It's week 39 of the 52 Week Pet Photography Project and the subject is "natural light", something very near and dear to my heart. I regularly use flash-fill (also known as flash-assist) on location as under many conditions it does return a better image with more depth and dimension. That being said, you can also achieve beautiful results during the golden hours (the hour right around sunrise and sunset) with some knowledge and practice of how to best take advantage of it.
In some cases it's not a matter of how you're photographing a session but rather who you're photographing, like a 4 month old puppy for example. It's a pretty tall order to try to use a strobe outdoors when you're dealing with a bouncing puppy, so in those cases you just make the natural light work. The key is finding those pockets of "sweet light" that put catchlights in the eyes and provide a bit of shadow to convey shape.
I'd like you to meet Bindi, a rescue pup that I recently photographed for Coppell Humane Society. I was warned; Bindi is bouncy. So I just left the strobe at home and scheduled the session at 7:30 in the morning to catch the pretty golden light of sunrise.
(click on any image to view full screen)
Different Looks, Same Park
You don't need a large, perfect expanse of background to make a great image. All of these images were taken within a 100' diameter at a local park in Coppell, Texas. I looked for areas where the light was soft and there was texture and interest in the scenery and let Bindi do the rest by changing up her looks.
In some ways I prefer natural light photography, not only because it's nice to travel light and be able to rapidly move and adjust to capture a dog's quick movements, but also because the light quality can be so beautiful with a warm kiss of golden light that you just can't replicate with a flash or strobe. I can't wait to see what the other pet photographers have done with this popular topic this week starting with Pet Love Photography, serving Greater Cincinnati, the San Francisco Bay Area, and destinations nationwideand then continue clicking in the bottom of each post for a gorgeous around-the-world tour of some pretty terrific 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 and engagement, family and high school senior portraits as well as corporate headshots and commercial photography in her studio located in old town Carrollton as well as out on location in Coppell and surrounding communities in Dallas – Fort Worth, Texas.