Stella, The Italian Greyhound

I have been trying to work on my dog series when I have a bit of free time, (which isn’t often,) but I was lucky to have a friend from the photo program bring her Italian Greyhound puppy into the studio this afternoon for me to photograph. Stella is a 4-month old show dog puppy from Nebraska.

Normally with my dog work I use bright backgrounds and the same basic lighting setup. Stella seemed so much more elegant and graceful than all the other dogs that I had in the studio, so it seemed like a bright background would not be as effective as a dramatic one would be. I decided to go a different direction and instead of highlighting the funny moments like I normally do, I tried to go more fine art with this shoot. I have always been inspired by Tim Flach’s work, so I tried my hand at his type of styling. ( Tim Flach’s Website)

It’s a bit different from what I normally do, but of course I still have the fun photos in there.

This is a small sampling of the shoot, check out all the proofs by visiting my Flickr page: HERE

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

Trying out my new watermark/Logo in the corner on this one

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 All Images are copyrighted material | © Holly Hildreth 2011

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Shooting Glass

This week in my advanced studio class, our assignment was to shoot glass and show “black line” and “white line” technique. These different shooting styles are extremely popular and used in most all advertising shots of glass. With “black line,” the glassware is placed on a bright background and shot with the flash going directly through the subject from behind. This produces sharp black lines on the edges of the glass.  White line is shot much the same, only you need a dark background. The light then goes around the sides of your background and wraps around the glass, giving it a nice white, defining line.

Sounds easy, right? Wrong.

If you have never photographed glass, then you don’t know how insanely hard it is to shoot. You have to have everything right, be at the precise angle, hold your breath, stand on one foot, and say a prayer that it will work. 

I bought a glass vase/possible wine decanter at Hobby Lobby and thought it would be an interesting subject. I didn’t take the shape of the vase into account and was soon encountering all sorts of problems in the studio. The bulbous base kept caching reflections of the rafters in the ceiling, and since it was so orbicular, my classmate’s red jacket kept showing up too. I ended up having to craft an extremely elaborate set and it took me almost an hour to just get one good white line shot. I was about to give up, but then I decided to switch to black line.

It was like the clouds were lifted and suddenly I was hitting it out of the park. It turns out that black line was much easier to do with my subject since it minimizes surface reflection. Anyway, here are a few of my final photographs. I will also include a couple production shots so you can see how I had my set built.

White Line © Holly Hildreth 2011

White Line © Holly Hildreth 2011

Production shot for white line

Production shot for white line

The above is my set up for the white line shot. Notice how I had to make a tent out of paper to eliminate the reflection of the ceiling and rafters on the surface of the glass. The black poster-board on the left was a small cut out to put my lens in to reduce lens flare since you’re shooting directly into a huge light.

Black Line © Holly Hildreth 2011

Black Line © Holly Hildreth 2011

Black Line © Holly Hildreth 2011

Black Line © Holly Hildreth 2011

Black Line © Holly Hildreth 2011

Black Line © Holly Hildreth 2011

The above image is my favorite of the shoot and will be the one I turn in.

Production shot for Black Line

Production shot for Black Line

Above: my setup for Black line. As you can see, it’s basically the same as white line, except there’s no black background and you’re shooting directly into the diffused light source.

Anyway, I hope now you have a new understanding and appreciation for how difficult it is to shoot some of the simplest objects.

All Images © Holly Hildreth 2011 | hhildrethphoto.wordpress.com

Stoli’s Dapper Side

School has been back in session for two weeks now, which means that the check-out lab and commercial studios are finally open and available for use again. I wanted to get back into the studio and do a practice shoot with Stoli before I started bringing real models in, so I could get back in the swing of things.

About 2 hours before my alloted studio time, my boyfriend’s roommate called me to let me know that Stoli ate an entire package of Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies while he was gone. I didn’t think it was going to be a big deal since I hear my friends talking about their dogs eating whole bags of chocolate candy and being fine, but I figured I’d call the vet anyway.

Well, as it turns out, the vet told us we could either bring in Stoli ASAP for an emergency visit or we could give him 1/2 a cup of hydrogen peroxide every 5 minutes until he threw up everything in his stomach and had nothing left to vomit. We opted for option 2, as it was several hundred dollars cheaper.

