Ares & Emzy Photography
Photographing Pets & Their People

Blog


Pet Photography with Ares & Emzy Photography: Part 2 – Helping Out During your Pet Photo Session

So…we have you scheduled for your photo session, you decided you will be in some of the photos, and you have read two of my previous blogs, “Part I: Preparing for Your Pet Photo Session” and “What to Wear to your Photo Session”.

I always say that my key to successful pet photos is that I need  to, “Think Like a Cat, Dog, Rabbit, Ferret, Guinea Pig” to achieve for great pet photographs! And here is how you can help...

Dog Photographs: In Part 1 I talked about needed appropriate rewards such as some regular dry dog kibble available rather than high calorie, large treats like Pupperonis or Beggin Bacon Strips; we will be giving lots of rewards! Here is a great article about, “How to Most Effectively Use Dog Training Treats, What’s Best”, from SitStay.com.

If your dog is camera shy, I will use a longer lens and photograph from a distance. For many photographs, I am sitting down or lying on my tummy, so I will ask you to keep your activity with the dog within the area in front of my lens, as I am not very mobile in these positions. If you will be in the photograph, I will provide instructions before I step away, and then give you the cue to “start”. At this point, just keep looking at the camera and I will attempt to make noises to get your dogs attention. Just keep working with your dog to stay in one position…all while maintaining a fixed gaze at the camera. If you are working to get an active image (like a hunting dog given the command for a release) or one where you do not want to be looking directly at the camera, then just engage in your activity, and keep starting it over…all within the area in front of my lens. Be sure to give your dog rewards along the way.

For solo dog photographs, it is important to stand directly behind me so the dog is looking at my lens.

Cats: As famed cat photographer, Walter Chandoha said of cats, “Cats cannot and will not be rushed,” he says. “And if you are a cat owner, you know, well, you’re really don’t own a cat, they own you and spend their days on their own terms and schedules.”

So, not much to say here J I pretty much follow your cat around and take photographs! Well, not exactly true…but close. Some of the best cat play areas are the bedrooms! So you might plan to have your bed made, night stands cleared of clutter and drapes/shades/shutters open for natural daylight. Then, have some cat toys out of sight. We’ll put the kitty up on the bed, and then I’ll ask you to start to play with the cat…from directly behind me, or to make the activity with the cat toy happen in front of my lens.

Other small pets: Truly there is not a creature I do not like. While I hate fire ant bites, I suppose there is a reason fire ants are on this earth. I do not know that reason, but I’ll trust God & the Universe that there is a reason for fire ants to exist. I doubt anyone would want “pet photography” of most insects…so let’s get back to reality. Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, Hamsters, Birds, and Ferrets have very predictable behaviors and they also have favorite treats as well. All of these pets, when placed on a novel surface (fabric), tend to remain still for varying amounts of time, ranging from a mere nanosecond to 20-30 seconds. So for these pets, it is all about getting the right set up/décor for the photograph and getting the shot over several attempts.

One last tip for indoor pet photos, to get the best photograph, I may ask if we can move a particular chair, pet bed, or pet cage closer to a window to have the best available natural light, or even to turn lights off to insure there are no competing backgrounds.