For Week 45 of professional pet photography blog circle Project 52 our theme was “catchlights.” Catchlights are a reflected light source in a subject’s eyes, or more formally, a specular highlight. Catchlights can be formed by natural or added light, such as sun shining through a window (you will often see the window shape reflected) or a speedlight or strobe with a modifier (such as an umbrella or softbox). For this week’s photos, I used an octabox with a speedlight and a large reflector for fill. Since I was using my new little studio area in my basement, there was also some ambient light from the overhead room lights, but you will see the shape of the octabox reflected in Mr. Bojangles’ eyes.

I also used this as an opportunity to test a new background and a new trunk prop that my mom picked up for me at a rummage sale.

As you can see in the above image, sometimes Mr. Bojangles’ eyes can be a little wonky, so the catchlight hits a little off in his one eye. 

Without the catchlights, the eyes would look dead and Mr. Bojangles would be missing that little spark of life. So, if you don’t see the importance of having catchlights, take a look at this comparison below of the same image with catchlights and without. The catchlights add life to Mr. Bojangles’ eyes; this works the same for both humans and animals, alike. Take a look at your eyes in the mirror and you will see how they reflect the light. Then try to imagine what they would look like without it. So, catchlights, regardless of the source, are an important part of a portrait.

Now to see more catchlights, head over to Hoof N Paw Fine Art & Photography, and then around the rest of the blog circle until you end up back here.

If you would like to schedule a custom pet portrait session, use the hot pink “BOOK NOW” button to the right of this post or give us a call at 513-288-1650 or send us an email to suzi [at] If you book a session during the month of November, you will receive 50 custom holiday cards with your session, a $200 value!

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