by Lindsay Dobson Published 01/06/2014
However, the challenges do increase if you offer dedicated pet and animal photo sessions. I'm more than happy to photograph pretty much any kind of animal providing there are no specific safety issues.
Life would be straightforward indeed if we only ever encountered obedience trained dogs, but in reality animal photographers must accept that they won't have the same level of control as they would enjoy with most human subjects. The key then is to keep an open mind and to change tack when necessary. I usually aim to capture some directed photographs of the animal which often involves gaining its attention or guiding the animal into the position we need (such as the right background and light). My ethos is to capture the spirit of my subject which means engaging with them so they behave and move in a way which is characteristic of the breed or individual.
This often requires a period of observation and coaxing. It's important to discuss the pet beforehand with the owner, so that we have an idea of the things the pet enjoys doing, and any quirks the animal might have. Food treats and noises can be very helpful, but do have a limited effect, so having a range of distractions at your disposal is best.
How do you differentiate between your lifestyle sessions and the fine art service?
The lifestyle pet photography sessions follow a very similar format to that applied to a human location photo shoot. The photographs will include some directed portraits and a range of pictures of the subjects engaged in the activities they enjoy, plus some candid photos and detail shots. I specialise in albums so it's important to gather a "story".
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