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#38070 - 01/19/12 05:27 PM Lighting in Pet Photography
Abbeycrombie Offline

Registered: 11/24/11
Loc: Canada
Hey everyone!

I currently volunteer to take photos of rescue dogs and am using it as a practice before I actually dive into opening a business. These photos are taken at a chosen person's house which is a great scenario to put myself into.

When I went to my first shoot, I really wanted to go with natural lighting so I didn't even bother to pull out my external flash at this time. However, I realized that it was quite difficult to reach a level of light that I wanted in the photos. I shot as wide open as I could, typically f/1.8 or f/2.8 and it still didn't bring in enough light, even with a big window. Using high ISO is not ideal because I could already see the graininess at ISO 800 so I am also trying to avoid doing this. I felt there was no other way for me to get the amount of light I needed unless I used a flash. The photos improved a lot and have been shooting this way since, BUT I would still like to make the photos look more natural.

The photos I currently take have a very studio style look which is fine. There are some cases when I don't mind this, but I was wondering if anyone could tell me if there is a way to achieve a natural look even with a flash without sacrificing much of the shutter speed? Dogs move everywhere so it's important for me to be able to have a high shutter speed to avoid blur from a very curious and active puppy. What would I have to do? Any thoughts and suggestions would be great and appreciated!

Thank you!

#38074 - 01/20/12 05:06 AM Re: Lighting in Pet Photography [Re: Abbeycrombie]
James Morrissey Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/11/05
Loc: Manhattan, New York, New York
Unless I have been shooting outdoors, I have had a difficult time doing this. Shooting indoors, without additional light, is a nightmare. The trick, I think is that direct flash crushes pretty much everything you want in creating an image.

Generally, my goal is one of a few things:
1. mimicking the sun for a certain warm look
2. elimination of shadows
3. emphasizing certain features

Doing this without a studio setup is difficult - particularly when shooting dogs as DOF is such a huge issue.

I think to answer your question though,it might be helpful to see samples of the problem. Suggestions of what could have been done would be next. Thoughts?

Manhattan, New York, NY Pet Photographer

#38075 - 01/20/12 03:22 PM Re: Lighting in Pet Photography [Re: James Morrissey]
Jim Poor Offline

Registered: 05/07/08
Loc: Virginia, USA
If you're looking for ways to make artificial light look natural, I'd suggest Joe McNally and Strobist.com.

Visit my website


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