Here's the final version of a promotional shot that Patrick Saunders and I did for the Great Plains SPCA for their 2014 Pawtini Fundraiser. The image ran in the Kansas City Independent's January 11th issue.
Shots like this are always a challenge because often the conditions aren't optimal - the people involved don't have a lot of time to pose, the room you are placed in isn't lit well, naturally or otherwise, and photographing companion animals is tricky, especially when they are young and untrained and no professional wranglers or trainers are involved.
Joe, the male shepherd mix in this photo, was still pretty much a puppy and as sweet as can be - he immediately flopped down for a belly rub upon meeting us - but he was also highly distractible, so instead of shooting with a flash through an umbrella as originally planned, I shot with continuous lights - one to the subjects' front right, one continuous light shining on the sweep behind them, and a volunteer holding a reflector to bounce some south window light onto the faces of Debbie Ward and Ann Jandl, the co-chairs of Pawtini 2014. I was worried that shooting with a flash through an umbrella would cause this handsome pooch to constantly look off to camera left, and since the co-chairs only had a limited amount of time to pose, I decided that continuous light with daylight bulbs was the way to go. The continuous lights weren't as strong as I would have liked for this shot, but I got some decent catchlights in the ladies' eyes, and with the help of numerous other volunteers and GPSCPA employees, we got Joe and Captain, the male orange tabby, to play ball with us for long enough to get the shot. I threw a tie on Joe and some pearls on Captain - both of them were such good sports about the whole thing!
I would have preferred to have lit this shot differently, but in situations like this sometimes you just have to adapt to the conditions at hand and do the best you can with what you have to work with. The printed version in the KC Independent looks pretty good - a much darker ad is printed on the page behind the Pawtini ad, which darkens the Pawtini ad a bit, but the image reproduced decently, given the way it was printed.
Shots like this are an exercise in doing your best given your circumstances, accepting the results, and letting go of the fact that you have no control over the production of the image.
Thanks so much to Joe, Captain, Debbie and Ann for all their hard work and patience in making this photo happen!