Dog Portraits


Some of you know that I love to photograph my dogs. I typically make this really difficult by trying to capture their antics at the dog park with a Holga. Yep, a $20.00 plastic camera with no control over shutter speeds! You get one. And, I also make images of them with some of my other film cameras as well. I have to wait until I process the film to see if I nailed the perfect expression! I have a hunch of course, as I was trained on film, but with the slight of a head, a quick dart of an eye, you just never quite know!

Well, a new task at hand this weekend, trying to get a couple of good portraits to select from for our excavating website. When that website was built, our website designer used several stock images of Dalmatians. Makes sense, given our company name, Spotted Dog Excavating. But, I’ve really wanted to personalize it, and add our very own spotted dogs.

Here are a couple fun attempts – and outtakes – that I shot this weekend. And, no film this time. I went strictly digital capture to afford me limitless pixels, tethered shooting, and some “I got it” moments! I might have a winner in the batch, and it was so much fun I’m going to set up and do this again.

Maggie, now she was the best model ever! She followed my hand gestures, looked right into the lens with all her attitude and personality, and my strobe lights didn’t seem to bother her one bit.

Brooks did a pretty darn good job too, for a 7-month old puppy! While he may have shined at his first modeling gig, he did chew several holes in the sheetrock in the garage this past week, so he’s still on the naughty list. Who eats sheetrock?

Maggie & Olive
Maggie & Olive

And, Miss Olive, well we can forget a modeling career for her. She is my beautiful girl, but just couldn’t focus, and didn’t seem very fond of the strobe lighting either. She’ll just have to sit and look pretty for the neighbors.

I decided to go with a mini-studio for these guys. I set up one 11” reflector on a white background, a medium softbox for my key light and a bounce card on the fill side. This was a very small area we were working in, as I attempted to cut out distractions and keep them corralled as best as I could. My husband, Randy, laid down beside them in an attempt to hold on and keep them still. Seemed to work pretty well!

And, as I tell all my students, use SLOW RECYCLE on the power packs. Well, I usually follow that rule too, however, I felt like that delay kept me from getting some great expressions. So, I risked it, switched to fast recycle and I watched the power drain in my house every shot I took! But it worked…who said 1978 wiring can’t handle it?

So this week, my dog portraits, and oh how I enjoy this!

Skip to content