So, as it turns out, wrangling a puppy is a busy job! Wrangling six puppies? You can imagine.

A client and friend of ours has a heart as big as Texas, and volunteers as a foster mother to these 6 sweet Lab mix puppies. They came to her from Big Fluffy Dog Rescue. It's no surprise that puppies with adorable pictures stand so much better a chance of being adopted. Especially black puppies – who tend to be less likely to find forever homes due to the fact that some people believe they are harder to photograph.


I wanted to help out by taking a rescue portrait that could be used to promote these pups. 

We decided to meet up in the studio, since it was a freezing December day in Ohio. Foster mom and dad brought a kennel so that each of the pups were safe and we could pick up one at a time to work with. After we did individual shots, we really wanted to do a group photo – and that’s when things got wild! 

I have a small bathtub, which I use for newborn photography. I thought it would be a perfect prop for our group photo.

Shot with OM-D E-M1 and the M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm F1.2 PRO.


We had so much fun keeping them in the bathtub and trying to get everyone to look at the camera. We tried a few different sounds to get them to all look in the same direction. Finally, a bell had them all mesmerized and kept them from falling asleep – which seems to be a real challenge for puppies! 

My OM-D E-M1 Mark II was totally up for the challenge of focusing as quickly as these little darlings were moving. My M.Zuiko ED 25mm F1.2 PRO allowed me to capture the puppies in focus and blur out my backdrop. Paired with my Profoto B-2s and TTL-O, I knew we would have no trouble getting enough light to the black puppies and making sure everyone's eyes were getting a catch light. A good catch light is one of the most important things to focus on when photographing animals, because it helps you make an emotional connection to them through their eyes.

All in all, we cleaned up a lot of messes and chased puppies for about an hour but it was totally worth it to grab these adorable shots! And I’m happy to report that all six pups are now with their forever families.

I chose the following settings:

Shutter Speed – 1/200

Aperture – f/1.8

ISO – 400

Bathing Puppies
Shot with OM-D E-M1 and the M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm F1.2 PRO.


Tracie is an award-winning wedding and portrait photographer living in the greater Cincinnati, Ohio area.