I knew what I thought I needed to know, that is, if I took enough photos, I'd find something I really liked and I'd keep it in a small frame in my room. My parents would look at me and roll their eyes. Here she comes again with another roll of film. Oh my God, she is asking us to buy more Kodak Instamatic film!
Turns out I was on to something even back then. That "if you take enough photos..." theory really does have proven merit.
I am first and foremost a pet photographer today. But I also take photos of kids (and love their expressions), and I love taking candid event photos.
Just the other day I had someone lament to me that they could never get a photo of their dog because the dog never is still long enough to take a photo. "So why not get a picture of your dog running?" I asked. "Oh, I could never do that, it would be just a blur," was the reply.
You only need about 3 seconds to get a good photo of a dog doing most things, whether running or staying perfectly still. But, you need a larger investment of time to get a portrait that means something (and isn't just a picture of a dog) and that shows an understanding of the subject on which you want to focus.
Knowing something about the subject is so important to me. It's why I do not like to rush shelter photography. I want to know their names, age, how long they have been there, get their walk in once they are out of the kennel, and then let them smell my equipment and me before I begin. It's why I will sit on the floor of a cat room and wait out the happenings of the day. Because you can only capture what you know. If you don't take the time to know it, that will show up in your photos. That's something that came out of the 50,000 rolls of film my parents used to buy me in those early years. As I threw away the too dark, too bright, blurred completely (in those days, they printed whatever was in that camera), you've got to be kidding me photos, a light began to shine on my brain...START TAKING BETTER PICTURES THAT MEAN SOMETHING!
As a pet photographer, you KNOW what you have to deal with. How many times we have lamented cat photos. Right? Those crazy kitties, with their wide eyes that reflect light everywhere. But the thing I know about them is, they are curious and at some point will take several minutes to decide their next move. Like this shelter kitty below, trying to decide whether I might be worth approaching or if the thing I am holding is some evil spawn from hell.
Sometimes it also takes knowing the breed of a dog. We have several breeds in our entourage: a Border Collie, a scruffy Terrier, a Jack Russell/Whippet cross, two pure bred English Setters, and three English Setter mixes. In the past we have owned Golden Retrievers, an Australian Shepherd and a Chocolate Lab. This certainly helps me out when I encounter these breeds along the way during my client work or event work.
Below are my photos for this week's blog, taken recently at an event held by a local breeder of English Setters. I have been photographing this event for several years, so I have gotten to know some of the owners and the dogs and watched them grow. This, plus understanding the breed, has helped me immensely when photographing these lovely dogs.
Let's see what others in the blog circle have in store for us with their subjects this week. Start with Darlene Dykas Woodward of Pant the Town Pet Photography, serving Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and work your way around the circle until you are back here once again. As a progress report, the framed-out walls are going up in the new studio, and I am excited to be doing a one-on-one with Master Photographer, Nancy Basmann this weekend, as part of my continual learning process!
As an update, I will be doing candids at Bark For Life of Wyoming County on October 16th at Lazybrook Park, and by-appointment-only portrait sessions at St. Peter's Church in Tunkhannock as a fundraising event for a local non-profit on November 19th. Stay tuned to my Facebook page for more information. Have a great weekend everyone!