Pet portraits: strobes or continuous?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Nimitz, Jul 21, 2007.

  1. Nimitz

    Nimitz TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    Messages:
    102
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Indialantic, FL
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I'm considering moving into pet portraits and read an article recently which suggested that using strobes for pet photography would be very limiting because most pets would tire quickly from the constant flash and quickly become unmanageable. Therefore, they recommended using continuous lighting setups for pet photography.

    Anyone out there do a lot of pet photography and can speak to this? I really don't want to buy a set of continuous lights just for pet work and have my studio strobe setup for everything else ... thanks all
     
  2. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2004
    Messages:
    5,346
    Likes Received:
    65
    Location:
    Santa Barbara, CA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I haven't done any professional pet photography, but I have to imagine that pets are even more finicky than humans. I don't know too many humans who enjoy sitting under super hot continuous lights for any length of time. I've photographed my cat with a multi strobe set up many times, and he tolerates the flashes fine. Not for a half hour, but for the 5-10 minutes it takes to get some great shots.
     
  3. Nimitz

    Nimitz TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    Messages:
    102
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Indialantic, FL
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    thanks for the feedback. The story talked about using a daylight balanced (5200K) flourescent lighting system which are the so called 'cool lights'. There is a website which sells this kits (Steve Kaiser) which have 4 light (key, fill, background & hair), 2 softbox, plus stands systems with 1500 watts equiv tungsten output and no heat. Still, given a choice I'd rather stick with strobes.

    I guess its time to start experimenting with my 4 cats although since they are in their own environment they would probably tend to put up with more then normal ...
     
  4. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2004
    Messages:
    5,346
    Likes Received:
    65
    Location:
    Santa Barbara, CA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    In addition to the possible problem I mentioned, (even those daylight balanced 'cool lights' still give off heat), there is a problem of intensity of light. Continuous lighting has far less output than a strobe, which often means semi long shutter speeds. This isn't something you want with pets involved, since they can tend to be skittish.
     
  5. Nimitz

    Nimitz TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    Messages:
    102
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Indialantic, FL
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Agreed. I've seen a lot of pet portrait photography, especially from those who shoot show dogs and cats and they always use strobe lighting. I think that's why you don't see a lot of photographers who specialize in this type of work - it takes a lot of creativity to work with animals and still get amazing results ...
     
  6. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2004
    Messages:
    5,346
    Likes Received:
    65
    Location:
    Santa Barbara, CA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    As well as amazing animals ;)
     
  7. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2003
    Messages:
    5,600
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Hermosa Beach, CA U.S.A
    I would go with strobe. This way you can capture almost every movement. Tungsten is limiting in it's slow exposure times. I have never tried Florescent.

    Love & Bass
     
  8. BAB

    BAB TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Phoenix,AZ
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    In my experience, strobe is the way to go because as you know, pet's tend to move around alot and strobe helps to "freeze" their motion and get sharp photographs. If the lights are placed on stands and knocked over, less chance of burning pet, owner or yourself is another reason I like strobe's as well as providing a more comfortable environment. I have not found the multiple flashing to affect the pets in any negative way, if anything it sometimes helps to get their attention.
     
  9. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2005
    Messages:
    4,889
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    S.E. Indiana
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I have shot hundreds of "critters" with strobes and find it seldom a problem. I invested in a pair of Westcott Spyder Lites with 5500K CF bulbs for skittish pets and have almost never used them. One of the animals I shoot most often are parrots. When I started shooting them, I was very concerned they would flap or fly off, never happened. So use your strobes, not a problem.
     
  10. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    Messages:
    2,598
    Likes Received:
    137
    Flash units are better than continuous units always for every reason for studio photography. Pet portraiture would be no exception. The only possible advantage of continuous lighting would be to capture motion blur - not something you want with pet portraiture.
     
  11. Nimitz

    Nimitz TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    Messages:
    102
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Indialantic, FL
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    thanks all - I'm convinced as well. I was surprized when they recommended going with continuous lighting which is why I posted the question ..
     
  12. THORHAMMER

    THORHAMMER TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2005
    Messages:
    2,789
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    fluorescent could work, dont forget the pet is usually 1/4 the size of a person, dont need that much light to light it. even the huge dogs are only 1/2 the size of a person. Just something to remember... and they dont get very hot. by the time it gets hot the pet will be unmanageable anyways Im sure they only have a few minute at best attention span..

    surely someone here must shoot them and know the awnser !! Im curious.
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page
animal photography flash or continuous
,

best studio lighting for pet photography

,
dog portrait lighting
,
good continuous lights for pet portrait work
,
how to set up a pet photography studio
,
lighting setup santa strobe
,
pet photography light kit
,

pet photography studio setup

,
photo continuous light pet
,
using strobes for pet photography