some helpful photography tips.

Bradley Photography online:
BradleyPhotog.com
Facebook
Instagram
UnderPaw video session

The photography of Lithuanian photographer Andrius Burba.

Norm MacDonald gives his thoughts (1:07) on the evolution of photography during his last appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman .

From the Dog Words archives:
0239: Gary Lezak Returns

Celebrate 5 years of Rosie Fund by supporting our campaign to sponsor 50 dogs. You can donate at RosieFund.org or through our Facebook page. You can contribute by making a purchase from the store on our website or buying a t-shirt at Bonfire.com. Also check out our page on BarkYours, the online mall with gifts for people who love their dogs.

Music for this episode is provided by alternative string duo, The Wires. Visit them at TheWires.info. Learn fiddle and cello-fiddle online — even if you've never played before — from Laurel Morgan Parks and Sascha Groshang at FiddleLife.com. Join The Wires as they explore new music on their show Sound Currents.

Listen to and download The Wires’ holiday album “Winter” here.

The transcript for this episode is available on the Dog Words Buzzsprout page: Buzzsprout.com/840565.

TOM  0:03 
It's just a very unique perspective of it. When you look at it, it almost takes your breath away because you've never seen your dog from this angle before.

PHIL   0:12 
I'm Phil Hatterman and this is Dog Words presented by Rosie Fund.

Today on our 100th episode, Tom Bradley of Bradley Photography introduces us to a new perspective on dogs with UnderPaw photography, and delivers some helpful photography tips.

If you're new to Dog Words, in each episode, we explore the world of dog care and companionship. "We save each other," is the motto of Rosie Fund, which simply means the more we do for dogs, the more they do for us. And they already do a lot.

If you love dogs, you'll love Dog Words. We welcome your comments, questions and suggestions. Go to the podcast page at RosieFund.org to share your thoughts. Please download, follow, rate, and most importantly, share Dog Words.

Celebrate five years of Rosie Fund by supporting our campaign to sponsor 50 dogs. You can donate on our website or Facebook page. You can also contribute by making a purchase from the store on our website, buying a t-shirt at Bonfire.com, or buying our notecards and shirts on BarkYours.com links are in the description. Your donations and purchases help fund the Rosie Life Starter Kits that make sure these senior and harder-to-adopt dogs have some of the items they'll need in their forever home.

Please follow Rosie Fund on social media. Subscribe to the free Rosie Fund YouTube channel that offers great videos Rosie, Peaches, and shelter dogs, including some exclusive content like the wonderful KC Pet Project dog featured in our latest post.

Next time on Dog Words, Bethany Spilde and Janessa dolphin from Honey Home Keepers tell us how they started a house and pet sitting concierge service.

The mission of Rosie Fund is to provide humans with the resources and education they need to give senior and harder-to-adopt dogs a better life. We thank you for joining our mission.

Joining us today from Shawnee, Kansas, is Tom Bradley from Bradley Photography. Welcome to Dog Words, Tom.

TOM  2:04 
Hi, Phill. Tahnk you for having me.

PHIL   2:06 
Tom, tell us a little bit about what it is that you offer that's special for dogs.

TOM  2:11 
Well, I've been doing photography for a long time, about 40 years. And I've always enjoyed doing things that are a little bit different. And when it comes to dogs, typically I did photos of throwing treats in the air or of them eating spaghetti and some of those really, really fun shots. But about a year or so ago, I started to do something that I call UnderPaw photography. And that's something very unique. I'm not aware of anybody else in the region that's doing that. But it's actually photographing the dog that's standing on a glass platform. The platform's about four feet tall. And we have a remote control camera underneath the platform that photographs the dog while they play, and eay treats and have fun. And we capture them from a really unique perspective. The pictures are something that are extremely popular and people have not seen before. It's something that is just a whole lot of fun for both you and your dog.

PHIL   3:17 
What are the sessions like? How do you manage to wrangle all of this.

