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Portrait session with my dog Darwin

Discussion in 'Other Animals' started by fireman, Jun 29, 2008.

  1. My sister asked me to take pictures of her cats. I don't do much cat portraits so I decided to practice before I go to her place next week-end. I went to my neighbourhood Walmart and looked around and found a shower curtain as well as a large piece of cloth that looked interesting. The results look pretty good so I'm pretty confident about shooting cats !

    Tan shower curtain
    NIKON D2H    ---    180mm    f/3.2    1/800s    ISO 200

    NIKON D2H    ---    85mm    f/5.6    1/500s    ISO 200

    NIKON D2H    ---    85mm    f/5.6    1/500s    ISO 200

    Getting warmed up. The first ones aren't bad but I like the next one better.
    NIKON D2H    ---    85mm    f/5.6    1/500s    ISO 200

    NIKON D2H    ---    180mm    f/5.6    1/500s    ISO 200

    NIKON D2H    ---    180mm    f/5.6    1/500s    ISO 200

    I reversed my backdrop and it gives another look that is also very interesting.
    NIKON D2H    ---    180mm    f/5.6    1/500s    ISO 200

    NIKON D2H    ---    85mm    f/5.6    1/500s    ISO 200

    NIKON D2H    ---    85mm    f/5.6    1/500s    ISO 200

    So here it is. I know I cut some limbs along the way. I'll have to work on that. Please provide more constructive criticism so I can get better and do a good job with my sister's cats. BTW, her website is www.echodescharmilles.com
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 29, 2008
  2. Wow, gorgeous lighting Jean-Pierre!

    I think the first background works best, it's a nice contrast (but not overpowering) to Darwin. The fabric background is too similar in color to him, and fights with his fur, don't like it.

    I think the tan will work well with her cats, as they're somewhat similar in color to Darwin. With patterned cats, the fabric will probably be too busy.
  3. Thanks Gretchen. I've got a brown shower curtain that I will also bring with me. I'll try that one too. As for the lighting, well I was in the shade behind my house. I used my SB-600 to put some life in his eyes. It was mounted on the camera but I'll have it off camera when I go to photograph the cats.
  4. JDann24


    Dec 15, 2007
    Garland, Texas
    Wow, what a cute set.
  5. Wow, so that's mostly natural light? Just beautiful!!! What did you use to hold the background?
  6. I'm forgot to take a picture of the setup. :actions1: Basically, it is a 2X3 feet plywood board with a 3 foot high bracket at the back with a transverse rail at the top where clamped the backdrop.

    I'll put it back up and take a picture so I can show you. Let me get back to you on this.
  7. The images of the dog are ALL great, but the second backdrop is a bit busy and distracting.
  8. dj addicted

    dj addicted

    Apr 15, 2008
    awesome shots!!! but good luck getting the cat to cooperate like your dog.
  9. What a cute dog! I like the "softer" or more "muted" backgrounds, give the pooch more "pop" or is less distracting. I want my eyes drawn straight to the dog, not wondering all over with the backgrounds being too "Bright" Hope I make sense, just my opinion, of course!:redface:

    Steve said it like I was trying to say! :redface:
  10. Ok, I think I can picture that. :smile: Am curious to see a shot, when you have time.

    One thing I can think of re: the cats.....be sure your background isn't going to flap around and scare them off (i.e. breezes).

    Something you could use to try to help keep them in place (and get alert expressions)......go to a riding supply shop (horse riding) and ask for a lounge whip. They are typically about 6 feet long (2m) and have a little "popper" on the end for making the whip noises. We use these a lot with puppies to build up prey drive (they can chase it around), and I bet this would be fascinating to the cat(s). You could keep them on the background, while you're back at the camera, and still have the whip out of picture. :smile:
  11. shtarka1


    Feb 1, 2008
    Excellent Work!
  12. Absolutely awesome. I agree that the first background works the best. Best of luck on the cat shoot. They don't pose nearly as well as dogs do ;) 
  13. hmmmmm
    i like these
    shower curtains, you say?
    very ingenious
    well done
  14. Here is the setup I used. Pretty basic but it does a great job. Can't wait to photograph the cats and the kittens !

    This is what it takes: a 2X3 feet plywood board with a 3 foot high bracket at the back along with a transverse rail at the top where I clamp the backdrops.
    NIKON D2H    ---    31mm    f/4.0    1/400s    ISO 200

    NIKON D2H    ---    31mm    f/4.0    1/350s    ISO 200

    I use the bungee cord at the back to hold the extra backdrop.
    NIKON D2H    ---    18mm    f/3.5    1/200s    ISO 200

    This is what it looks like from the side...
    NIKON D2H    ---    25mm    f/3.8    1/350s    ISO 200

    And from the front.
    NIKON D2H    ---    25mm    f/3.8    1/320s    ISO 200

    The height is OK but it is not very wide. I could always use a larger board at the bottom if I were to photograph a larger dog or a female with her pups. On the other hand, they don't wander around which is good.
  15. Awesome pictures!! Your dog is darling and so cooperative...a real little ham!!

    I like the first back drop best also.
  16. Great series. I am in agreement with the others about the second background. It's just too busy and the dog seems to blend in. The first background, the brown shower curtain, looks great. Nice job with the lighting as well.
  17. I really like the first background a lot. :)  Good luck!
  18. mhcfires


    Aug 23, 2007
    El Cajon, CA
    Wonderful series, I really like the first background best. Dogs are much easier to photograph, My Scottie will sit and pose for long periods of time. The kitty is almost impossible to work with. She is her own cat, not unlike any other cat I suppose. Thank you for sharing.
  19. StephanieHelen


    Jun 9, 2006
    Great job Jean-Pierre, what a nice little guy you have there, the images are really neat, I too prefer the first backdrop. Thanks for the setup info and pics too!

    My two pups sigh (I think) when they see me coming with the camera, they look everywhere except at me, they probably feel that eye contact will keep me shooting :) 
  20. 3whiteroses


    May 23, 2008
    Your set up is very creative! Nice work. I took a Pet Portrait class and one of the things the instructure suggested was having a wand with strings hanging off to occupy the cat (some sort of cat toy) - here is one of the shots I was able to get.


    And remember patience is your best friend when shooting cats.

    I'm looking forward to seeing your results.
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