Our pets are part of our families. We raise them from puppies and kittens, and whether or not you’d like to admit it, they are literally like raising a baby. From midnight feedings and potty trips at all hours, we gladly take care of our furry friends. Our patients are tested when the teething starts as we say good-bye to the furniture that has now become their binky. All-in-all we do this gladly and along the way we document the journey.
Photographing our pets is a way to cherish and remember our beloved four-legged friends. I took my skills as a photographer, taking portraits of people, and turned my lens to the dogs (and cats). I had many dogs and cats over the years and some were more willing to model than others. My bulldog was a good sport when my sister and I dressed him up in our clothes. The pink swimsuit he wore was especially stunning. I wish I could find that photo but sadly it was taken pre-digital era. In fact I don’t think it was shot on 35mm film. I think is was on disk film or 110 film which even if I found the negative there’s no way to develop another photo.
I was given some helpful hints when it came to taking pet photography. One, get on their level. Look at photos of pets, especially portraits. The lens is eye level with the animal. Lots of times pets are put on risers to give them a boost. Or with larger breeds getting down to their level is pretty easy too. Second, get to know your subject. Those big, thoughtful brown eyes are saying something and its your job to tell their story. Three, watch their behavior. Every pet is different and their body language will lend itself to a pleasing pose.
I was looking back on some photos of my dog Carl. Yes his name was Carl, with a “C”. I had to laugh because he always looked so sad, but he wasn’t, he just had “resting Cuddly Dudley face”. That being said it was a challenge to get a picture of him not being dopey. Bare with me here… My Carl passed away in late January this year. He was 14 years old and was an amazing dog and companion. It is always hard when a pet passes away but having those precious moments in time captured forever in a photo is priceless. Even if the pictures are a little embarrassing, like wearing a hat or feather boa, those are the moments you’ll remember forever.
At every ending there is a new beginning. We did adopt from a rescue shelter a two month old puppy. Because he is a rescue they are not entirely sure what the breed is. The best estimate is that he is a Labrador/Retriever mix. The shelter named him Finnian. The family agreed that that it was a good name, so we call him Finn. I took ample puppy pictures because we are excited see what Finn grows up to be. We see a lot of Hound Dog in him and some say he is going to be a BIG dog. It doesn’t really matter because we are going to love him no matter what.
I know the whole “Circle of Life” song should be playing right now, but it’s not. The point is photography, as a medium can be used to document the furriest of our family members. Whether you choose to do professional photography or candid photography, snap those pictures and capture the moment.