Tilley, Jessie and me with Luke
I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Holiday season, so here I am with the three canines that make my life complete. My daughter took this shot and we were done in less than 2 min. My guys are so use to being shot on a weekly basis that they are a dream to work with. Not all dogs are the same to work with though and some need alot of coaxing and or patience on my part.
Often the guardians of these dogs think their dog must be the worst I've ever worked with. All people are different and all dogs are different so just like in training dogs; there is no set rules on how to shoot them. Many people think their dogs are amazing and the best I must have ever worked with. Usually these people couldn't be further from the actual fact. Then there are the people who are sure that their dog is the worst and they become flustered very easyily if their dog acts up.
My job as a photographer is to calm everyone and have an enjoyable shoot. The expression on a dogs face is the most important part in a great shot. I usually don't care what the rest of the body is doing of course unless it is doing some weird funky thing. The eyes are where the impact of an image is. So making sure a dog is comfortable is very important. I have seen many photos where you can see that the dog is stressed or not happy and the shot is lost.
Some dogs are extremely intimidated by having a huge camera in their face so I pull out the big zoom. Others get so excited that there is a human crouced down in front of them that they cannot sit still; so I try to become invisible and silent. I have seen dogs do a fabulous shoot for 15 min. and then decide that this huge eye staring at them has been staring long enough and I get the barking routine. You never really know how a dog will act; everyday is different and every solution different.
So just like in my training, it must be fun. As soon as it's not fun, there is no great shot.