Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pet Photography

I actually do have a more useful subject to post today, but I'm just not feeling it right now.
So, instead, I'm going to post some of my favorite pictures that I have taken, and tell you what I have learned about pet photography over 10 years of loving to take pictures of my pets. (If you've ever been in my house, you are very aware of this fact.)

I have learned over the years, that pictures of pets are pretty much run-of-the-mill unless you're up close. There are very few exceptions (see 'prancing' Lilly in the Machickanee post) to this.

happy bail
See? It's nice, but it's doesn't make me gasp or anything.
I like this one mostly because it shows some of King Bailey's attitude - all regal and stuff.

So, without further adieu, here is what I have taught myself over the last number of years.

It all started here. My brother got me an excellent camera for Christmas, and my boss gave me a gift certificate with which I bought a tripod at Best Buy. I was set. Now I just had to learn how to take good pictures.

Something struck me when I saw both Bailey and Tigger sleeping on their respective pieces of furniture. I got my camera and tripod. I had read some tips on taking photos of babies in a magazine, and it suggested getting close to your subject and not taking traditional 'protrait-type' shots. I decided to try it out. It was the first time I had actually gotten down and crawled around on the floor to get what seemed like strange perspectives to me at the time.

For Bailey and Tigger, my climbing around on the floor was not particularly alarming. They were well aware I am weird, and they just kept laying there half asleep as I snapped shot after shot. I'm sure there were close to 50 pictures on my camera by the time I was done. I kept maybe 8 of them. Here are my two favorites.



And with that, I've been hooked on up-close ever since. For me, being able to actually see the texture of their fur will be the greatest gift when they are gone.

I don't really think I realized how much I loved these pictures until I loaded them on the computer and really got to see them in all their glory. I gave a set to my Mom, Dad, and Brother the following Christmas.

Before I got that camera, I occasionally just got lucky. Key word: occasionally.
This picture was actually taken with a super cheap film camera. I had no idea what I'd done until I got them developed. I just thought the idea for the shot would be cool since the canoe happened to be there. This picture is actually published somewhere... but I couldn't afford the book at the time, and now I can't find a copy.

This is Blue. I took care of him a lot when I worked at Field of Dreams.
He was a favorite of mine. I mean, really, just look at the head on him.

There were other times I was NOT so lucky. This picture is officially the worst picture I own that I still love. I have no idea what on earth I was thinking when I stuck Cain in front of an open closet full of clothes to take his picture. But, I knew it would soon be time to put him down, and I was desperate to get some pictures.

I still hate the day I had to let him go. He would have been a truly beautiful dog.
I have known very few dogs as sweet as Cain was.

Years ago, a lovely online friend took that lame picture and made this for me with it. I would someday like to learn to do things like that.


Tigger is extremely photogenic. I think this is partly because he has a bit of a fat head. Also, the color in his coat catches the light in a magical way.

on deck edited


Leo is also photogenic. Only in a different way. That boy can pull off pure evil in a photograph. And I kinda love it.
I have found with cats, it's not entirely necessary to get super close all the time, but it's best to at least nearly fill the frame with their bodies.

Just look at that! Pure evil!

Don't worry, Leo can do 'cute', too.

Again, poor choice of background, but this is uncropped. Sometimes, if the cat is being cute on your bed, and the camera is within reach - you just have to take what you can get.

Now, as I was saying, get up close. For really good pictures, climbing on the floor will likely be required.

beautiful bail



Sometimes, bad pictures are still good. Technically, this picture is not very good. Too dark, you can barely see Bailey... but I still like it. If for nothing other than the fact they are all sleeping on one piece of furniture together.


If you came to my house and looked at my walls, you would very quickly see the last discovery I have made when photographing animals. You don't always have to take a picture of their faces.
See, dogs and cats have paws. Beautiful paws. Oh, how I love the paws. Please, please, never forget the paws!

This is uncropped here, but on my wall it is cropped so the paw fills the print.


My paw, not nearly as cute. Saddly.


Love ya,

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