Diane K. Costello, M.Photog., CPP, had recently lost her boxer to cancer when these rescue pups came in for a session. “I had been asked numerous times if I’d be interested in one of the pups and I just kept telling them that I was not ready, my heart was broken,” she says. Instead, she offered to make portraits of them at seven weeks old to help them get adopted. In preparation for the session, Costello picked out colorful cappuccino mugs, photographing each pup separately in a mug and then compositing the images to make “Coffee Beans.” Despite her initial hesitation to commit to a new dog, a month after the session, “the little girl in the brown cup came home with me.” Fog Dog Studios is based in Half Moon Bay, California, and specializes in fine art, pet, and commercial photography.
CAMERA & LENS: Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon 85mm f/1.8L lens
EXPOSURE: 1/125 second at f/8, ISO 100
LIGHTING: Using four Elinchrom Ranger Quadras, she created a four-light setup for a high-key white background. A 36-inch white Plexiglas sheet was set up on an ottoman about 8 feet from the background. A piece of blue tape on the Plexiglas allowed her to place each mug in the same spot for each shot. The camera was mounted to a large studio camera stand and locked into place.
POST-CAPTURE: The images were brought into Adobe Lightroom for cataloging and minor adjustments and then exported to Photoshop and layered for the composite. She arranged the puppies so they’re all looking in the same direction, made sure to keep some reflection, and aligned the cups evenly.