Studio Lighting for Cats

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by jeremy_walker, Jul 14, 2006.

  1. Hi, this is my first time to post a question. I am looking into learning how
    to photograph cats on location using studio equipment.
    My first question would be, what type of lighting kits would you recommend for
    animals using a Nikon D70s (and why)?
    Which would be better, strobe or continuous lighting?
    How much of a battery source would I need for an all day job?
    Is there anything that I need to specifically be aware of (location would be a
    cat show)?

    Thanks for any tips and advice,

  2. get a Jackrabbit pack by Dynalite. there are heads with or without modeling lights. or you can use the converted Vivitar 283/285 that is offered for it. it is very dependable!
  3. It really depends on your budget and experience. I would stay away from continuous lights as they won't provide much useful light unless you plan on using lots of power. Keep your lighting simple ... key = flash+umbrella, fill = reflector. The easiest solution (not the cheapest though) is to use a Nikon flash like the SB-800 with external power pack or bring a recharger and a bunch of AA's with you. Once the recycle time gets a bit long, swap them for a fresh set from the charger. You can use a pair into a single umbrella to improve recycle time and battery life. If you have a flash meter, pretty much any other flash system will work. A big consideration for location shooting is cords ... try to avoid them if at all possible.
  4. I think there's a whole range of possibilities here, ranging from using normal lights, off-camera flash, portable flash, and AC power flash.

    A lot gets predicated on your experience, budget, and ultimately what you intend to do. So, I'd poke around here, since there's a wealth of info and see what fits for you.

    Me personally, I'd look at Alien Bees strobe lights, but again that's filtered against my expectations/experience. Can run off both battery and AC wall power.

    BTW: DO NOT forget whatever you do you'll need a good light meter. That's even more important....

    Even more important is lots of practice to get things down before you go there.

    Photographing cats on location will likely be a challenging (but fun) experience. I can't think of any less patient character (well, maybe your average bride comes close...)

  5. I did a cat show last weekend. Since cats are small, you don't really need tons of light. I used two Nikon SBs and a large reflector for fill (whote plastic shower curtain hung from a boom). Both flashes were shot into umbrellas. I had more than enough light. Most of the time I was shooting at 1/2 to 1/4 power. What you'll need to watch for is the pre-flash. Cats, pick up on it and blink. I've literally tried 50 frames in a row with one of my cats and ended up with closed eyes in all of them. I'm shooting pets all manualy now so I have no pre-flash to deal with.

    What has made my life much easier is using the Nikon SU800. I'm totally wireless and can change flash output quickly. You'll need to adjust your exposure for nearly every cat. The color and type of fur will absorb or reflect light differently.

    Good luck, shooting cat after cat can be greuling.
  6. Thanks for the info guys, I appreciate it. I consider myself a beginner, and have never worked with lighting equipment other than my SB600 on a bracket. You guys are right, this should be a challenge, but it is one that I am intereted in so I'm looking forward to it.

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