TOM  3:22 
So the way the session works is the first thing I do is I just sit down and play with the dog. Go down to the studio, I let them sniff around and wander a little bit. I let them sit on my lap and kiss me and I just want them to be comfortable and gain some trust. And then we lift them up onto the top of a glass platform. It's about the equivalent of a tall kitchen table. It's about three and a half feet tall. And initially, the cover is in place. Because I just want the dog to get accustomed to standing at an elevated level. So we get them up there. We let them look around. We give them lots of praise, a few treats. And normally for most dogs, it's not any big deal. They think, "Hey, this is great fun."

PHIL   4:07 
It's only a big deal if their owner makes it a big deal. As many things with dogs, it's not their instinctual reaction that sometimes there's a problem. It's how the owner is reacting and then the dog feeds off that energy.

TOM  4:20 
That is absolutely right. And I prep the owner. The owner is standing right by their side the entire session. So as long as they're comfortable and they're not all freaked out, the dog thinks "Hey, this is fun. We're gonna, we're gonna have a good time up here." And so after a couple of minutes, as soon as we feel the dog is comfortable, we lift the dog up just an inch or two, slide the cover off, and then set them back down on, on the glass. And that's where the dog might for a few seconds say, Whoa, this is different. I'm not accustomed to standing on glass before!" But just scratch their ears a little bit, give 'em a few treats. and they're ready to go. So at that point, we just play with them while I photographed them. And the real trick is to get them to look downward towards the camera between their front legs. Because obviously, if they're just standing on the table looking straight out, picture's not going to be quite as interesting. I'm just gonna see their chin and their four legs. And, you know, if they have a lot of fur, that's kind of interesting. But the really cool pictures are when they start looking straight down towards the camera, or off to the side towards the camera. My goal is to see their expression and both of their eyes while they're eating their treats and playing. Most of the dogs have a great time up there on the table.

PHIL   5:43 
This is an unusual approach to photographing dogs. Any surprises in trying to capture UnderPaw photographs.

TOM  5:50 
A couple of things that surprised me in doing this. I've had dogs all my life, and I knew that dogs shed. But I tell you what, if you place them on a glass platform, you will be amazed at how much hair comes off of them. And then when they're eating peanut butter and treats all of the tongue marks on the glass. So I spend quite a bit of time cleaning the glass, wiping the hair off and so on. Because what I don't physically clean off, I have to remove in Photoshop after the session is finished. Each one of the pictures that I deliver takes 20, sometimes 30 minutes to, you know, clean it up and make it look perfect in Photoshop.

PHIL   6:31 
Listeners can see those perfectly Photoshopped shots on your website. We've talked about photographing shelter dogs a lot on this show with different guests who do that for shelters. And advice that they and I are always giving people for taking pictures of shelter dogs is get lower. You can't get too low. That's more of a dog's personality, getting down to their eye level than shooting down and getting the top of their head or their head thrown back and trying to get them to look up at you to take the shot. So getting low, especially once you've overcome your challenge of getting them to look down through the glass between their paws, that's also how they do a lot of their interaction with the world, with their nose. So you're getting a more genuine view of the dog in its natural state with its head down, but not taking a picture of their shoulders and back.

TOM  7:28 
Right. Right. The dogs are very comfortable there. Once we show them that it's okay, and they get to eat treats, it's not significantly different than them eating treats on your kitchen floor. So they're very comfortable looking down and having fun. It really is not as scary for the dog as you think it might be.

PHIL   7:49 
Are there types of dogs that respond better to being photographed UnderPaw than other types of dogs.

TOM  7:56 
We've shot very young dogs, you know, dogs that are only a few months old, and I've shot dogs that are 12, 13 years old. So age doesn't really matter. It's more of a personality. Dogs that are curious, but not crazed, tend to work better. If they're very timid, it takes a little bit more time to get them comfortable. But if they're just naturally curious, and they enjoy playing with their toy,s eating treats, it's a very easy shoot.

PHIL   8:25 
Reflective surfaces can be a photographer's nightmare, not just mirrors, but shiny glass. How do you accommodate your subject being on the other side of a shiny piece of glass.

