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Thread: My Pet "Studio"

  1. #1
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    My Pet "Studio"

    I have been leaving this "studio" set up in my living room since I have multitudes of rescue Maltese puppies and adults to photograph. Usually, I have the setup in my RV Garage where I have room enough to set up for bigger dogs. However, it is easier and faster to shoot the Maltese in my living room rather than walking out to the garage.

    Obviously, the "Maltese" in this image is not one of our dogs...

    My Pet "Studio"

    My lights are White Lightning WL5000 "coffee can" units. I have no idea how old these lights are. I bought them second hand when I was shooting weddings and used them on location. I originally bought these units over twenty years ago and paid $50 (USD) each. That comes out to about two dollars and fifty cents (USD) for each year of use. Even without doing currency conversion, it is evident that these lights have been a "good bang for the buck" as we say here in the States. They are still supported with parts from Paul C. Buff and, like the Energizer Bunny. "They keep going and going!" I trigger the lights with a YinYan infrared trigger. The background is a black Vellux blanket that I bought from a local department store. I love Vellux because it doesn't crease like muslin.

    My average exposure is around f/16 or f/18 with the lights at their lowest power. My shutter speed is always 1/60 second. I shoot with a Canon 40D camera and either a 24-70mm f/2.8L or a 70-200mm f/4L IS lens. I will use the longer lens when shooting rescue dogs who are afraid of men and whom I have not socialized enough to trust me. I can shoot from ten or twelve feet ( ~3-4m. ) away rather than the four to six feet I usually shoot from with the 24-70L.

    I usually shoot sitting on a low office chair which puts me at about the level of the dogs while my wife helps control the dogs. The wheels on the chair give me some mobility and sitting is easier on an old man's back. For our older and better trained dogs, my wife stands behind the camera so they will look towards the lens. However we cannot take a chance that puppies will not jump off the table so my wife uses a very thin show lead to control the pups and I get rid of the lead in Photoshop.

    We seldom use our living room, so leaving the equipment set up is no problem and it is certainly a lot easier than either walking way out to the garage or setting up the equipment every time I want to shoot.

    Here is a sample shot from the "studio".

    My Pet "Studio"

    BTW: Shooting two dogs. like this mom and her puppy, is not twice as hard as shooting a single dog... IMO, the difficulty increases geometrically... especially with puppies or dogs who are not trained.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 17th September 2010 at 04:01 PM.

  2. #2

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    Martyn

    Re: My Pet "Studio"

    nice set up, i am useless with pets, they never stay still, even after an hour in the freezer (only jesting off course,its dangerous to leave them more than 10 minutes)

  3. #3
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: My Pet "Studio"

    I love shooting pets... They never complain about how they look in the photo. Isn't it funny however, that a beautiful women seldom seems to complain how she looks in the image. The complaints usually come from the "buffarillas". (NOTE: A "buffarilla" is a rare African animal that is a cross between a buffalo and a gorilla).

    However, lately I have found that Portrait Professional does a quick retouch job that makes even the buffarillas happy with their images.

  4. #4

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    Re: My Pet "Studio"

    Hi Richard,

    Out of interest, who won the "battle" over the images to be used on the website?

  5. #5
    David's Avatar
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    Re: My Pet "Studio"

    Richard - What a really interesting post. I feel that I've learnt more about lighting from this than from reading a dozen books. In the UK I think that buffarillas are known as "gruffalows", but a rose by any other name....

    David

  6. #6

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    Myra

    Re: My Pet "Studio"

    Thanks for sharing a photo of the set-up, Richard. It gives me a better idea of what I might be able to set up in our rec room someday. LOVE the Maltese photos, as always

    Myra

  7. #7
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: My Pet "Studio"

    The battle sort of came out to a draw. However, the images on the website seem to be better looking than they were before I hit the ceiling.
    www.julemaltese.com

  8. #8

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    Re: My Pet "Studio"

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    The battle sort of came out to a draw. However, the images on the website seem to be better looking than they were before I hit the ceiling.
    www.julemaltese.com
    I just had a look ... looks OK for the most part, although there did appear to be an area of blown highlight on a couple of the dogs in one shot. Perhaps your complaints dented the developers pride a little, and so he retreated - regrouped - and tried again!

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