There is no hike to tell you about this week.
As you read this Friday morning, however, Bella and I may be in search of a quiet hill somewhere.
All week, I’ve been working on lighting. Off-camera flash, to be specific.
Last summer, I invested in a Godox AD200 strobe and started to learn the lighting. I use to fill in shadows for client dog photos and I cart it along on hikes with Bella so I can create light in any setting.
This was last Friday at Saltese Uplands Conservation Area in Liberty Lake, one of my favorite locations for dog photos:
Aye, there’s the rub.
Create light in any setting.
With off-camera flash in my bag of tricks, I don’t have to schedule sessions around the sun’s clock. I can meet you any time of day and find or make the perfect light to celebrate the love you have for your dog.
Bella and off-camera flash
You have to understand one thing: Bella has less patience than I do.
Or a shorter attention span.
Not sure which but neither one of us likes to sit still for very long. I at least can hold a good sit for longer than a couple of seconds. Thus, several takes of the same Bella image can be a challenge.
When you see a good shot of Bella, it means I nailed it in five seconds or less. It’s teaching me more patience with client sessions, for sure, and my husband even complimented me on it when he came out to the backyard this morning as my lighting assistant.
I met this guy at a natural light workshop last summer, working on how to use reflectors to add light to your subject.
Lo and behold, I ended up working at the same newspaper, The Spokesman-Review a few months later. This ink-stained wretch of old is a part-time copy editor, three days a week making sure all the commas are snuggled in their proper little places.
Colin Mulvaney is an incredbile photojournalist, now ranking among some of the most amazing photographers with whom I’ve had the privilege of working (ahem … Brendan Halper, Jason Payne, Stuart Dryden, Mike Drew, Jim Wells … OMG, I can’t name them all).
As I plugged away at my shift last Saturday, I had the honor to ensure the copy on a photo essay was solid.
“Pandemic Portraits” is a double-truck spread of “life behind the mask,” Spokanites out shopping for essentials with masks covering their faces and protecting society from the spread of the novel coronavirus.
No, really. Go look.
Colin conveys all the fear, intensity, optimism and confusion that we’re all feeling these days waiting to go back to normal. Or rather, waiting to find out what our new normal is.
I was moved.
And I was struck by the lighting he used. I reached out and asked questions.
How can I achieve this with my dog photography?
He said do this, this and this. And I thought, man, if he can do it as a one-man show on a regular shift at the Spokesman, I should be able to figure this out as a one-woman show doing dog photos in Spokane.
That’s what I set out to do.
I have a concept in mind for the image at the tippy top of this blog post but it isn’t quite there yet. Bella’s pose is a bit off. Mother Nature sure as heck cooperated with moody clouds, though, didn’t she?
And I love Bella’s intensity in this headshot:
Husband is holding a reflector camera left, while my Godox AD200 is camera right in a 3-x-2-foot softbox.
I pulled back a bit and made this happen:
It isn’t quite there yet.
I may even be starting to hate our fence.
I still have some work to do on positioning the flash and reflector but, hey, it looks like I have plenty of time to figure that out, right?
All around the circle
This week’s theme for the worldwide dog photographers blog circle was Let There Be Light. So of course I was going to whip out my off-camera flash and ramble on about how I’m trying to figure out off-camera flash for dog photos.
I’m often inspired by the off-camera flash work by Kaylee Greer and Natasha Saltes but only to be inspired. The goal is always to showcase your dog among the incredible landscapes of Spokane and North Idaho.
(I’m also inspired by the gorgeous landscape work Paul Zizka does. You guys, his images are amazing, especially the Banff-based stuff.
Now, let’s see how my pet photographer friends tackled Let There Be Light. Start by going all the way to Australia with Jo Lyons Photography, the down-to-earth dog-loving photographer for cherished dogs of the Great Lakes NSW.
Click the link at the bottom of her post to get to the next photographer, and so on until you find yourself back here.
Right where you belong.
Share the love
If you think off-camera flash is the kind of style you want for your dog photography session, let’s get together!
Or, you can share the love.
I set up egift cards in my Square store to make it easy for you to give a portrait session as a gift.
Click the pic (or this text) and go right there.