by Paul Walker Published 01/06/2009
or how to get toothpaste back into a tube
In his professional career, Paul Walker has photographed most animals often categorised as a 'pet' from horses, cats and dogs through to rabbits, guinea pigs and the occasional trouser-climbing 'polecat'. In this article he touches upon shooting pets on location and gives an insight into this potentially hazardous yet extremely rewarding area of photography, in which he has won a number of awards.
Photographing pets on location has its merits and drawbacks. Paul Walker's approach is to stay away from many of the conventional studio-style 'set-ups', preferring to opt for the vast array of possibilities that both homes and the great outdoors present. This approach is taken for a number of reasons. Primarily, the pets do not perceive the appearance of the studio as a veterinary surgery. Some commercial assignments may require high-key studio-style portraiture engaging dogs that are more than happy in such an environment. However, in the majority of shoots, the big studio lights are left firmly behind.
Paul also believes that working in a natural environment helps to challenge and develop his photography vision far more than the studio ever could. To an extent, overcoming the unique challenges that a home or outdoor neighbourhood presents is half the fun. Plus, those familiar outdoor environments are rarely ever similar due to the ever-changing weather and seasonal variations in the foliage. Certain assignments definitely keep the calories burning, especially if the pet concerned decides to play at hide-and-seek during the photography session. It's certainly a reason to save on the gym membership as the mad photographer goes in pursuit of those crazy pets!
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