TOM  8:37 
One of the challenges that I had early on was from a technical perspective, if you've ever looked into a window and tried to take a picture, you know how much reflection you get in the glass. And if you add flashes to the mix, it becomes even worse. So I use four studio flashes to do this. I have two from the bottom shooting up at about a 45 degree angle and I have two on top to shoot the upper, or to illuminate the upper part of the dog as they're standing there. Initially when I tried to do this, you know, it's just essentially a whiteout from some flashes shooting into a window. So it took a lot of time to iron out the details. I use a lot of black felt to shield things and the lights have to be fairly large diffuse lights instead of bright spotlights to reduce any shadows. But technically it was a lot of work. I've been doing photography about 40 years and this was a challenge to figure out how to make this happen.

PHIL   9:41 
Yeah, you don't often have that situation where somebody will say, "I want you to take my photo but through a window."

TOM  9:50 
Right.

PHIL   9:50 
I don't want you in my house.

TOM  9:53 
And normally if I was going to shoot through a window, let's say at a zoo, for example, I would go off to the side...

PHIL   10:01 
Yeah, and get an angle.

TOM  10:02 
...and get an angle so I'm not getting the reflection. But with this, I have to be dead center. My camera is dead center below the dog. And so it was a whole new world of challenges to make that look good.

PHIL   10:17 
Have you shot multiple dogs at the same time on the glass?

TOM  10:21 
I've tried that. And I've come to a compromise on that. When I'm shooting a single dog, usually I shoot a few 100 pictures during a session to pick five or eight that are really, really good. Physically, I can get multiple dogs on the glass, but the timing in order to get two dogs looking down between their legs, it's nearly impossible. So what I've decided...

PHIL   10:47 
Yeah, think of your family holiday photos where you try to get a shot of a dozen people. And you can't get everybody looking at the camera at the same time smiling, not blinking. Now try that with dogs.

TOM  10:58 
Right. So imagine, imagine a dog trying to get it between the legs. So what I do typically when a family brings in multiple dogs, is I will do individual sessions. And then in Photoshop, I just merge the best of each one of the dogs into a single image. And you really can't tell the difference. And it is just really cool. Families love to see, you know, all two or three of their dogs doing this at the same time. It's just a very unique perspective that when you look at it. It almost takes your breath away, because you've never seen your dog from this angle before.

PHIL   11:32 
It's their true personality. But it's also I think more of the way dogs see each other. Because they tend to get up underneath, you know, get to the undercarriage, and that's how they interact with each other. Have you shot animals other than dogs using this method?

TOM  11:49 
I have not. I'm certainly comfortable doing that. I've had people talk to me about shooting cats but they've actually not brought any of the cats over. My son's fiance is an entomologist. So they had all sorts of, like, tarantulas and things like that. That could be fun, also. It's a whole nother world when you're looking at animals from underneath. I had one client call and asked about incorporating their, like a 12 foot snake into their family pictures. And that was a little bit before I started doing the UnderPaw photography. But I thought, you know, maybe doing the snake might be fun viewing from underneath, also.

PHIL   12:33 
Do you get dogs that just don't want to wind down?

TOM  12:38 
I have never had a dog that was so crazed they wanted to immediately jump off the table or was just too wild to shoot. Because I can shoot very rapidly. It doesn't bother me if the dog is a bit hyper. I can shoot 12 frames per second. And if the dogs doing something, one of those 12 will turn out to look pretty cool. More of the issue is really dogs that just freeze up. Dogs can be like five year olds. If they get in a bad mood, and they don't want to smile for the camera or look where you want them to look, they just won't do that. So I've had occasionally had a few dogs that just look straight out. They freeze. They're a little bit uncomfortable with their feet on the platform. They're afraid they're gonna fall. And so takes a lot more time to get good pictures of those dogs. The more apprehensive ones.

PHIL   13:31 
All of the pictures look great that you have online, but I find particularly compelling are the dogs with long coat. And I'm not necessarily partial to those kinds of dogs. I have a pitbull and previously had a pitbull. They have very tight coats. But just the way the hair flows, kind of like a model tossing her hair, tossing her mane, to see just that flow of energy is very captivating.

