Henry Modeling by Dan Howell
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Henry Modeling

May 21, 2019

Maybe all pet owners think their pets are the cutest. I know from my experience occasionally shooting 'professional' animals from handlers for commercial and editorial projects that behavior generally trumps looks when it comes to getting the shot. This year I brought a black Labrador Retriever puppy home. I didn't have specific intentions of making him into a dog model, but I was very attracted to the amount of decipline and poise the trained dogs have.

I feel that I absolutely need to have a dog with a friendly and calm disposition if I am going to bring him into the studio during shoots, especially with child models. I am starting his training by working with him to get some good looks on camera. Because he is still a young puppy, any concentrated attention that is focused on him will make him either rush the camera or shy away from it.

This day I attempted to head off that reaction with incremental rewards getting him used to being in a steady spot and not rushing the camera when I put it to my eye. Working fast I was able to get several pleasing expressions.

I keep the set up minimal while I am training him. I already had a light set up from a still life object shoot in my loft consisting of a 72" white diffusion umbrella lit with a 750w Lowel TotaLite providing soft content light, but not causing Henry to react negatively.

F2.0 makes the body and background go to a dreamy softness. His fur is very uniformly black that lighting can die in it. I used the shadow control slider of Capture One Pro to rescue some of the details in the face.

50mm · f/2.0 · 1/60s · ISO 400
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