Pet Photography Project 52, Week 7: Natural Light

Week seven of the Pet Photography Project 52 blog circle’s theme focused on the use of natural light, essentially light that comes from the sun rather than artificial light created by sources such as light bulbs and other man-made fixtures. The ability to read light and work within a variety of natural lighting conditions is considered to be one of the most powerful and inexpensive (yet undeniably priceless) tools a photographer can possess.

One of the easiest ways to hone your natural light skills is by observing the characteristic changes of natural light that are dependent upon the time of day, the time of year, and even the weather. Regardless of the time of day you choose to shoot or the weather, photographers must constantly search for the most flattering light, a concept reiterated by Jessica Drossin, author of “How To Shoot, Retouch, and Process Portraits With Natural Light.”

“…the most important thing to consider as a photographer–and particularly a natural light photographer–is the quality of the light you will be shooting in. Understanding how to use light and shadow to your advantage is critical.”

This week’s images include quite a dumping of snow that made its way through the Pittsburgh area over the weekend. The husky in Hunter loves the snow (and in no way needs the ultra-warm, Sherpa-lined waterproof dog jacket I insist he wear), so on Saturday we bundled up and headed outside–he to play Frisbee and I to take advantage of February’s beautiful mid-morning light.

Overcast days are often the best days to shoot as the sky naturally reflects light off the surface of the ground creating a softbox-like diffused glow. To show how effective a snowy, overcast morning is in terms of effortlessly creating a range of even light, I converted a few photos to black and white.

Oh, and if you’re curious what created a snow-covered snow nose like that? This: a total nose dive in pursuit of a badly thrown Frisbee. (Sorry, Hunter!)


The Pet Photography Project 52 posts are part of a blog circle. To see what the next pawesome pet photographer is sharing for the weekly theme, “Natural Light” start with Sandra McCarthy Photography of NH. Continue to click the link at the end of each post in the blog circle and you’ll eventually find your way back here.

18 thoughts on “Pet Photography Project 52, Week 7: Natural Light

    1. Thank you! Yes, he loves his Frisbee. He plays with such intensity in his eyes (and disappointment in himself when he misses one).

  1. Great explanation of this week’s theme! You and I were in the same snowy boat this week. That nose dive shot made me giggle! Great use of light all around!

    1. Thanks so much, Elaine! Thankfully all that snow didn’t last long. We had quite a warm-up out my way.

    1. To be honest, I don’t like the cold at all and only really enjoy snow between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day. I’m a native Floridian.

    1. Lisa, thank you! For these shots, my shutter speed was only 1/800, much slower than I usually do for him. Typically, with Hunter, I aim for closer to 1/1250.

  2. Love that first image, Jessica! Kota would flip if I ever put a coat on her – haha!!! Beautiful lighting with the snow falling and love Hunter’s expression! Great job capturing the action in the snow – love it! Hunter looks like he had a blast! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Darlene! I think Hunter only wears the coats I buy him because I fuss over how handsome he looks, not because he really enjoys them. Plus, he associates coats with outside playtime in the snow, his favorite.

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