After getting the current issue of Popular Photography and seeing photographer Darrell A. Harris photo of his puppy, I knew and my wife asked me to do this with our dog.  Jersey is a 8.5 yr old pekinese poodle mix, she is the runt of her litter and usually this breed is a good size bigger.  She has a lot of attitude in the pint size body and we love her to death.

So I went down to the basement and set-up some backdrops and lighting.  I went with a similar setup as Mr. Harris did in the magazine, but the big difference is I used a 24″ softbox versus a beauty dish.  This was lined up above camera pointing down at the subject.  I placed a reflector underneath this (classic beauty portrait set-up) to fill light into the chest area.  My camera was on my tripod a decent distance back since I was using a 70-200mm f2.8 lens for the shot.  Here is a set-up diagram, the main difference between the white backdrop shots and the black one is only the black one has a rim light.  Since Jersey is mostly black, she pops well off that backdrop without it.

I used a random object, my wife’s yoga mat, to get the flash power close to correct before bringing in my model.  

So here she is, our wonderful peekapoo!

 Settings: 1/60 sec, ISO400, f/13, exp +1.0 @ 92mm (cropped later)
Main Flash: -2.7 exp, Rim Light -3.0 exp.
 Settings: 1/60 sec, ISO400, f/6.3, exp +0.7 @ 70mm
Main Flash: +2.0 exp.

Another at the same exposure:

My wife wanted one more shot, one with all her toys, which she has plenty and these were not all of them. 

She was a great model.  Easy to get to sit still in the same spot and to look at the camera, most of the time.  For some pets you may have to use treats, toys, or some other object to keep their attention.