Little Miss Howlywood

This past Friday night, Ananda and I had some lighting fun (along with some trial-and-error frustration) in a portrait session for an adorable little Schipperke named Shadow-Moon. Ananda had the honor and pleasure of pet-sitting for Shadow-Moon last week while her mom, Mary, was on a much-deserved vacation. We thought it would be a nice surprise for Mary to do a formal portrait session with Shadow-Moon while she was away — it would be a great opportunity for me to experiment with some new lighting setups and creative use of colored gels, inspired by last weekend’s Creative Live workshop with Mikey and Andy of Lighten Up and Shoot.

The setup, basically, was a silver-backed 4′ x 8′ Styrofoam sheet (foam insulation board) purchased at Lowe’s on the cheap (less than $10 per sheet). We used the silver foil side as the background with two colored gel-covered speedlites pointed at the silver surface, set at 1/4 power, to back-light Shadow-Moon. The key light was a third speedlite, set at 1/16 power, in a 60″ umbrella that was closed down to create a spotlight effect, positioned approximately 20-30 degrees left of camera and 45 degrees above Shadow Moon. There was a lot of trial and error and fumbling and grumbling before we finally got the lighting right. Through it all, Miss Shadow-Moon was utterly patient with us and delivered some pretty impressive poses.

Here are the two best of from the night, along with a quick steal of a shot I took of Shadow-Moon as she rested in the doorway, bathed in the lovely light of the early evening. On this natural light shot, I used OnOne Software’s action “Holga Cross Process” along with tweaking in Lightroom 3 to enhance the black and white portrait. In the flash-lit shots, both Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5 were used for post-processing. In the second image, I also applied the OnOne Software action, “Funky Senior” to give it a, well, funky look and feel. On all three shots, I used my favorite action for black critters: “HDArrgh” from the Kubota Pow Wow action set. This action perfectly enhances the detail, depth and tonality of black fur.

So without further ado, I present to you the darling diva-licious of the doggy kingdom, Miss Shadow-Moon:

Shadow-Moon No. 1

Click image to enlarge.

Shadow-Moon No. 2

Click image to enlarge.

Shadow-Moon No.3

Click image to enlarge.

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