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

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!
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Abbeygail

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

James
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Manhattan, New York, NY Pet Photographer


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

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.
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Best,
Jim

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