maybe one or the other knows the german photographer Elke Vogelsang, who specialized herself in dog photography. From an interview she gave, I read she is using two strip lights and one round umbrella to get her desired lighting.

As I really like the style of her pictures and I got a dalmatian dog these weeks, I want to try to take some images in a similar look.

Here are some example images, especially the one above the one with the CAT post it on the forhead.

As I am not experienced in studio photography, my question is now how to set up the lights to achieve this look. My guess Is the umbrella in front of and above the dog (one can see the reflections of it in the dog's eyes) and the two strip lights on each side behind the dogs. I also would guess the umbrella has to be a bit weaker than the two strip lights, to keep some shadows on the front side of the dogs.

What do you think?

Edit: I found a lighting example (the second image) with two strip lights, which strengthen my guess...

Edit2: Thanks for all the comments! I am really only referring to the lighting. For sure, all the other aspects are equally or even more important to achieve the final result, but this question is only about the light setup.

  • \$\begingroup\$ What lighting do you have available? Personally i'd say these images are less about creative lighting and more about the subject. Looking at the images and reflections in the eyes, she potentially she could have just got away with a big old soft light above camera. \$\endgroup\$
    – Crazy Dino
    Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 13:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd have said they rely heavily on the relatively close focus (wide-ish angle) to get a look, as well as choosing shots where the dogs are making some extreme mouth movements. I find them somewhat contrived, but YMMV. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 13:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ Can you explain what "like these" means to you? See Important information for asking “What's this effect?” questions. Please put some of that description into the title of the question as well — as it is, the same title could apply to millions of different situations, and that's not very useful. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 13:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Like these" what, though? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Mar 3, 2017 at 22:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ No one can see that image when they see the headline. It's not helpful in search results or listings. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 12:07

1 Answer 1


Andreas, speculation but i will post it as an answer.

Having looked closely at the photo i believe it is a single light source. A large umbrella with diffuser or octagonal soft box. I believe it is nearly straight on, close to the camera (slightly to camera right ) and the camera is close to the dog.

I think it is large, diffuse and close because of the quality of light, soft and no shadows under the chin or side of the face. The dog was far enough from the black background for the light to not be strong enough to register on the backdrop.

I see no evidence of a rim light on the back of the dogs head.

It could possibly be a ring light around the lens witch seems to be a wide angle, this would allow for the light to wrap around the dogs face nicely. But the reflection in the dogs eyes seems to indicate a larger light.

It is a general rule that a light or flash on camera is not flattering or desirable lighting but she seems to have proven an exception to the rule.

Looking at the other shots i think she is using the same technique for her key light, a soft light on or very near the camera. some of the non black backgrounds seem to have a light, some seem to be just balanced with the key.

As a side note, i did go to her web site. There is an option to sent her a message on her contact page, also an email address at the bottom of that page.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I fully agree with you regarding the large umbrella, octagonal soft box or whatever it is. thx \$\endgroup\$
    – andreas
    Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 10:27

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