I take a lot of silhouette portraits when I'm on location for sunrise and sunset pet and equine portrait sessions in and around the Dallas - Fort Worth metroplex but decided to create something in my Carrollton studio for this week's theme of "silhouette" in the Pet Photographer 52 Week Project.
I used a large constant light source (so not a flash, but a light that provides a constant, even source of light much like a window in your home), lowered it to the floor and posed our border collie puppy Rooney, in front of it. Rooney is a teenager right now. He'll soon turn one year old and he's got all the teenager hormones and defiance one would expect in an adolescent boy so I brought my husband, and a tennis ball, along for some help. He used to love to pose in front of the camera. Now? Not so much.
The tennis ball turned out to be a great idea - we could't gain his attention with treats, but the minute my husband held up the ball, focus! We got the profile image I was looking for pretty quickly so I wanted to try capturing him catching the ball at the perfect moment. This was a practice in my husband tossing the ball just right, Rooney catching it in the semi-darkness - while remaining in front of the light source - and me having my hand/eye coordination game on point. I'm proud to say we nailed it in less than ten tosses! See below for a behind-the-scenes look at the set up.
Behind the Scenes
The full frame image below shows the set up that went into making the silhouette, and my husband's hand outlined with a bit of rim lighting off to the right side of the frame as he was tossing the ball. I turned the light source vertical because Rooney kept leaping up to catch the ball and we had to position him in such a way that he when he stepped forward to catch it, he was still in front of it to create a perfect silhouette.
Want to try this yourself? You can do the same thing in front of a window or glass door in your home. Once the pet is positioned, you need only to set the exposure in your camera for the light source - not the subject. You don't want to expose for your subject because you want him/her to be underexposed so as to be silhouetted. Easy peasy!
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. Her border collie puppy Rooney will turn one year old soon and she hopes that he'll soon grow out of his sullen teenager phase and yet again enjoy posing in front of the camera for her.
Penny Whistle specializes in both on-location and studio photography providing pet, equine, family, couples & engagement 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.