TOM  13:56 
Absolutely. Absolutely. One of the dogs that I shot probably a month or so ago, just had really, really long floofy hair. And she was just so cute. In fact, they brought changes of clothing for that dog. I'm not sure if you saw those pictures, but some were a little like ballerina outfit and one was a t-shirt that they made out of their daughter's dance costume from 20 years ago. Things like that. But that dog was just so much fun to shoot. It was really sweet and would look down. And it was just a big white fluff ball with four black feet and a little black nose looking down at the camera. So much fun to shoot. But also the dogs with tight coats are really fun, also. I've got some shots of a dog with a black coat. It was a boxer. And this dog just had all sorts of energy and when I put a treat out it like would do a dive and spread all four legs out to get the treat and it was so excited. It's just a really fun way to show your dog's personality.

PHIL   15:02 
It's interesting, like with the dog with the outfit changes, you know, comes with its own wardrobe, there are dogs who seem to know, "This is my moment." And there's dogs that just like people, the camera loves them. You can't take a bad picture. I mean, we all, well, you probably know lots of people like this because you are looking at them through the eye of a photographer. But there's no way you could take a bad picture of this person. There's dogs like that. It just seems to always capture them in an interesting pose. They seem to know the camera is on them, that they're in frame. But capturing that with the dogs who don't have that, just as when you get a good picture of someone who doesn't have a lot of good pictures, you capture the one—that that's their look. That's them being who they really are. That has to be really special for that pet owner to get that good picture of their dog.

TOM  16:00 
It is and the people that bring their dogs to me absolutely love their dogs. Their dog is their life. So the people that come to me really want those special images of their dogs. Let's back up just a little bit from the UnderPaw sessions. Because those are a little bit different. But if I'm just trying to take an everyday ordinary special picture of that dog—and the people that are listening can apply this when they're trying to take pictures of their dog—I've got just a handful of things that really help you to capture the personality of your dog. One of them is to use natural light, if possible. If you use the flash on the camera, your subject tends to look fairly flat and get some weird shadows in the background. You want to be able to have a fairly fast shutter speed. So if your camera has sport mode, that'll allow you to capture your dog while he's moving a little bit.

PHIL   17:01 
I don't know that everyone realizes the customization that is available to them on their smartphone. They know their smartphone takes great pictures and has some presets. But it also does allow you to adjust things like speed and light settings and all that.

TOM  17:19 
Absolutely. So I would encourage people if you're doing this on your iPhone or your Android phone, look it up. Look how you control those things. But when you're photographing your dog, use a fast shutter speed because your dog is going to be moving around. And as you mentioned earlier, get down to their level. Dogs just get really excited when you're down at their level. You want to shoot in their environment. If they like to play with a special old toy, get a picture of them from a low level, carrying around this raggedy old toy that they just love to play with. Obviously, use treats and toys and things like that. One of the challenges of using your cell phone to get really great dog pictures is an issue that's called latency. And that's the delay that occurs between when you push the button with a cell phone and when it actually takes the picture. Sometimes cell phones have a second even sometimes more delay and by the time a second goes by your dog is off to something else.

PHIL   18:22 
Yes.

TOM  18:22 
So you want to be able to get a lot of pictures very quickly. That's why if you have a DSLR camera, that will probably work a little bit better than your cell phone at getting pictures of an active dog. We shoot in a session two or 300 pictures. So if you expect to get a great shot with only shooting one or two, it's probably going to be a challenge. And I think the final thing when you're shooting your pet is don't make it a battle. Make it fun. Because if it's a battle you're gonna lose. When your pet shuts down and they say, "I'm done with this. You've hollered at me to look at the camera for the last time. I don't want any more of this." You're not going to get them to come into frame and get a good shot. So make it fun. Play with them. Toss the ball. Lots of treats. Get down low.

PHIL   19:13 
It goes back to the family holiday photo I was mentioning a moment ago. You've got the eight year old who insists on frowning or sticking out their tongue. If you turn this into a battle of wills, not only will you get a bad picture of him, you're going to spoil everyone else's day and everyone's gonna look bad in the picture. So make it fun. It doesn't have to be the perfect pose. Figure out a way to make it fun for everyone. That applies to people. That applies to dogs. You don't do exclusively dog photography. What's some of the other work that you're available for?

