“Never work with children or animals” – W.C. Fields
I think Fields advice is probably spot on for actors, tv producers, directors, etc. But as a photographer, they are my favourite subjects to capture. The spontaneity and joy, especially when capturing them together has the makings for beautiful moments.
In the Studio
I am delighted to report that more and more families this year have been bringing their pets to the studio for their family sessions. When Kimberly booked a photo shoot for her partner Darren’s birthday she was keen to include their Cockapoo Lottie as well as their one-year-old son Nathan. Absolutely, I said, the whole family should be included.
Plans, what plans
My original plan was to give this lovely family lots of different images in their gallery. Dad with Nathan, Mum with Nathan, Nathan with Lottie, Nathan on his own, etc, etc. You get the picture. Whilst it’s great to have a shoot plan. When working with children or animals you have to be prepared to adapt your plan, or even set fire to it!
There’s usually a point between around 10 months and 18 months when a happy, bubbly baby becomes a little bit clingy and a little unsettled in new situations for a few months until they find their equilibrium again. Nathan only wanted to be with his daddy and wasn’t happy on his own or with mummy. I’m not in the business of upsetting kids. So we rolled with it.
And when we added Mum in we kept Nathan on Dads lap.
Lottie clearly wanted in on the action and decided that she was happiest on Dad’s lap as well!
I love this picture though. It’s what family means to these guys and Nathan has got a gorgeous smile going on. I’ll take that as a success any day.
Better yet, mum and dad loved their pictures and that’s the ultimate result I am always aiming for.
Then on Sunday the wonderful team at Blush Boutique in Kincardine asked if I’d help out at their charity fundraiser My Pet and Me. I offered my shooting and editing time for free and they charged people £10 for a 15-minute photo session with their pets. Between that and the other goodies, they had on offer over £350 was raised for Second Chance Kennels and The Edward Foundation. They also collected loads of great donations for the kennels as well.
Normally for a pet shoot, I have a full hour to get the animal comfortable with the location, the flash and find out what makes them sit and look at me. Now add kids and a cat. I’ve never shot a cat in a location other than their own. GULP! What could possibly go wrong?
Crack for Dogs
Turns out nothing! Nothing went wrong and I had an absolute blast kissing and petting all the pets and high fiving the kids. Thanks to Sam at Dog! playing a huge part by giving all the dogs her amazing Liver Cake that they couldn’t get enough off. The treats I’d bought to tempt them didn’t have a patch on these homemade gourmet delights 🙂
Pepper the Cat
And the cat? The cat was an absolute rockstar. Once Pepper came out of her basket and had a good look around she struck a pose like a total professional.
I saw old dogs and puppies, small dogs, big dogs and mahoosive dogs. There were rescue dogs and bred from Crufts winners dogs. There was even a tripod dog. All in all, I shot 24 dogs, 16 kids and 1 cat. One thing was the same with all of them though…they were all loved by their owners and they were all GORGEOUS. Here are just some of the highlights from a fantastic day.