Like any other genre of photography, making pet photos can become routine. Set up the lights. Position the model. Work to get the expression you want. Hit the shutter release. Oooh and aaah. And done. There’s nothing wrong with this formula, but I often have an itch to do something different and creative that stretches my brain a bit.
Recently I have discovered Pinterest. While I was aware of the social medial site since its appearance on the scene, my impression was that it was only populated with recipes and home decor and wedding dresses. I didn’t see a place for me on the site. I have since learned that there is much more to it than that, and I have found a treasure trove of beautiful photographs. For obvious reasons I have been drawn to great animal imagery, and most of my “Boards” reflect that interest.
Yesterday I was meandering around Pinterest and found some pet photos that included dogs and water. They sparked an idea. PJ loves to drink water from a bottle. If I pour it into his bowl he will drink the stream of liquid as it falls before he puts his tongue in the bowl. My idea was that I would use a water bottle to squirt water toward PJ, and I would light it to make the water stand out against a black backdrop. I did the set up, took a few test shots, and when I was happy with the way things looked I summoned Himself. But Himself wanted nothing to do with the water. In fact, as it floated past his nose he turned his head and walked away. DRAT! Foiled again.
But wait! I know a sure-fire way to keep PJ’s interest – Redi-Whip! He goes crazy for a squirt of the stuff, and he would work all day for a taste. So I ran upstairs, grabbed the can, and he followed me like I was the King of the World. Yes! This was going to work.
Because it was just the two of us it was a little tricky. I had my camera on self-timer with a 10 second delay, which meant I would press the shutter release and then lure PJ into place and hope that my timing with the whipped cream and his positioning was what we needed for the shot. It took a few tries, including several where he leaped out of the frame, but within short order we grabbed some fun shots. As an added bonus, PJ was more than willing to clean up after the shoot! How many models do that???
It was a good reminder to keep an eye out for inspirational pet photos and to use them to try new things.