It took a whole bottle of peroxide and about 45 minutes for Stoli to empty his stomach. He was not happy and refused to be near us. I tried giving him an ice cube for a treat, and he stuck his head out of his crate, grabbed the ice cube, and then went back into the crate and buried himself under the blankets.

The worst part was that he threw up all over himself and was drenched in perioxide. (The peroxide even bleached some of his fur and his collar.) We had to give him a bath, which he passionately hates.

After all that chaos, Stoli pretty much hated us. He was really excited, however, for a car ride. He was soon back to his normal self, and was overjoyed to be going to the studio. He loves all the attention he gets when we bring him in, and he knows that being in the studio means that he’s about to get A LOT of treats and attention paid to him.

(And to make up for his bad day we took him on a long walk and then today we took him to Knob Noster State Park on a long hike. He loves us again!)

The full set of proofs is on my flickr, which can been seen: HERE!

 

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

Stoli looks like a hamster or a bear.

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

What a little gentleman! © Holly Hildreth 2011

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Kylie

A faculty member at UCM, Greg Sorell, approached me after mid-program asking if I would photograph his dog, Kylie. He and his wife had been following my work and loved what I had been doing. I was eager to get another opportunity in the studio, so we set up a meeting.

Kylie was a pretty laid-back dog. Greg told me that she is a lab/collie mix. She was 4-years old, so she was quite a bit more mellow than most of the other dogs that I have been shooting in the studio. It’s tough to get more dynamic action shots with older dogs as they are quite content to just sit and be adored. Kylie was very well-behaved and knew her basic commands, which makes it a lot easier to do the session. Greg and his wife were very helpful and willing to assist with the shoot.

Here are a few proofs. You can see the whole session on my flickr by clicking:HERE

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

April Update & Shoot with Max

I’d like to start by apologizing for going Awol for the last month. As you know, I had my mid-program assessment, which is THE most important event in a UCM photography student’s college career. I passed with all high marks, so that’s a load off my chest. After mid-program I took a job as a photographer at Picture Me Portrait Studios in Wal-Mart. It’s been…interesting, to say the least. I’ve been there every night after classes and all day every day on the weekends training. It’s pretty much taken up all my free time, as now my schedule has me going to class from 9-3:30, work 4-7, shooting for school projects and other homework from 7pm-1am-ish, sleep from until 7:30am. Hopefully things will cool off once the end of the semester comes. The job is, like I said, interesting. I find myself constantly asking, “Did that really just happen!?” At least, (if I HAVE to find a silver lining,) it’s one of those jobs where you come home with a great story at the end of every day.

I finally got some studio time in to work on my dog portraits again. One of my professors, Jerry Schmidt, approached me after my mid-program assessment and asked me if I would be willing to photograph his wife and dog together in the studio. I was excited to have a new subject and jumped on the opportunity. I have been used to working with smaller dogs, as almost every dog that I shot for my portfolio was 30lbs and under. Max was a huge Golden Retriever, so I had to try and revamp my approach on shooting, as he took up most of the seamless paper. Here are a couple images from the shoot. I posted my favorite shots. I usually like the images that have humor, show emotion, or tell a story. As always, all are on my flickr site, which can be found: Here

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

Stoli and the Birthday Hat

For my color imaging class we’re required to do a “color match” project. The point of the project is to photograph a subject that you’ve been dealing with for your portfolio and include something red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, and yellow. The next time you go shopping, see how many items you can find with ALL of those colors (just a head’s up, it’s next to impossible!!) Once you do the shooting, then you head to the lab and make 40 trees’ worth of prints trying to get the print to match the color of the objects EXACTLY. It sounds easy, but its incredibly time consuming. Previously we had to photograph a card with 25 different colors on it and try to match the colors. After 8 hours solid of printing and adjusting, i was still only able to match 12 out of the 25.

Anyway, for this shoot I found a party hat at Hobby Lobby and decided that Stoli would be my subject. I haven’t photographed him since January, and after shooting a ton of rowdy dogs in the studio, I thought it would be nice to get back to my roots. Stoli was SO good by comparison. It’s a lot easier to photograph a dog when it knows its basic commands like: sit, stay, down.

These photos are more fun than a serious body of work. I am extremely stressed (to put it lightly) right now over mid-program assessment next week, so I wanted to get something fun without getting a raging ulcer in the process.

Stoli is turning one on May 31st, so I suppose this is his early birthday!

LINK TO ALL PROOFS ON FLICKR –> Slideshow

© Holly Hildreth 2011

"You're serious? you got me a STICK for my birthday?!"