TOM  19:48 
Correct. We're a full service studio. So we do commercial photography. That includes marketing pictures. We do product photography. We do professional portraits for businesses. We do family photography, senior sessions, weddings. We do just about any type of photography that's out there. One of the things that makes me a little different than some photographers is I love to find out what people are passionate about and take pictures of that. So if you're into sports, we can do some fun lighting in the studio to get some really cool pictures of you with your racket or your ball. I had one senior that was really into cooking. And she was in one of the culinary schools. And so we took a lot of pictures of her cutting up food and doing things like that. And then at the end of the session, I took some flour, and I threw flour on her face, and she just lit up like a Christmas tree. It was just so much fun. And I got pictures of her with a little bit of flour on her face. And so just things that make it fun. One of the pictures that I've done a lot for the last 20 years or so are images that I call memory photos. And this is where I photograph the subject, whether this is a couple that's been married for 40 years, or senior or something else. And I photograph them in front of a large empty picture frame. And then using Photoshop, I insert an image from 20 or 30 years ago. This could be maybe their original wedding picture. So now you're seeing 'em after 40 years of marriage. Or if this is a senior it might have been their first day of school. And it's a way of capturing the passage of time through a single picture.

PHIL   21:40 
That's a great idea.

TOM  21:41 
It works out really well for invitations and those sort of things. It's just fun and different. It's not your typical photo that you get from most photographers.

PHIL   21:51 
From describing these different approaches that you've taken and what you've come up with the UnderPaw photography, I'm a general consultant, primarily a media consultant. One thing that frustrates me, and perhaps you've encountered this as well, is someone will hire a creative, whether it's a photographer, a writer, et cetera. But then they have their own preconceived notion of, "Here's what I want you to execute." What you're hiring with a creative is a problem solver, a problem solver with lots of experience and lots of skill in this. Trust them. There's a Modern Family episode, and I think it was one of the first couple seasons where they're taking the family photo and control freak Claire and gotten everybody in the family is we're all dressed in white, and we're gonna stand in her father's gorgeous lawn, and the photographer is gonna take the picture, and the sprinkler system goes off. And everything that can go wrong does go wrong. And there's lots of latent issues that come to the surface that people are sniping about. And through this whole thing, the photographer is just standing there with his camera, "We're losing our light."

TOM  23:03 
Mm hmm.

PHIL   23:04 
That is a script writer needing to get a scene. Because a real professional photographer, certainly the ones that could be afforded by Claire and everyone on this show, would be someone who would be solving the problem. Not just standing there passively.

TOM  23:22 
Right.

PHIL   23:22 
"Well, we're losing our light. Everybody line up the way Claire's already figured this out." You step up and solve the problem. I love hearing you talk about you let the chef do her setups that she wants to and then have fun with it.

TOM  23:35 
Right.

PHIL   23:36 
Find someone's personality. So you hire a photographer, you hire someone to be creative, get your money's worth. Let them do their job. And I think you'll be very impressed, very pleased. Certainly looking at BradleyPhotog.com you're going to be very impressed with everything that Tom has to offer. Any new things that you're coming up with? Are you going to build on the UnderPaw? Something exciting that you're going to roll out?

TOM  24:04 
I would probably say that I want to continue to do this to bring different types of animals into the UnderPaw type of work. I've only been doing this type of session for about a year. And it's just been gradually growing and growing and growing. I'm getting three or four engagements per week that are interested in doing this. So I think this is going to grow and keep me fairly busy. Just a little background on where this came from. I said that there's no one in the area that's doing this and that's very true. But I was inspired by a person in Lithuania. His name is Andrius Burba—B-U-R-B-A. So if you're at all curious about his work, look him up. But he does some amazing things with huge animals. He does horses and cows and bicycles and all sorts of things photographed from underneath. And so while I aspire to be able to shoot horses from underneath, I think that is going to be a little while. He does some beautiful work. And one of the things I would just encourage everybody to do is be creative with your photography, whether it's your cell phone or whatever. Just look around. See the world from a different perspective. You rarely get a good picture standing six feet tall from a sidewalk. Get down there. Mix it up with your subject. Change your angle, your perspective, and you'll get something a little bit more unique, and something you'll enjoy a little bit more.

PHIL   25:39 
And as we've covered before on this show, it's not like when I was a kid, and you had 24 exposures on your roll, and you had to think what's the best use of these 24 exposures?

TOM  25:52 
Right.

