Saturday, June 21, 2014

Working with Animals

So...the idea of working with animals (and small children) may strike fear into the hearts of photographers everywhere...and rightly so.  They are not easy to photograph.  They don't keep still, they are unpredictable, the pull weird faces, they start sniffing their butts....(the dogs, not the kids)...and generally just be as un-photographable as they possibly can.  Just to annoy you.  I'm sure of it.

Of course there are the times that you have success!  Those times that you capture the perfect pose, the one where everyone is smiling and looking at the camera, no one has their nose screwed up and the dog has their nose out of their nether regions.  I find that often it is just a matter of luck but there are some things you can do to help keep your subjects happy AND get the shot you want.

This photo was more of a lucky shot...the dog was happy (she had just finished chasing a chook), and something caught her attention over in the next paddock, so she was looking over to her left in a majestic kind of way.  The chooks were just ignoring me and doing their own thing.

I think this chook was kind of growling at me actually, and for this shot I did a little in cropped out the chook next to her who was flashing her feathery backside at me.  Funny, but not appropriate for the magazine!

So how can you help?  My experience is to work fast.  Get in then get out before they notice what has happened.  Perhaps wearing camouflage gear might help.  The other thing, and thanks to the wonders of digital cameras, take a lot of photos.  Odds are somewhere in there you will get a good shot.  Also if you can find an assistant who doesn't mind clapping, whooping and making strange noises to get their attention, this doesn't go astray either.

These photos were taken yesterday on my photo shoot in the hills of Korumburra where I am doing a story on Emma Brown who runs a business called 'Glorious Googies'.  She sells her free range eggs at markets and directly to cafes and restaurants. 
I love my job!  A gorgeous morning, fresh air, taking photos, meeting a lovely woman running a fantastic small business and then taking follow up shots of her at the Warragul Farmers Market this morning where I received a complimentary packet (the sweetest packaging you've ever seen for eggs), of a dozen of her beautiful eggs.

Taking photos of children, I believe, can often be harder than taking photos of animals.  Or maybe that is just taking photos of my kids.  That could be because I have four and getting all of them looking perfect at once is like trying to stuff an octopus in a string bag.  Impossible.
Despite many efforts I think this was about as good as it was going to get.  This was actually the first photo I have ever taken of all four of my children together.  That's really bad considering I take photos for a living.  I will have to do proper photos of them where they are all colour coordinated and clean (note the dirt on the face of my son on the right and my baby has cold and is covered in boogers.)  Of course I will do this when I find the time.....

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