A Dog, a Mirror and a Camera
"Never work with animals or children," the old adage says. But anyone who lives with either would probably not swap the unpredictability that either (or both!) can bring to a situation. Why? Because it's these unpredictable circumstances that parents and pet owners find themselves in that enrich out lives. Often they provide a new story to tell, stories that make up a life. One of the great parts of dog photography are these uncertainties. To quote Forrest Gump, "You never know what you're gonna get" - and that's part of the fun.
Being a dog photographer, I'm kind of asking for it. I've seen it all, the poop and the pee, the slobber, the disinterest, the excitement, the incessant panting, the fur - and, yes, I've been nipped once or twice. Did I mention the slobber? But I wouldn't have it any other way. Sure I could photograph farmer's fields and bowls of fruit but I love dogs (and cats - I have both!) and what they bring to our lives - and I love the people these remarkable animals bring with them to Dog's Life Studio Pet Photography.
So I thought I'd share with you a cute situation that occurred recently during a shoot. Bodhi and Finnster's owners had booked them in for a session. We began with individual shots of Finnster, them some of Bohdi. Getting the two together was proving a bit of a challenge - but nothing unusual. I continued with some shots of Bodhi on his own and then noticed he kept looking off to the far right. Figuring he was just not paying attention - as a dog might do - not understanding the inherent requirements of a photo shoot - we attempted to engage his attention toward the camera with our usual bag of tricks. Bodhi kept looking toward my right as if a squirrel had just walked in and was hanging out on stage left.
I was puzzled at first but eventually realized what was causing Bodhi to be distracted. There was a large mirror a full 15 feet away, out of my view, leaning against a wall. We keep the mirror around the studio for pet owners who want to check how they look if they have opted to be in a photo with their dog (which we always offer as part of our custom pet photography sessions). All this time Bodhi had been looking at and reacting to his reflection in the mirror!
Rather than remove the mirror as a distraction, I suggested to my assistant Cassie that she bring it into the shot. With that, Bodhi continued to be fascinated with his reflection and I continued shooting. What resulted was some great shots of Bodhi interacting with his reflection in the mirror. Ultimately, Finnster decided to enter the scene to see what all of the fuss was about. That resulted in the shot below with both Bodhi and Finnster in the frame.
Bodhi and Finnster's owners were very pleased with the results and they included some of the shots in their print order. I was pretty pleased too. When clients bring in their dogs for a session I always start by telling them that while we have our tricks, the dog ultimately runs the show. We can't force them into situations that will stress them out. We take out time, give them breaks and sometimes have to follow their lead. In this case, Bodhi led us to capture a great moment. Thanks Bodhi!
Life is unpredictable, and sometimes that uncertainty in a dog photography shoot can be a little harrowing. When I tell people I am a dog photographer, often their first reaction is: "My dog will never pose! It's pointless!" I reassure them that everyone says this yet people who visit Dog's Life Studio Pet Photography never leave disappointed. While I have to admit, like Forrest says, "You never know what you're gonna get" - I also have to insist - we always get something good!