I don't often get requests for dramatic lighting from my pet photography clients, but I wish I did! I really like the look and how it isolates the animal from any other distraction. You really focus on their expression and eyes.
I decided to take on a challenge this week for the theme of the Pet Photography 52 Week Project, "Get Lit", and bring my dog Gracie into the studio for some dramatic lighting images. Gracie's black and brown, so I set the bar high by putting her against a black backdrop and setting up my lights in such a way as to just light her and her outline against the black.
We love her perfect Eddie Munster widow's peak and the fact that she looks perpetually worried, even when she's happily gnawing on a bone. Given the fact that it's clear that she needs another shedding because I can see individual hairs working their way out of her coat, I'd say that I succeeded in my lighting set up!
(click on any image to view full screen)
A little extra oomph...
Even though I liked the dramatic lighting, I felt that I needed to brighten Gracie's neck and chest area ever so slightly so I added a silver reflector and placed it on my lap and tilted it upward to bounce back some of the main light up under her chin. Can you see the difference? Subtle, but her waddle (sorry Gracie) really shows now! Sometimes you don't need a light to "get lit", you can just use the photography equivalent of some tin foil!
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 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.