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Elegant photos to the most famous dog on Earth: Tuna

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Elegant photos to the most famous dog on Earth: Tuna

A few days later after Tuna's birthday party at NKLA, I met him again for his Fine Art Session at his home.

Each year we at Bows-N-Ties get involved in a charitable cause, and for 2014 Bows-N-Ties has decided to partner with the San Francisco SPCA.

(Buy your scarf or tie here: http://www.bows-n-ties.com/dogsnties/ )

To help raise both money and awareness Bows-N-Ties has launched DOGS-N-TIES, a campaign that marries fashion and activism to raise funds for homeless animals and Tuna (#tunameltsmyheart) has donated his time and image to be the face of the campaign.

Frame Your Pet was the photographer of Tuna (Instagram: Tunameltsmyheart)

Frame Your Pet was the photographer of Tuna (Instagram: Tunameltsmyheart)

It was a dream of mine to do a Fine Art Session to Tuna. He is funny, odd (in the most sweet way), unique and goofy; and I wanted to mix this explosive combination with art and elegancy.

Here are the best photos of his session:

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Courtney (Tuna's mom) putting the Dogs-n-ties scarf on Tuna for the photo shoot with Frame Your Pet.

Courtney (Tuna's mom) putting the Dogs-n-ties scarf on Tuna for the photo shoot with Frame Your Pet.





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Dog Photography Session in San Francisco, SOMA

I'm a big lover of mutts, so when I was booked to photograph Cooper, a labrador-boxer mix, I was very thrilled.

We did the entire session at home. When I shoot indoors, I like to use a fix lens with my Nikon D600. Since the apartment wasn't very spacious, I used my Nikkor 32mm 1.4 for the entire session, and it was great.

Cooper is a young pup, but his level of energy was very low and it worked perfectly. He was a great model and posed graciously for me.

Since I work only with natural light, we did most of the session in the bedroom because it had abundant natural light. The bed and the blankets turned out to be the perfect accessory.

Cooper on the bed. He looks adorable with the blanket covering his head.

Cooper on the bed. He looks adorable with the blanket covering his head.

Since I started Frame Your Pet, I've photographed a few dogs that were older than 17 years of age. Pretty amazing. All those dogs had something in common: they were part of a family that had tons of love to give. Love is the best medicine for a long and healthy life, not only for humans but also for dogs. I believe Cooper will have a long and happy life!

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I love to capture the bond between pets and owners. Cooper's mom didn't want to miss the opportunity to take portraits of some of the things she likes to do with her pup, like cuddling in bed.

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Some people think that having photos of your pet is a little odd, but it all depends on the eye and the approach taken for the photos. 

I always like to keep the focus of attention on the pet.

I always like to keep the focus of attention on the pet.

For Angela and Cooper, I wanted to create a series of "collages" to illustrate their bond, but do it in a more creative and modern way. So, I got onto the bed and started to take pictures of them together.

Sunday mornings are perfect to be lazy, but they are even better when you share the moment.

Sunday mornings are perfect to be lazy, but they are even better when you share the moment.

Cooper seized the moment to take a nap.

Cooper seized the moment to take a nap.

Here are some more photos from that day.

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Cooper's butt :)

Cooper's butt :)

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One of my favorites. Angela and Cooper resting on the bed. 

One of my favorites. Angela and Cooper resting on the bed. 

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Being a Labrador with some Boxer in his blood, sometimes Cooper's teeth get stuck in the lips. His mom finds it adorable so I wanted to capture this expression in particular. He looks so goofy!

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Would you like to have a session like this with your pet? I'd be thrilled to be your photographer! Contact me to schedule your free consultation and let's talk about what I can do for you.


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Tips to choose the right pet photographer

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Tips to choose the right pet photographer

 

Becoming a pet owner is a more life-changing event than many people realize when they set out to choose a new addition to their family. Within a short space of time, a new dog or cat takes up a space in your heart that you didn’t know was empty. They are forever a part of your family and not just an animal.

Your pet becomes an integral part of your life; he is there for all of life’s monotonous daily moments. He greets you when you wake up, when you get in from work, and cuddles on your lap before bedtime. He’s also there for life’s milestones; birthday’s, family bbq’s, the birth of children. He is a constant presence, always offering unconditional love and affection.

Celebrating Maui's 7th birthday.

Celebrating Maui's 7th birthday.

Time passes quickly, and before you know it, your pet has transformed from puppy or kitty to a fully mature dog or cat. He changes as if before your eyes; blink and you could miss it! In the world of smartphones and modern technology, you take frequent snaps of your beloved pet until your phone memory is full to capacity in an attempt to capture him at every phase in his life. Unfortunately, these low resolution images don’t print well, and your pet can not be proudly displayed in frames in your home, as he deserves.

