Pet Photography Project 52 Week 4 : Catchlights

This is week 4 of the Pet Photography 52 Weeks Project. The topic is “Catchlights”. Catchlights refer to the highlight or reflection of a light source in the subjects eyes. This is a very important element in portrait photography, both with people and pets. Good catchlights will make the eyes sparkle and really stand out. In a studio setting the catchlights are produced by the size, shape, distance and postion of the lights. Outdoors the sky will typically produce natural catchlights in the eyes.

These photos were taken at “Puppy Reunion”. Mom, Skyla, a Mini Australian Shepherd, and several of her 6 month old puppies got together for a little party.

The mom, Skyla, has white irises, so the catchlights are harder to notice. They are really only visible when they cover the pupil. Getting nice catchlights in dogs with light colored irises can be tricky.

Lastly I included 2 pictures of a very cute Lab puppy as an example of when catchlights can be too much. In this instance the puppy had her paws up on a picnic table covered with a white tablecloth. In addition to the reflection of the sky in the upper part of her eyes, the white table cloth is reflected in the bottom part of her eyes, almost completely obscuring them. Kind of makes her look like a zombie. I toned down the reflection of the tablecloth in the bottom portion of her eyes to make them look more natural.






Here you can see the reflection of the white tablecloth in the bottom of the eyes.


I’ve toned it down in this image.


Next up in the blog circle is Tracy Allard of Penny Whistle Photography fetching family portraits in Coppell, Texas and surrounding cities in the Dallas – Fort Worth area.

24 comments
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  • Kim HollisJanuary 26, 2018 - 11:34 am

    Nice job on the catchlights in that last image! ReplyCancel

  • Linda MetcalfJanuary 26, 2018 - 11:47 am

    A Mom and her pups party sounds like heaven! Nice catchlights in all.ReplyCancel

    • JohnJanuary 27, 2018 - 12:27 am

      Thanks! You can’t go wrong with a puppy party. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • CourtneyJanuary 26, 2018 - 12:41 pm

    Great photos! With my huskies’ blue eyes I sometimes felt their photos were flat, and you are exactly right that it’s because the catch light is lost in the blue of the iris! I had never put that together! ReplyCancel

    • JohnJanuary 27, 2018 - 12:28 am

      Thanks. I just kind of noticed it myself since I was using these photos for the catchlight post.ReplyCancel

  • Tracy AllardJanuary 26, 2018 - 1:07 pm

    I love the candid nature of all of these, lovely images with the owners – I’m sure they were over the moon about them.ReplyCancel

    • JohnJanuary 27, 2018 - 12:29 am

      Thanks! We took a few posed photos, but mainly I just chased the dogs around while they played.ReplyCancel

  • KellyJanuary 26, 2018 - 2:46 pm

    Wonderful examples! Your work on the last one shows how we as photographers see our images. You fixed what was wrong with catchlights in an image that our clients would most likely never notice. I, for one, applaud you. Attention to details like this is sometimes the most time consuming yet least noticed part of the job. ReplyCancel

  • KirstenJanuary 26, 2018 - 3:31 pm

    Love the edit difference in that last photo! Such happy puppies in all the photos!!ReplyCancel

  • KellyJanuary 26, 2018 - 4:28 pm

    I didn’t even think about light eyes being more challenging. Makes sense!ReplyCancel

    • JohnJanuary 27, 2018 - 12:31 am

      I only really noticed because we were focusing on catchlights this week. I’ll be keeping my eye out whenever I photograph dogs with light eyes from now on though.ReplyCancel

  • Danyel RogersJanuary 26, 2018 - 7:02 pm

    SO many adorable pups in the blog. Nice job!ReplyCancel

    • JohnJanuary 27, 2018 - 12:30 am

      Thank you! Puppy parties are the best. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • DarleneJanuary 26, 2018 - 10:49 pm

    Beautiful images!  A “puppy reunion” sounds wonderful!  The 2nd and 4th images are my favorite – they are all great examples of this week’s topic!  ReplyCancel

  • UrsulaJanuary 26, 2018 - 11:21 pm

    Beautiful examples of catchlights and what an adorable pup. Love that little pink tongue.ReplyCancel

  • LyndaJanuary 27, 2018 - 12:44 am

    How cool to have a reunion with them all. And the other pups families will enjoy those photos too. So nice to have some owners included as well. Just shows that special connection. Love what you did with the catchlights in the last one.ReplyCancel

  • Sandra mccarthyJanuary 27, 2018 - 1:12 am

    Aussies are my favorite.ReplyCancel

  • Sam AdeleJanuary 28, 2018 - 6:04 pm

    Beautiful faces! I also like the inclusion of too much and having to tone down rather than having to add! ReplyCancel

  • Linda PerdueJanuary 28, 2018 - 7:21 pm

    What a beautiful set of photographs to remember this family!  I love the expression on the last portrait!ReplyCancel

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