In a new series to run every Sunday on Digital Camera World, we’re going to select pictures by famous photographers and explain point by point what makes them work.
In our first instalment we look closely at an amazing animal portrait by Tim Flach, from his project More Than Human. Here’s how he achieved this dramatic image.
Tim was around 6ft away from this adult leopard panther when he photographed it at the Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species in South Carolina, USA.
Light on dark
“I used a key light on the left, and an edge light on the right, to give form to the animal’s shape,” says Tim. “I positioned the lights to give some catch to the eyes.”
Tim used a Canon EOS 5D Mark II with a 100mm macro lens. He cropped in tightly on the animal’s head, using the black background to emphasise the texture of its fur.
“We put some milk on the animal’s paw to get the licking action,” Tim says. “I had to visualise what I wanted beforehand as there was little chance to change the set-up.”
Tim used a flash duration of 1/3000 sec. “I used a fast flash speed to freeze the movement of the tongue and allow us to explore its textures,” he says.