Welcome to Week 4 of the Pet Photography 52 Weeks Project. This week’s theme is “The Eyes Have It”
I love this topic as the eyes are my No. 1 focus (pardon the pun) in my style of photography. All my years as a shelter photographer have proven over and over again that in order to engage a potential adopter looking online for a pet, they need to make a connection through the photograph and that connection is almost always through the animal’s eyes.
I’m trying to stick with the “rules” by posting photos I’ve taken during the week of the challenge with the challenge in mind, however for this particular challenge I am mixing a few photos in that I’ve taken over the past 12 months from client shoots. The shelter photos are all from this week though.
I am kicking off however with a client session I had this week with the gorgeous Alfie O’Sullivan who was actually adopted from the shelter I volunteer for, the year prior to me starting there. Alfie was an absolute rockstar and his dreamy eyes are even framed by his gorgeous black eyeliner. This is also sneak peek for his mum Sharon.
I find that my connection to animals in the shelter is quite different to my connection when photographing a client’s dog. In the shelter these animals are alone, they don’t have their loved ones with them to draw confidence from and they are most likely feeling abandoned and wondering where they are and why. I spend hours at the shelter each week and a lot of this time is spent simply connecting with the animal, the photography really becomes secondary… the end product… once I’ve built up rapport. It is through this time connecting that I gain the animals trust enough that they will look right into my face and therefore my lens. Camera lenses can be pretty freaky to a lot of animals and it takes time to get them comfortable with pointing the lens at them. It’s this time that is crucial to getting a connecting shot… a photo that will grab someone’s attention and their heart and ultimately lead to that animal being adopted.
When working with clients’ dogs, I also spend time building rapport, however as the dog has a relationship with their human, and a loving and devoted one at that, it is actually often more challenging to keep that connection and that’s where our tools of the trade come into play… our treats, our game callers, our hilarious sounds straight out of our mouths at times… whatever it takes to get those eyes focused on us. As a client, it’s your job to hang back and enjoy the experience so I can work with your dog. This almost always involves me rolling around on the ground playing with your dog and getting lots of kisses.
Thank you for reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed this weeks topic. Please head on over to check out Elaine Tweedy of I Got the Shot Photography, serving pets and their people in Northeastern PA and surrounding areas for her take on this topic.
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