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Beautiful Beasties: A Creative Guide to Modern Pet Photography by Jamie Pflughoeft

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Lighting

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Natural vs. Auxiliary Lighting

Photography can be described simply as controlling and capturing light. In fact, the word photography derives from the Greek words photos (light) and graphos (to write), and literally translates to “writing with light.” What this means is that no matter how fancy your gear is, no matter how yummy your treats are for the pets, it is light that is your most valuable tool—and also, often your greatest obstacle.

As pet photographers, we have a unique set of lighting challenges: We are often shooting in conditions that range from low-light interiors to bright daylight, and we are usually following moving subjects while trying to create a nice variety of dynamic, action, portrait, detail, and documentary-style shots, all while the light source changes. Whoever said this was easy obviously didn’t have much experience doing it.

In this chapter, I’ll provide an outline to the most common lighting scenarios you’ll encounter. Eventually, you should be able to move comfortably between the different options available to you, choosing the option that will produce the best results for a given environment.

Natural/Available Light

Natural light, which is basically the light that emanates from our sun, and is often the light of choice for most pet photographers ...

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