Vivek Mariappan puts the spotlights on pets on National Pet’s Day.
About the Series
Working as a documentary photographer may have equipped me with the practice of identifying narratives within the idea that I’m working on, but nothing prepared me for shooting a couple of puppies within a controlled environment.
The idea was to shoot our dogs at Srishti Digilife, who are in a way the unofficial mascots of the company. I was to create professional headshots for our models, keeping them comfortable as I tried getting the best poses out of them.
Anybody who’s ever done pet photography would know that pups can’t be made to sit and wait quietly while you move around bright lights on top of a huge paper background. So, after several test setups, I decided to go with a single light setup for the entire portrait session, leaving the space for the dogs to move around.
About the Lighting
I needed a clutter free environment with a consistent equipment that works every single time I click the shutter button without missing a beat. I used a B10 Plus with a 1X4’ RFi Softbox and a softgrid on it.
I used a softgrid to get a directional light on my subjects, while avoiding the light spill on the background. The lights were placed at a 45 degree angle above the puppies pointed down on them using a boom stand, so the light stand completely stays out of the frame.
This light accentuates the natural arch of a dog’s body while providing us a diffused light on their face. While I did use some light bouncers to throw some light onto the shadow areas in some shots, I’ve kept most of my shots on the low key side, as the presence of strong shadows brings out the subtle highlights throughout the frame. Also, strong shadows help in defining the form of the subject. This gives the portraits a classic vintage portrait quality.
The advantage of using Profoto is the consistency of the equipment. Also, the minimal design of the B10 Plus with its cordless set up and the size factor, helped me immensely as well.