The week is flying by; with having Monday (President's day) off it's gone flashing past me. Luke had a bad day yesterday with his neck all stiff and feeling very sorry for himself. But this is a common ailment for him and it will pass as it always does. I'm not sure how he is feeling yet today; he's still sleeping and doesn't look like he's getting up anytime soon.
I was working on getting my book off to the printer all day yesterday. I have a few more photos to work up and then it's off; can't wait. Working on all the photos gave me time to think about each and every shoot. I love meeting new dogs; hearing about their lives with their guardians, it is all very interesting.
Most shoots I do are planned but there are days that I'm out and about with my camera looking. I love to shoot all aspects of the dog/human life together as well as dogs on their own and I am very careful to always ask permission. There have been only two times when I shot before asking and one of those images ended up in a magazine. Oh, I asked "is it okay?" after I shot the images. I have my little schpeel that I give people and only two have ever said NO. I always wonder what these type of people think I'm going to do with the photos of their dog.
I like to get natural looking shots; I'm not one for posed pictures and many times will say "I'm not shooting if you pose." People love to pose for pictures, just pick up your camera and point and see what happens. I'm in the market for a larger lense right now and this is one of the reasons. To me there is nothing like a candid and the further you get away from people the easier it is to get one.
As for dogs; candids are easy but there are many times that a shot needs a little help. There have been those moments when a dog simply won't turn around. Especially when using natural light only; sometimes I just need to place a dog correctly. I like a natural expression on a dogs face as well. Being a behavior specialist I can see the tiniest "wrong" expression. A bit of stress, fear, anxiety or apprehension can ruin an image.
Dogs need to be comfortable for a shoot; this is one reason I have never got into studio work with dogs. I remember long ago taking my three to a studio to be photographed; didn't turn out so great. They were very antsy and it was hard to get a good naturally happy expression. Take a dog to the park, a beach or have them just chill at home and you can get some amazing shots. Some of the most regular everyday type behaviors give you the best images.
When you look at an image of your dog years from now; you want an image that portrays your dog as you remember them. Catching that moment in time can be accomplished by shooting relaxed dogs. The more relaxed the photographer is, the more relaxed the shoot will be; thus giving you a relaxed pooch for great images. Chill'n is the secret.