The most common question I get is “isn’t it really difficult to get a dog to sit still for a photo?”
The answer to that is complicated, but the short version is: it’s easier than you think!
In my experience, through the magic of fast shutter speed, a wide open lens, off-camera flash, and dogs who (literally) look up to their owners, it isn’t as much of the disaster it’s easy to imagine it as. Even a puppy with the wiggles can be tempted to slow down to look at their owner or a treat, if only for a couple of seconds at a time.
Things that pet photography does require are quick thinking, quick adjustments, and the ability to be up and down off the floor the whole time.
Dogs especially look best when shot from slightly below their head level, gives them a sort of noble and heroic air. We’re used to looking at our pets from far above, so it’s nice to see them from their level (especially the tiny ones).
The most intense thing about these events I’ve done is the fast-paced setting. I’ve had to get a lot quicker about adjusting lighting and settings.
I’ve also learned a lot about how to direct pets and their parents into poses that are more likely to showcase all of them better on film.
A few weekends ago I had another opportunity to learn from my two favorite photographers: Moira and Jesse of J. La Plante Photography.
Jesse and Moira are my idols when it comes to adventurous photos and creative lighting. They, and the awesome couple invited me to help them photograph a wedding and I had a blast.
I learned so much about lighting from them in just a few hours. My favorite part of this experience was seeing how much work they put into scouting the location beforehand, resulting in some really amazing outdoors and night shots!
Plus it was seeing them work that convinced me to buy my first full-frame camera!
You can check out Jesse and Moira’s amazing night shots and more on their website.
I had so much fun meeting the residents, their dogs, and taking their photos!
My first client was Holly and her dad. Holly is the first deaf puppy I have worked with, and she was a delight! Super smart, energetic, and patient. Everyone at GC loves this dog!
To light this scene I used two off-camera flashes with MagMod gels pointed at a muslin sheet. I changed the colors of the gels in between shoots, and you can see the different background colors below.
I also had one off-camera flash with a shoot-through umbrella pointed at my subjects. This provided a nice, diffuse light, especially since my subjects were rather mobile!
Another fun thing I played around with at this event were the props I made. I created little fishing-pole-like devices with dog toys and treats to suspend in front of pets to get their attention. Not sure who had more fun with these, the dogs or their humans! 😉
Overall, I had an enormously fun time creating portraits for all these puppy parents. I can’t wait to do it again at Only Natural Pet on October 28th!
This week marks the three-year anniversary of the Great Colorado Floods of 2013.
I was flying back home from England via Iceland, and saw the storm building as the plane approached DIA. I was stunned by the storm and took a shitty video. While my family is lucky enough to live outside of Boulder, up a hill so we didn’t face any flash flooding, we did have severe damage in our basement.
I joked that I brought the rain back with me from England.
I ventured into Boulder the day after the flooding and rain stopped to see what I had missed. I took this photo somewhere along the Boulder Creek. I don’t know if the measurement is any sort of accurate, but that combined with the rushing water gives you a sense of how intense the situation was even after the rain had stopped. Plus this graffitoed expression probably captures the sentiment of many Boulderites at the time pretty well.
Another shot of mine, featured in an article about the flood, captured (for me) a moment of hilarity post-tragedy. This jogger was somehow unaware of the depth of the mud and just plowed straight into it, knee-deep and cartoonishly got stuck.
Another unforeseen bonus of the flood: I got to see Boulderites being stupid about a black bear momma and her cub!
I decided to take the plunge and buy a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex camera, the ones with the interchangeable lenses) in July of 2013. I had owned a couple of point-and-shoots and they just didn’t have the capability to do some of the more artistic things I wanted. I wanted to be able to manual focus and utilize better flash. I liked the idea of being able to buy different lenses and upgrade parts as I learned and grew (and could afford it).
Using the advice of my main photography mentors, Moira and Jesse, I decided to go with a Nikon D5100, and I’m so glad I made that choice.
At the time is was living in Norwich, England finishing my master’s degree in history at the University of East Anglia. I decided to buy a DSLR then (despite the poor exchange rate), because I was planning a three-day stop in Iceland on my way back home, and I wanted a camera worthy of legendary Icelandic beauty.
I didn’t fully realize what I was getting myself into, but luckily most DSLR’s have very good auto settings for photography n00bs.
This was the first photo I took with my new camera:
I shot some wildflowers at sunset with just a hint of UEA’s unique ziggurat dorms in the background.
By the way, in another shot I took of the Ziggurats at sunset, you can see on the left the Sainsbury Centre which served as the new Avengers headquarters in Age of Ultron!
Looking back at these first images, I realize that the featured image on this page features some rare undulatus asperatus clouds and virga hanging over the Sainsbury Centre and Ziggurats at UEA.