Take your photography to the next level and beyond...

  • NEWS
  • REVIEWS
  • INSPIRATION
  • COMMUNITY
  • COMPETITIONS

Why not join for free today?

Join for Free

Your total photography experience starts here


what shall I get next for lighting my dog portraits?


Sus 10 3.2k 9 England
21 May 2011 10:06PM
So I am due a little present, and wondering what to ask for. I would like something useful for my dog portraits. I like the style of Jeff Moore and Tim Flach among others who use flash for their dog portraits. I would like to do high key indoor portraits with a white background. So, on my wish list would be something to give me a clean background (possibly just a third light?), but I do have french doors so thought I could just try putting my shower curtain in front of those, when its daylight.

Other things I'm interested in are light modifiers, such as a beauty dish. Or a ring flash?

At the moment I have 2 flashguns plus an off camera flashgun trigger.

What do you suggest would be most useful for me at this stage? (and bear in mind I'm a bumbling keen amateur not a professional). I also like taking human portraits and dog action photography.

- a third speedlight to light the background
- a ringflash
- a beautydish for a flashgun eg http://www.warehouseexpress.com/buy-interfit-strobies-mini-reflector-beauty-dish/p1031869
- another big 5 in 1 reflector (probably one of my most useful items of equipment, as long as I have an assistant to hold it!) and light and portable and easy to pack away all bonuses. Also my new studio space has lots of natural light during the day.
- or should I just stop faffing around with flashguns, bite the bullet and look at entry level studio lights? (reluctant, due to storage space and because I'm wedded to the strobist ideals)

Join ePHOTOzine for free and remove these adverts.

BigRick 9 2.1k 3 United Kingdom
21 May 2011 11:34PM
personaly another speedlight to keep it all portable. More money than a studio flash, but ultimately (for me) more flexible. Two speedlights on the background, one each side, through an umbrella, and one speedlight and a reflector to light the subject. Smile
jimthistle73 11 2.4k 1 United Kingdom
22 May 2011 1:00AM
If you want a white background, you'll need more power than a speedlight can offer. I use a 300W light through a brolly behind a white canvas backdrop (shooting through the thin material, along with a key light and fill light (two more studio heads with brollies / softboxes). Here's one shot yesterday using that setup;


elijah-53.jpg



And there's a photo in this blog post which shows the setup in use (complete with dog!);

http://hairydogphotography.blogspot.com/2011/05/two-days-two-dogs.html

So, yes, if you'd like to give the dog a bit of space to move around, then studio lights are the way forward!
Sus 10 3.2k 9 England
22 May 2011 10:11AM
cheers. It was that pic that gave me the idea for just using the french doors instead of a light behind (checked out your blog earlier!).

Big Rick, see what you're saying, but I feel another speedlight is a bit boring. I hate the idea that I need to spend money on the background rather than lighting the model! But thanks both for suggestions. Have to see how generous OH is feeling!
Sus 10 3.2k 9 England
22 May 2011 10:13AM
Jim what is the background set up you are using in the blog set up pic (mine is currently a shower curtain as I said!)
BigRick 9 2.1k 3 United Kingdom
22 May 2011 11:54AM

Quote:If you want a white background, you'll need more power than a speedlight can offer. I use a 300W light through a brolly behind a white canvas backdrop (shooting through the thin material, along with a key light and fill light (two more studio heads with brollies / softboxes). Here's one shot yesterday using that setup;




And there's a photo in this blog post which shows the setup in use (complete with dog!);

http://hairydogphotography.blogspot.com/2011/05/two-days-two-dogs.html

So, yes, if you'd like to give the dog a bit of space to move around, then studio lights are the way forward!



no you dont. Two speedlights through white umbrellas are more than enough power.
Sus 10 3.2k 9 England
22 May 2011 9:23PM
img-5775-demobackground.jpg



I managed this, with just a window for background.

img-0948.jpg



Given that I'm only doing this for fun, the fact that I may be limited to about 2 or 3 useable hours a day when there's sunlight is acceptable. So that's why I'd prefer to spend on lighting subject than background.

But I see your point. It would be more flexible.
jimthistle73 11 2.4k 1 United Kingdom
26 May 2011 12:55AM
Sus - I bought two Aldi plasterboard DIY holder-uppers for about a tenner and a set of ex-army tent poles off ebay for a fiver. The backdrop is a cut down 5M by 10M, non-reflective, white canvas sheet. I started off with a 'regular' backdrop setup which cost me around 120 but found that it just wasn't stable enough around dogs and toddlers - it just takes one falling crossbar incident and a claim-happy customer for one's insurance to double :-( (this did happen, but the client rolled about on the floor laughing, rather than call their lawyer, and the lesson was learned!). That shower curtain setup works a treat BTW - if you stuck a powerful speedlight behind it, it would work in any lighting conditions!

The advantage of the DIY poles is that they are absolutely rock solid - I've had dogs run into the backrop at full pelt and the whole setup stays standing!

I use three big spring-claps from B&Q to clamp the backdrop to the poles - the main body of the bolt of cloth is rolled out over the floor, rather than hanging from the backdrop support.

BigRick - yes you can achieve a white backdrop with even one speedlight but the shutter speed suffers when trying to freeze movement. Also, when using speedlites through brollies to light the BG, some of the light is always going to spill back onto the subject requiring a greater backdrop to subject distance. If you shoot through the backdrop, through a brolly, using a BIG light, the light is so diffuse (soft) that you don't lose edge detail in the subject. So I guess that one BIG light and two speedlights would be an OK setup, but I like to have uniformity accross my system, i.e., all lights from the same manufacturer so I can use remote triggers from the same source (for instance).

Glad someone reads my blog Smile
Sus 10 3.2k 9 England
26 May 2011 9:00AM
Thanks Jim! I will look for those things. Good point about making it secure, hadn't really thought about that.

I think I'm going to borrow a speedlite to see how I can manage with 3, before deciding!

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.