BTS Sunday: Bo’s Birthday Portraits


Remember last March when we got a new puppy?

Bojangles Hawthorne, we called him.

Well, that little puppy is now 66 pounds and is having his first birthday on Tuesday.

He’s incredibly shaggy and sweet, not a mean bone in his body.

I wanted to commemorate his first birthday by doing some portraits with him in the garage studio – the studio I set up in my garage!


Since he’s a black dog, I wanted to photograph him against a white seamless, which in this case is a LimoStudio 5×10 White Muslin. To be honest, this is heavier than I expected it to be. My black backdrops are more silky, this is more like a cotton bed sheet.

It was also pretty wrinkled from being in the bottom of my gear rollerbox. Still, I thought I could overexpose some and get rid of the wrinkles.

My garage gives me some pretty nice light but I also set up my Neewer 47″ softbox with a Neewer 160 LED light inside. It’s not the most powerful light when there is so much natural light, but it gave be some fill.

If you’re looking for an affordable octobox, this Neewer one is great on so many levels. It opens like an umbrella, so set up is super easy.

I also placed the same LED light, naked, behind the Muslin to give me backlight.

I put my boys in the light light first, before the actual “talent” stepped in.


I liked what I saw. So, I replaced the kid with the dog.




Bo_laying down_012018__MG_4949

He’s so shaggy now (he’s part Wheaton Terrier, part Sheepdog) that the challenge was to catch his eyes within all that fur. Luckily, I got a few frames where I caught his eye.

I was pretty happy with how these birthday portraits came out. He’s a pretty high-energy dog, but I got a little lucky as he was calm for me here. He responded to my voice commands pretty well. When he got tired of sitting and laid down, I took advance of that angle too.

Of course, some incentive helped.


I used both my Canon 70D (ISO 640) and Fuji X100T (ISO 2000) cameras for these shots. The BTS shot was with my Samsung Galaxy phone. Yes, my ISO’s were high but I had to go high-key to blow out the wrinkles in the backdrop.  Luckily, the Fuji gives me very little grain in this situation. I also pushed up my whites and clarity in post as I wanted Bo’s fur to be defined.

If you’re looking for very good but affordable gear, I highly recommend the Neewer line. I’ve been using them for about year now, and have been very happy with them,  especially given with the budget I allot to photography gear.

Happy 1st birthday, Bojangles Hawthorne!

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2018

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