When I did this photo of him--several years ago, with a bright orange chuck it ball--it was to showcase how he uses his paws to talk to us on a daily basis. Tap, tap: "can I jump up on your lap?" Tap, tap: "can you fill this bowl with water?" Tap, tap: "may I go up to bed now?" Tap, tap: "Timmy fell in the well."
As unique as Luke is, that one-of-a-kindness extends to all of our dogs, as I am sure it extends to yours.
My dogs have taught me the three things I need to put in practice in order to get a better glimpse at who they are. They have trained me to do the same types of things with client dogs, but I also believe it takes a number of years of experience with a variety of pets and animals to be able to claim this as a strength.
Three Reliable Ways to Find What is Deep Inside
1) Ask the Right Questions
Who knows their pet better than their owner? As photographers, we expect to be asked a myriad of questions by the client, but we also need to ask questions about our potential subject, to start getting a feel for their personality.
I try to ask questions that are geared toward:
- likes and dislikes
- playing habits
I am one of those people, who in my regular life, plans and schedules everything that lies ahead of me. Whether it be for the day, week, or month, I have a general (month) right down to a specific (day) set of things I am going to do and follow, which act as a guide (but not a crutch).
When it comes to pet photography, I throw that all out the window. Beyond the actual scheduling of a pre-session consultation and final session date, when it comes time for the actual capturing of photos, I have no time limits. Sure my website might say "1 hour session," but if you asked any of my clients, they would tell you that they have sometimes been with me for two hours or more, and that I never look at my watch.
Pets need breaks. Pets need treats. Pets need a play moment or two.
Modeling is tiring work. I want a pet to be as relaxed as possible, because relaxation lets personality shine through.
My reward for all this? The music to my ears sound of a client saying "Wow! That is my dog to a tee!" or "Wow! I see this expression all the time at home!" or "Wow! You really captured the spirit of my dog!"
Shy dogs don't like you to be too close.
Some dogs don't like the pop of strobe lights.
In order to find out what lenses, lighting and props may work for a particular pet, the pre-session consult is gold. Don't second guess it. Use only the equipment you KNOW will work for a certain dog or cat, and/or bring it with you to an outside-of-studio location.
As a professional pet photography, I have invested in the equipment that will work best to capture your pet, whether through portrait work, or outside action photographs. I will gear my choice of equipment to suit the needs of your furry friend, and that will also meet the expectations and wishes you have for your photos.
My goal is always to look deep inside and focus on the things that shine through!
I am part of a weekly blogging group of professional pet photographers located all over the planet. To see what others have blogged about in this week's topic, start here with Houston Pet Photographer, Jessica Ramirez of Jessica Ramirez Photography, as she captures a deep focus of Rocky at The Hearth.
Then find the link at the end of each blog to click on to the next photographer. Enjoy and have a great weekend!