Herding Cats For Mother's Day

Mother's Day Photo Idea

With my wife out of town for a few days last week, I decided it was the perfect chance to create a fun, memorable photo for Mother’s Day. I wanted something that had our whole family in it, including the crazy pets. I normally steer clear of shots like this for the simple reason that it’s near-impossible to herd the cats. It’s just very love/hate between our three pets, so the only way this was going to work was if I shot a composite.

After school last week, we loaded everyone up in the car and headed to my studio to take the shot. I set up an overhead camera rig about 8 feet off the ground, shooting wide at 16mm. For lighting, there’s a bare bulb flash in the upper middle and lower left of the frame. I also added an extra bare flash in the lower right to kill some of the c-stand shadows that were showing up. We used 5 photographs to create the final image.

The dust wasn’t dust at all, but rather a couple of passes with an airbrush using Corel Painter. I also added a chalkboard texture to give some nice additional contrast.

Loading up the pets for the ride:

Mother's Day Photo Idea 2

Here’s the shot of the boys:

Mother's Day Photo Idea 3

Here’s Queso (the dog). Note that I put down a pencil and a hairbrush to serve as simple markers of the feet location from the myself and the boys. The hairbrush works great for this because, sadly, it doesn’t get much use in my house anymore.

Mother's Day Photo Idea 4

Lisa loved the shot, and we all laughed at how huge the cats have become.