PHIL   25:52 
And I can't wait until I get these back from Kmart.

TOM  25:57 
Exactly. Photography has changed enormously. In some ways for the good. In some ways for the bad. Used to be, as you said, we just had a roll of film, you had to wait and get it exposed. Now we get immediate feedback on our pictures. People, though, sometimes have an unrealistic expectation of what they look like. They're accustomed to seeing magazine pictures. And sometimes I will shoot just absolutely beautiful young seniors. And they're not happy with themselves. They want things changed. Things bigger, some things smaller, you know. I try to encourage people to just love who they are and what they look like, rather than trying to Photoshop everything.

PHIL   26:42 
I heard a podcast host making this point. And he's made this point a couple of times. When you look at your yearbook photos, not even necessarily even your senior photos, but just different photos of you and your high school yearbook and you think, "I'm just a big dork." And then when you're 42 and your kid busts out your yearbook it's like, "Oh, look at you Dad!" I was kind of a good looking kid.

TOM  27:07 
Yeah.

PHIL   27:08 
It took me 20 plus years to notice that I was good looking. But you have this expectation or vision that you're not fitting. And so that is a disappointment. Instead of getting the distance and then recognizing, yeah, I'm better looking than I thought I was.

TOM  27:28 
Right. And I will also say that I'm very thankful when I was growing up that we didn't have cell phones. Right now we take pictures of everything with our cell phone. Every time you go to a party or you go out or you go into Walmart, and maybe you're not quite looking up to snuff, somebody's gonna have a cell phone, or you're doing something you know, really crazy. Anymore, it is captured and it doesn't go away. It will be there 20 years, 10 years, whatever, someone will be able to pull up that picture of you doing something crazy.

PHIL   28:02 
The late great Norm Macdonald had a bit about there's one photograph of his grandfather and he's like hunched over and scowling standing next to a pig. My grandchild is going to be able to say, "Here's 120,000 pictures of my grandfather."

TOM  28:19 
That is, that is absolutely true. And not only pictures of people. We take pictures of every meal that we cook of just about everything, and we put it on social media. Probably more information than most people want to know about us some of us put on social media.

PHIL   28:36 
I'll link to the episode we did with Gary Lezak. But he and I had a delightful discussion about just this topic. You don't have to take a picture of everything. Maybe just enjoy the experience.

TOM  28:49 
Right.

PHIL   28:49 
Rather than remembering taking a picture, just remembering how it felt to be on that trip, or at that dinner party, or tasting that meal, or having that conversation. Have the experience. Participate. And then let Tom Bradley create that special photograph of capturing your personality, your dog's personality. I think a few really good photos would be a lot better than having thousands of mediocre ones.

TOM  29:23 
Yeah, I couldn't agree more. I would encourage people to put the phone back in their pocket and live in the moment. Enjoy life. Take some pictures of course. But you don't need a million of them. Take a few great ones and, and enjoy the situation.

PHIL   29:40 
Quality over quantity. I hope it's not lost on our listeners that a professional photographer is telling them, "Take fewer pictures." But actually I think that speaks to your professionalism.

TOM  29:52 
I love photography. I love to talk to people. So even if you just, you know, are thinking about getting a new camera or you want to throw around some ideas or be creative, I would enjoy talking with you. And so just give me a call.

PHIL   30:07 
That's easy to do. Just go to Tom's website linked in the description. We're losing, I think, the appreciation for expertise.

TOM  30:17 
Right, for talking to real people that can have a two way conversation. If someone asks me, "Well, Tom, what sort of camera should I buy?" The first question that I ask them is, "Well, tell me about the pictures that you like to take. What are your needs?" And that will lead the discussion. The other thing that I think people will get too focused on is the technology piece of it, and not the technique. You can put a $5,000 camera in someone's hand and if they don't have the eye, the creativity, if they can't talk to the subject and make them comfortable, they're not gonna get very good pictures. At the same time. If you are a good photographer, you can get some amazing shots with a $200 camera. So it's not all about the equipment. You don't need to spend thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars to have cutting edge equipment. And manufacturers are getting into this megapixel war. Everybody thinks that the more megapixels that you have, the better pictures you'll get. Well, maybe if you're printing something the size of a billboard...

