Photo Anatomy: the secret behind Tim Flach’s meticulous animal techniques

Photo Anatomy: the secret behind Tim Flach's carefully planned animal techniques

In our Photo Anatomy series on Digital Camera World we select pictures by famous photographers and explain point by point what makes them work.

In our latest instalment, photographer Tim Flach reveals the ingenious, carefully planned technique that enabled him to create this perfect Afghan Hound shot!

Photo Anatomy: the secret behind Tim Flach's carefully planned animal techniques

Flash and pan
The dog was lit with a Broncolor flash and a key light. “I used a flash duration of 1/2000 sec,” says Flach, “but to get it absolutely pin-sharp I also panned with the animal.”

Flach’s approach
“Afghan Hounds have a natural trot that’s very distinctive,” says Flach. “Their hair goes everywhere when they run, and I felt it was important to show that movement.”

Studio setting
Flach photographed the dog in a 100-foot car studio so it had enough space to trot at sufficient pace. He used a black background 
to keep the emphasis on texture and form.

Angle of view
Flach used a Hasselblad H3DII-39 fitted with a Hasselblad HC 2.2/100 lens. He shot with the camera positioned near ground level to give the resulting image a graphic quality.

Tunnel vision
He built a tunnel from sheets of polystyrene, through which the dog was encouraged to run by its owner. Flach photographed the animal through a window cut in the side.

We say
“When photographing pets, it’s important to try to capture the animal’s personality. In this case, the dog’s intent gaze and flowing hair make it look almost regal. Think about what makes your own pet unique or distinctive.”
Chris Rutter, technique editor

READ MORE

Famous Photographers: 100 things we wish we knew starting out
How to see photos like famous photographers… every time you shoot
Professional Photographer to the Rescue: animal photography tips for any species
30 celebrity photographers who are actually celebrities