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Thread: Dog Photography- 2 Light setup, Black Background tips & Examples

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    Dog Photography- 2 Light setup, Black Background tips & Examples

    Hi everyone. Happy New Year and may you all have a good one!

    The other day I installed some new V-Tec synthetic background rolls as the paper ones had seen better days.
    Decided to go with the BLK for this session, using a 2 light soft box setup.

    Lights were positioned low, the key just a little camera left, and a rim/side nearly at perpendicular position mid torso. Both at approximately 30 degree angle to even out shadow casts.

    Use these settings to try yourself:
    Manual EV 125th @ f/11 for key, and f/9.5 for rim to get some good separation from the black BG.
    ISO 100.

    Take your meter reading (handheld) for the Key light down at eye level, pointed at the lens. (f/11 @ 125). For the rim light, point the meter directly at the light from the same position as before.

    5DMKII, RAW processed in LR3. Not much more than adjusted the shadows in Tone Curve to get the deep black BG, and a slight -Vibrance (-17).
    CHECK histogram highlights during capture as to not blow out any white furry bits! (Particularly around nose!)

    Featuring super easy FurModels Edward (Brown/Red BC) and Amie, our fur kids. Just to note, Edward has NEVER liked photo sessions, but this time he was laying there waiting as I was still setting up. Couldn't believe it!

    Anyway, give it a try. If you don't have lights, get to a diffused large window, pref a sliding door with indirect sunlight. Cloudy day also good.
    Use a reflector to fill in the shadows a little.
    The trick is to have a TV of no less than 1/125 for a doggy laying around. In a pinch, 1/60 ok if they're totally chilled. Focal length anywhere from 70-150mm works great. Focus on the near eye.
    Get down on the GROUND...... eye level with the dog! (Kills your neck btw) TIP: if you happen to have a mechanics trolley to lay on, it's awesome for repositioning yourself with a simple glide and push!)







    Note his legs reflected in the eye here......





    B&W conversion here for something different. 1:1 crop


    Amie the black bear..... No EV comp used for the black coat. Note how much more light is absorbed.
    In the past, I'd normally grab for around +1/2 stop EV comp by boosting the lights to read f/13







    Last edited by Cam Scott; 13-01-2012 at 8:35am.
    Cam Scott | B E S T F R I E N D P O R T R A I T S . C O M
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    Canon 5DmkII, 7D | 16-35 f2.8L | 50 1.8 | 24-105 f4L | 70-200 f2.8 | 100-400 f4.5-5.6L |
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    These are great, Cam. Have you tried processing them in the public beta of Lightroom 4? I was surprised by the amount of added flexibility it gave in processing! Thanks for posting the strobe settings, too!
    Waz
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    My Flickr images ...

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    This thread is in Hints N Tips, so please discuss the processing etc, ask questions etc, but it is not a critique forum
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

    Constructive Critique of my photographs is always appreciated
    Nikon, etc!

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    Ausphotography Regular Allie's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips, Cam. I have to admit I nearly missed them due to the font and colour but hey, I don't mind working for this info .... now to put it into practice.

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    You have a great setup and composition,not to forget those great dogs that know how to pose TFS

    cheers




    Nikon D750,D700,D300s,Coolpix P7700
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    They are just gorgeous, and thanks for the set up, been wanting to get better at these
    "I press buttons and hope for the best!"
    Check out my Flickr page


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    If anyone would like some tips, advice or have a question relating to dog photography, please feel free to ask away!
    As Rick said, this forum is for tips and advice.

    I'll be more than happy to share some knowledge to help people get better shots

    Cam

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    Hey cam,
    When u have time would you be able to post a pic of the actual set up please? I wanna try this out with my pugs
    Cheers

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    Low Key DIAGRAM 2 Light setup for dogs as requested.

    Ok, then here is a mock-up of the setup I used.
    The image clearly shows what distances I used for THESE set of photos. Also, the lights in this setup shot are at 45 deg, unlike the 30 deg I used in the posted images.
    If you try the lights at 45 and 30, you'll see how the shadows on the dog's chest can be evened out a lot better at 30 degrees. (You'll need to lower the lights just a tad though, keeping the same distance from the subject.

    The black background is around 4 m from the camera. My studio room is 7m long x 3 m wide.

    The is a grid on the rim light to protect from lens flare, and better control spill.
    The tripod is just to show where I shot from. I 99% use handheld for dogs.

    The dog is my PROP Border Collie, April. Edward is In-Love.... with this stuffed toy! Seriously.

    I normally black out for the sessions too. I've turned on down lights and opened the blind on the double doors on the right to allow light in. BTW, that light coming in from the doors is very nice filtered light for ppl portraits.

    I hope the diagrams are self explanatory, and this will give you a chance to try for yourself.
    Regards,
    Cam.


    Last edited by Cam Scott; 29-01-2012 at 2:15pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cam Scott View Post
    Ok, then here is a mock-up of the setup I used.
    The image clearly shows what distances I used for THESE set of photos. Also, the lights in this setup shot are at 45 deg, unlike the 30 deg I used in the posted images.
    If you try the lights at 45 and 30, you'll see how the shadows on the dog's chest can be evened out a lot better at 30 degrees. (You'll need to lower the lights just a tad though, keeping the same distance from the subject.

    The black background is around 4 m from the camera. My studio room is 7m long x 3 m wide.

    The is a grid on the rim light to protect from lens flare, and better control spill.
    The tripod is just to show where I shot from. I 99% use handheld for dogs.

    The dog is my PROP Border Collie, April. Edward is In-Love.... with this stuffed toy! Seriously.

    I normally black out for the sessions too. I've turned on down lights and opened the blind on the double doors on the right to allow light in. BTW, that light coming in from the doors is very nice filtered light for ppl portraits.

    I hope the diagrams are self explanatory, and this will give you a chance to try for yourself.
    Regards,
    Cam.


    Thankyou, u are amazing!
    I would kill to get a studio like yours! Love it

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    Member wildboy's Avatar
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    wow great setup you have there, if I only I could rely on my dogs to sit still for a micro second!

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    Thanks for the info, very impressive images, and lovely dogs...
    Julie

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    I'm with Wildboy. How do you get them to sit still. I've tried photographing our cats. They either won't sit/lie where I want them or the turn their head away from the camera.
    If anyone wants a photo of a cats ear or a photo of where the cat was I can help.

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drivermann View Post
    ...They either won't sit/lie where I want them or the turn their head away from the camera.
    If anyone wants a photo of a cats ear or a photo of where the cat was I can help...
    Therein lies a (cat's) tail
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    Good info, great shots!

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