Last week ended with a portrait session for “The Dogs of War”, one of the wrestling teams who complete as part of UBW (Ultimate British Wrestling) – This week ended with a shoot for 2 very different dogs; Bella and Loki. There’s been a thought running through my head for the last couple of weeks regarding this shoot; Which will be easier dogs or toddlers? Fortunately I didn’t need to worry since the shoot went well!
Having had a pet dog as a child, I’ve never been nervous around dogs, so when the opportunity to do some pet portraits came up, I was more than happy to jump at the chance. I guess I should have asked what kind of dogs before taking on the assignment, but when I met Bella and Loki, I was glad I’d chosen to do the shoot. Bella and Loki have access to a large garden, so with plenty of space to run around in this was an ideal place to do the shoot. Dogs like people have different characters and temperaments. Loki (the Alsatian) was very keen to meet this new stranger and having had a good sniff, and playing fetch for a few minutes, decided I was clearly alright, Bella however was somewhat more nervous and wanted to be close with mum, but apparently that’s not unusual for her.
I’d thought carefully beforehand about the shoot and the types of images I was going to take, and had made sure I’d packed my bag with everything I needed. I wanted to get some general shots of the dogs in their natural environment so started out with my standard lens, but because of the strong sunlight I made sure I used a fill-in flash to not only fill-in some of the shadows, but to make sure I got a catch-light in the dogs’s eyes. I was keen to shoot at the right level for my subject, so spent most of the shoot lying on the floor – It might look a bit odd, but it does help you interact with your subject.
The next set of shots on my list was to do something funky, which meant using my fish-eye lens and getting close to action. The only problem was Loki wanted to get close too – it’s a good job both myself and my camera are water proof since we both got a good licking. Check out the Pro-Gallery to see those shots.
Finally I went back to the basic rules of portraiture where I wanted to make sure that I could get some separation for my subject so I changed to a telephoto lens. By this time Bella has got a little more used to me, and was happy to lie or sit in the grass so long as I kept my distance. This worked really well for me with the long lens allowed me to shoot at 10′-20′ and using a large aperture meant I could get the out of focus background I wanted. Loki wanted to play fetch again so I finished by throwing Loki’s ball and shoot some shots of Loki moving as he brought the ball back.
Once I’d finished the shoot it was back to the digital darkroom, to post process the images ready for delivery. The black in Bella’s coat really was very dark, so I handled the dark tones with particular care so that I could show off her beautiful curls, without making the background too light. As usual I converted a few of the shots into black and white, including this one which really shows off what a pretty face Bella has.
You can see a few more of the pictures here, but why not visit my Pro-Gallery where you can see the shoot in full (Pro-Gallery)
If you’d like a to arrange a photo shoot for your pets send me an email via the contact page (Contact).
You might also like to take a look at the photos I did for Kevin the Chameleon (here), to see a very different set of pet portraits.