It's week 19 of the Pet Photographer 52 Week Project and the theme is Photographer's Choice, so I decided to peel back the curtain a bit and show how I continue to work on my craft and develop new techniques to add to my client offerings. One can never "learn photography" and be done with it. Photography is a lifelong journey and I never stop learning!
I just wrapped up a weeklong workshop at the Texas School of Professional Photography, which I'm lucky enough to have so close by in Addison, Texas. Professional photographers from around the world travel to Dallas for this weeklong event for over 40 years now. It's billed as the world's largest photography school and I can believe based on how many people I see in the dinner line! You select one class from over 30 and that's your class for the week. This year I chose "Creative Off Camera Flash and Modern Posing". You might think, posing? Yes, posing! Posing is at least 50% of the success of a beautiful image and I'm always looking for creative ways to pose people with their pets, not just make my headshot and senior clients look their best.
We had a lot of fun in the class, playing with colored lights, fire and fog, but one of the things that interested me the most was how to use flash during the day time to properly expose the subject as well as the sky. Our eyes see both properly exposed, but our camera can't. If you expose for the subject, the sky will be washed out. If you expose for the sky, the subject will be dark and shadowed. We have such big, open skies here in Texas that learning this technique was on the top of my list. And then the rains came. Every day. We never saw a blue sky the entire week we were in class so we could only discuss the concept of "holding a blue sky", but could not practice it.
Fast forward a few days, and after getting caught up from being out of the studio for a week, I saw a blue sky and puffy white clouds out my office window. "Come on Ginger, let's go". A day or two earlier, I had seen a nice field of the colorful Indian Blanket flower not too far from my house so off we went with my camera, strobe light, Ginger and a pouch of treats. I'm not going to lie. This took some trial and error and it was hot out there, but eventually I got the camera and strobe settings dialed in to expose Ginger correctly and hold a beautiful blue sky!
My Best Model
It's a rare picture of Ginger standing. She's so used to modeling for me that she just lays down when she hears the word "stay", because she knows she's going to be there for a while! I love the big flower off to the right - and that sky!
Ginger had a great time running around in the field off leash (we've worked hard on her recall - but having treats on hand is always a good idea to ensure that something more interesting doesn't catch her eye). There were some fisherman down by the river that caught her eye here and I got a nice, intense gaze from her.
This was just about the time that I figured out the settings, so this was Ginger either saying "Here, give me the camera, I'll figure it out!", or "I'm going to need another treat if this is going to take much longer".
It's going to be a real surprise to see what the other pet photographers have to share this week, starting with Lynda Mowat from Heartstrings Photography, capturing memories from across the Waikato in New Zealand and then continue clicking on the link at the bottom of each page for an around the world tour of choice pet photography! Tracy Allard of Penny Whistle Photography is a Certified Professional Photographer with the organization Professional Photographers of America; a designation held by fewer than 2,500 photographers nationwide and a hallmark of consistency, technical skill, artistry and professionalism. Penny Whistle specializes in both natural light and studio photography providing pet, couple & engagement, family and high school senior portraits as well as corporate headshots and commercial photography services in her studio located in historic downtown Carrollton as well as on location in Coppell, Grapevine, Southlake, Flower Mound and surrounding communities in Dallas – Fort Worth, Texas.