PHIL   30:42 
Yes!

TOM  30:43 
...you'll need 45 or 50 megapixels. But the average photographer doesn't.

PHIL   31:29 
It doesn't occur to them, when they open it on their editor on their computer, that they're seeing, like 1/10 of the photo and they have to scale it down so they can actually see what the photo is. So think about the photo that you've just taken.

TOM  31:42 
Right. And that's a really good point. One of the things that makes photography more difficult, is you have a client that maybe is gonna get an 11 x 14 or an 8 x 10 picture. And yet they've got this big monster monitor, and they click, click, click, click, click to zoom in all the way to see one single eyeball. And it's just unrealistic the magnification that they use to find imperfections, things that you'll never see in the real world if it's shown on social media or a routine size print.

PHIL   32:17 
The legendary producer engineer Alan Parsons, of the Alan Parsons Project, engineered the Dark Side of the Moon. He's literally written books and created videos on the art and science of audio production. And he says, "I'll help someone build their control room, their production studio, or I'll go into production studio. And they have the most expensive audio monitors you can buy. They are the best. And if you want to listen to Dark Side of the Moon remastered, you want these monitors. But when you're editing audio for someone who's gonna be listening on earbuds, you need to have little cheap speakers to know what this will sound like for your audience because 99.999% of the people who listen to this audio are not gonna have the monitors that you're mixing this on."

TOM  33:10 
Exactly.

PHIL   33:11 
And he says many people miss that. And you put this work into it that no one's ever going to appreciate because you're the only one who's ever going to hear it.

TOM  33:19 
Right. And so the advice that I give people for viewing their images is never view it on your monitor more than twice the size of what the size will be in the final product. So if it's gonna be a small corner of your webpage, double that size, and how does it look from those dimensions. But there is no sense in zooming in to the point where you can see every hair on their head to identify a couple of stray hairs because fixing it just isn't worth your time or trouble.

PHIL   33:53 
Yeah, think of the wasted hours that amateurs have spent using Photoshop.

TOM  33:59 
Very true.

PHIL   34:00 
Because I thought that immediately when you said that you spend 20, 30 minutes. I thought, "Yeah, you spend 20, 30 minutes and you make it good enough that no one would ever know the difference between what you spent 20, 30 minutes on and what the clueless person spent a week."

TOM  34:17 
Right. If I'm doing an event, shooting a wedding, or some sort of an event, I spend no more than 30 seconds or a minute retouching images. I'll go through each and every one, color correct them, recrop them, and so on. If there's a kind of an annoying distraction in the background, get rid of that. But unless it's the image that they're going to blow up into poster size, there's, there's no use spending the time to Photoshop each and every little aspect.

PHIL   34:51 
It's the Dunning-Kruger effect. Your level of competence is not high enough for you to recognize how incompetent you are.

TOM  35:04 
Yeah.

PHIL   35:04 
As you become more competent, you have a better recognition of your incompetence until you get to the point where you are highly competent, at which point you accurately assess, perhaps even under estimating how competent you are.

TOM  35:18 
Photoshop can be, I guess, dangerous almost in the hands of some people. They don't know when to stop. They don't know when to say enough is enough. And that's a skill that's difficult to learn for some people because you can keep tweaking and retouching and changing until it doesn't resemble reality anymore. So you have to be able to say enough.

PHIL   35:42 
And really about the only way to learn how to make that assessment is through experience. Spending a lot of time shooting photos. Spending a lot of time on Photoshop. If that interests you, by all means do that. Or trust a pro. Trust an expert like Tom Bradley with Bradley Photography BradleyPhotog.com is linked in the description. So if you want a memorable photo of your dog, your family, your product, your event, check out Bradley Photography. Tom, thank you so much for letting our listeners know about your fun, innovative approach to dog photography, and for sharing some great advice.

TOM  36:18 
Thanks, Phil.

PHIL   36:31 
I'm Phil Hatterman and you've been listening to Dog Words presented by Rosie Fund.

thank you to Tom Bradley of Bradley Photography for joining us today. Links to Bradley Photography online are in the description including a video of an UnderPaw session. There's also a link to the Gary Lezak episode I referenced in the Dog Words archive.

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