Every week a group of wonderful pet photographers are challenged with a new topic.  This week’s challenge was dramatic lighting.  My studio lends itself to this type of lighting and I had a lot of fun trying out some different lighting set-ups.

The first main light modifier I tried was a snoot.  A snoot physically narrows light into a small spot beam.  Doesn’t that sound dramatic?  This is a photo of a snoot (photo credit Paul C. Buff Inc.).

snootFirst up was princess Julie.  I lit her with a strip grid from behind and a snoot as a main light in the front (each at 45 degrees from her).  1/200 – f8 – ISO 200.  Dramatic?  Yes.  Do I like it?  No.  I don’t like the harsh shadow it throws to the side of her muzzle.  So I knew I needed to try something that would still be dramatic, but provide a softer light.

Drama Julie_

The next main light I tried was a strip grid as my main light opposite a strip grid in the back, effectively sandwiching Julie in between (thank you iPhone camera!):

Pull back-Edit


Julie was still cooperative, so here she is when positioned like the image above 1/200 – f9 – ISO 200:

Drama Julie 2

This setup throws off a much softer, yet still dramatic light.  I felt I could use a little more light from the strip grid in the back, so I turned it up a bit and brought in my drama king Jack.  I have never met a dog that could look more ‘woe is me’ than this pup!  But don’t fall for his woeful look; he loves helping and jumps right into position!  Next time I would aim the strip grid in the back just a tad higher so there is more separation from the background  at the top of his head.  But I like this look a lot!  1/200 – f9 – ISO 200.  I added a texture to add some interest to the background.

Drama Jack

This was fun!  I prefer the softer light of great big softboxes that wrap around the dog, but this was great to try.  Let’s see how other pet photographers around the world had fun with this week’s topic!  Click on the link at the bottom of each page to reach the next photographer and follow all the  links until you arrive back here!  First up is  Colorado pet photographer, StinkDog Photos.