high-key natural light studio dog photography (yes, really!)

Upon doing some more experimenting in the studio for a recent Decopaw sitting, I discovered, much to my delight, that it is possible to do high-key photography using exclusively natural light.

I should provide a disclaimer here: although I didn’t use any auxiliary light, only what was coming in the west windows of the studio, I *did* do processing in LR2 to get the final look (see the notes on the image below). The next time I do this I’ll be sure to start a little earlier than 2:30pm on a cloudy winter day, lol.

This is Missy. Missy was an awesome subject, and super expressive, and even given the MacGuyver-ish nature of my setup, and her penchant for jumping after her ball, the backdrop didn’t get knocked down once. I can’t wait to try this again!


The shot below is unedited, so you guys can see the raw materials I was working with.






Good gracious she is cute.


My tire. Mine.


Uhhh missy…. Β  you’ve got a little somethin there….



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25 thoughts on “high-key natural light studio dog photography (yes, really!)

  1. GIRL! You are TRYING to get me caught looking at your blog at work…
    I think I almost peed myself laughing at “Uhhh missy… you got a little somethin there”

  2. Thanks for posting this how-to! It’s got me inspired that maybe I DO have a studio up my sleeve… and great shots as always!

  3. WOW Jamie I am uber-impressed, NICE WORK! I have been experimenting with the tile board and foam core myself lately and it’s AWESOME! I still can’t believe that’s all natural light – way to GO!!!

    Rock on sista πŸ™‚

  4. Great technique! I’m going to check it out in the Florida sun. Good treatment of my granddog. Thanks.

  5. She looks like she is just hysterical…and so much fun.
    Thanks for your tips on doing this, Jamie…it is such a great look for a dog of her coloring!

  6. I forgot to mention to my photog friends that it really was pretty dark in there that day (I took test shots at 1000 ISO) but once we set up the white foamcore backdrops around Missy and the tile board below her (which reflects light) it got TONS brighter and I was able to drop the ISOs down to 500-600. Having that white surrounding her made a *huge* difference. Thanks everyone for the compliments, Missy was a blast to work with!

  7. ladies nad gentleman give it up to natural light!..and jamie of course. jamie these are great! the drool factor is hilarious, so glad my dogs dont do that! ha!

  8. This was such a fun shoot Jamie! I love the shots of Missy protecting her ball. Those really capture her personality so well. Thanks

  9. very cool!! can’t believe this is natural light…and what a subject! that line of drool is hilarious. and she looks like such a big dog until you show her in relation to her human!

  10. yay! I love your studio posts! I’ve been working in the studio lately because of the non-stop Canadian winter.
    These are great!

  11. jamie, these are AWESOME!! i’m totally jealous of your studio with the huge window/door thing……*some* day πŸ™‚

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