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Focus on Technique: One of My Most Requested Shots

Pet photography (and dog photography more specifically) has been growing in popularity to the point where, when I tell someone I am a pet photographer now, they don't always look at me like I have four heads! Yes, pet photography is "a thing" that some photographers specialize in and it is something that many pet owners now seek out. Certainly, with everyone now carrying a smart phone everywhere they go people love taking photos of their beloved pets. Many of these same people love to come to me for pet photos as well. When they come for a pet photography session at Dog's Life Studio Pet Photography their expectations usually are limited to "I want some good photos of my pet". Simple enough. You've come to the right place.

Certainly, I do get some specific requests and most are reasonable and welcomed. I'm happy to accommodate and love to work with pet owners to capture their ideas and their pet's character. The truth is, many people aren't quite sure what they are looking for in dog photography. I find that people generally like what they've seen before. One of my most commented on and requested shots is what I call the 'low-key, rim-lit, profile shot'. The what? - you say. No problem, let me explain. 'Low key' refers to a photo where the main or 'key' tones in the image are darker - resulting in dense shadows with the image appearing darker overall. 'Rim lit" refers to rim lighting, a lighting technique that illuminates the edge or outer 'rim' of a subject being photographed. Of course, 'profile' simply refers to taking a shot of a subject from their side rather than from in front.

Now, no one has ever come into the studio saying: "I'd like a 'low-key, rim-lit, profile shot'." If they did, I'd probably faint! But I have several examples in my studio and on my website and people will often point to them and say: "Can we get one like that?" With that simple request, I'm more than happy to oblige.

Fortunately, the 'low-key, rim-lit, profile shot' not only makes for a great dog portrait, it's also a pretty simple shot to set up and execute. With regard to a pet's behaviour, it's easy. Since it's a profile shot, we don't have to do our usual tricks to get the dog to look at the camera with their mouth closed and with the perfect head tilt. All of the images here were accomplished with the owner standing just off to the side holding a treat and asking the dog to sit - something just about every dog will easily do. With the lighting in the right place and the proper camera settings I do the rest and voila! - a perfect 'low-key, rim-lit, profile shot' of your pet! It's a classic shot, easy and quick to set up and always looks great.

The 'low-key, rim-lit, profile shot' makes a great wall art piece. When I do have them exhibited at pet and art shows I find they are always a crowd favourite. As large wall art, this type of shot becomes a fine art piece that makes a statement in your home and will always turns heads. I've even had people inquire about buying these shots of someone else's dog to hang as a fine art wall piece.

So that's the 'low-key, rim-lit, profile shot' - for lack of a better term. When you are at Dog's Life Studio Pet Photography, if you want one, you don't have to remember the silly name, just point to an example in the studio and I'll know what you mean. If you are a budding photographer, give this technique a try. Let me know how it went or if you have any questions. Of course, I'd be happy to take one for you as well!

Periodically, I would like to continue this series of blog posts with a focus on technique. It may inspire hobbyist photographers to try these techniques at home and would also serve to highlight some of the different types of shots that you may like to request when you come for a photo shoot at Dog's Life Studio Pet Photography. Upcoming topics may include photos of dog's catching treats, composite photography (combining your pet's photo with other images) and more.

In the meantime, I hope you'll consider the 'low-key, rim-lit, profile shot' as one of your options when you bring in your pet to Dog's Life Studio Pet Photography.

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