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

Purebred, Champion Bloodlines. Can you tell?

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

Stoli's a Mamma's Boy

Homer and Baby

Yesterday, (3/8) I photographed some of my boyfriend’s coworker’s dogs. Since the dogs’ owner was out of town for a military training program in Maryland, I had my boyfriend, Andrew help me wrangle the dogs during the shoot. I really appreciate his help, but Andrew has much less patience with animals than I do, (but he has far more patience with people than I do, so I guess we supplement each other).

It was a very difficult shoot to do. Homer, the pit bull mix and Baby, the toothless wiener dog weren’t as obedient as they normally are around their owner. Dogs generally don’t take direction from strangers well, and that became painfully apparent after only a few minutes. I think I have most of my shoots done for mid-program, so it wasn’t a crisis that this one didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped. I guess it will be a fallback plan if all else fails. I also think it’s nice to get in the studio and do some shooting so that I can always hone my skills and learn something new from every shoot.

Here’s the link to the full set of proofs on my flickr: LINK

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

Where’s Woodstock?

This Thursday I was very lucky to find someone to come fill my studio time. Laura Phillips, (the owner of the Saint Bernard and Chihuahua that I photographed earlier,) referred a friend to me. I had never met the dog or its owners, so I wasn’t really sure what I was in for. All I knew was Laura told me they’d be meeting me at 4 with a large beagle. When I headed in to my studio time 20 minutes early, I met Carrie and Snoopy. Snoopy was a VERY large beagle mix, who believed everyone was his friend. Snoopy was very sweet, but was a little difficult at times as there were other people shooting in the studio and he believed he needed to go make friends with them.

All things considered I got a few good shots. I went with a light, almost pastel yellow background and threw a grid spot over a flash to light it. Without the extra light it turned up a dirty grey-yellow. It was the only color of seamless paper left that I hadn’t tried. I wish the school had ordered red, green, purple, etc instead of 50 rolls of black and 50 rolls of white, ( but I guess most people prefer sleek, elegant high-key or low-key portraits instead of wild and crazy colors. I just think doing a black or white background doesn’t really fit when you have a dog with a humorous expression–I feel the color helps convey the comedy.)

As always, check out my flickr for all the proofs by clicking: HERE!

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

Thanks again to Laura Phillips and her friends, Drew and Carrie for all their help with this shoot!

Three’s a Company

On Wednesday I got the chance to photography three wiener dogs in the studio…Simultaneously. I had done two shoots using two dogs at the same time, but never three, and never three puppies. The shoot was definitely a learning experience and I ended up relying heavily on squeaky toys and a LOT of peanut butter.

I went with the trusty blue background again. It’s my favorite out of all the choices. I don’t think that the yellow or orange is as rich with the subjects and it tends to turn white fur neon colors from reflections.

As always, I am always looking for that right moment to reveal the personality of the dogs as well as humor. I had never had a dog or been around a dog more than passing before we got our corgi puppy. Ever since my view on dogs has completely changed. They’re highly loyal companions, but I have found that they’re all clowns. If you’re watching for it, you can always find something funny in their behavior.

Here’s a small sample of the shoot. As always, you can see all the proofs by viewing my flickr slideshow by clicking: HERE!

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

Curse of the Orange

After my last shoot’s disaster trying to find a bright background and coming up with only horribly disfigured reams of seamless paper, I did some searching to find a roll in good condition. I found a roll of red paper in the portrait studio, and after getting permission, I brought it up to the commercial studio to photograph Charlene Champions two miniature schnauzers. Well, once I got it into the light I learned that it was orange. Not just any orange, however. I NASTY fluorescent orange. I’m pretty sure you can see this ugly color from space. I went into the prop closet to try and find a better color, but my choices were black, white, grey, and the blue that I had already used for two other shoots. I was stuck with neon carrot for the day.

The shoot was tough. Apparently my work has been inspiring a couple of classmates to copy my ideas, and one of them came into the studio with a dog to try their had at what I do. They did not control their dog, so of course my models were all over the place, resulting in me not getting very many good images. All-in-all it’s a learning process to take one day at a time. Hopefully next time my immitators will be more courteous and respectful of the people who are already in the studio.

I am still having issues uploading photos here, so you’ll have to check out the work on my flickr.

Click HERE for flickr Slideshow of this shoot