An unusual day in the studio – Pepe le Puppy

PepeIt’s not every day I have a Chihuahua in a jumper in my studio, but today was that day. Charlotte brought little Pepe along to see how he enjoyed the camera and it turns out he’s quite the poser.

He also presents quite a challenge, in that he does not stop moving. He may fit in a handbag but he can put on a turn of speed. Especially when the camera is much more interesting than the big white space I want him to stay in. The secret it seems is chicken, in this case cunningly used to hold his attention just long enough to take a shot before he winds up his legs like a cartoon, eventually gains traction and disappears. It’s been a fun afternoon.

Shooting pets can be a challenge, Pepe is tiny and rapid so conditions had to be carefully setup. By using powerful speed lights but keeping the output low, the flash duration is so fast that it freezes the frantic pup instead of relying on the shutter to do it.

The lighting setup for these images is a softbox on each side at 10 and 2 o’clock and one white shoot through umbrella above the camera at half the power of the sidelights. These stronger side lights ensure a nice sense of depth against the white background whilst the umbrella fills the details and gives catch lights in the eyes.

This may not be a typical pet shoot but then I’d like to think I’m not a typical photographer and Pepe is certainly not a typical pet. It is something a little different and quite a talking point for Charlotte, Pepe’s owner.

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