How many photos of your dog or cat do you have in your smart phone? 

How many photos of your dog or cat do you have in your smart phone? 

The solution to this problem is to hire a professional pet photographer. The pet photography business is gaining lots of attention, so choosing the right one is becoming extremely challenging. A conventional photographer, who photographs anything to everything, may not comprehend the art of taking the best pet portraits.

 

How to choose the right photographer for your beloved pet?

First, you need to look for a specialist. There are many styles of pet photography, such as documentary, traditional, photojournalistic, fine arts, abstract, and studio. The vast amount of options can make the choice seem daunting, but we have some easy to follow guidelines that will make choosing your pet photographer foolproof.

 

1. Generalist vs Specialist

While not all amateur photographers are created equal, the best way to ensure you receive quality work is to hire a seasoned professional with a solid background.

This is the first step toward success choosing the right photographer for you. Generalists are the ones who shoot a bit of everything: newborns, pets, weddings, landscape, etc. Pets do require an experienced photographer to have their pictures taken. The photographer must understand animals and be able to engage them to get the best out of them. Check the photographer’s experience and background and ensure he or she is a professional and has a career that backs up what he or she does with a gallery representation, awards, magazines, and blog features. Every pet is a unique character and being able to be patient with pets is not enough. You need to ensure that the candidate has experience working with animals, and ideally, can provide some references from previous customers.

 

2. Choose the Photography Style: Studio vs Outdoor/Indoor

Studio photography requires that your pet be taken to an unknown environment, which could cause nervousness. Studio photography can be very stressful for the pets. They not only have to stay quiet in the same spot for long periods of time, but the whole setup can be overwhelming when you consider all of the lights and bright flashes.

Photo courtesy of Keith Stenhouse.

Photo courtesy of Keith Stenhouse.

Outdoor photography, also known as “on location” photography, has great benefits. In the case of a dog, outdoors means exercise and having a great time. Having an incredible pet photographer will make no difference if your pet is stressed or unhappy, so considering how the location will affect them is key. In the case of senior dogs, puppies, or cats, indoor is a good alternative to outdoors. As long as the pet feels comfortable, the pictures will turn out great.

 

To know more about Studio photography vs Outdoor photography, read this post.

 

3. Choose the Photographer’s Style

Although many pet photographers use digital cameras, there are still some more traditional ones using film. Do you prefer film or digital? Do you want black and white or color? Each one comes with pros and cons, and depends on your personal preference. It’s important to spend some time checking the photographer’s portfolio to see if his/her style is what you are looking for.

 

4. Know The Process

If possible, schedule a pre-session consultation with your top two photographers. Discuss your project, what you are looking for, how the session works, and your expectations, and use the time to clarify any questions you may have. The consultation will help you get to know each other and you’ll get a better feeling of which pet photographer will be right for you.

 

5. The Investment

Figure out your budget and compare what each photographer includes in the price, but don’t let this be the deciding factor. Price is often a synonym for quality, not only in terms of products but also in customer service. Do you want a shoot-n-burn photographer or somebody who can prepare a tailored session for you and your pet? Do you want to buy a few 8x10 prints or do you want gallery-quality art pieces? You will pay once, but a few years from now, you won’t remember how much it cost you, only how wonderful and unique your pet was.

Framed Fine Art photo of a Greyhound. Perfect to decorate your home or office.

Framed Fine Art photo of a Greyhound. Perfect to decorate your home or office.

Although choosing the right pet photographer can be a time consuming process, it is vital that you invest some time searching for local dog or cat photographers that will be able to capture your pet’s personality in the best way possible.

 

If you are looking for a pet photographer in San Francisco or in the Bay Area, I'd love to work with you. Contact me now to schedule your free session consultation and let's get your project started!


Frame Your Pet’s Mission:

To provide customized services in a professional and personal manner to create timeless high-end pet photography artwork exceeding client satisfaction and expectations.

 

 

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How Good Dog or Equine Photography Can Help Boost Your Pet Business

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How Good Dog or Equine Photography Can Help Boost Your Pet Business

Introduction
 

The pet industry is booming lately as pet ownership is increasing among Americans and people are treating their pets more like children, offering them the best care possible. The pet care industry continued to prosper throughout the recession when many other businesses went bankrupt.

Despite its profitability, there is a lot of competition out there, so how can you make your pet business stand out from the rest? The secret is top quality pet photography. Whether you run a dog walking service, a pooper-scooper service or a dog day care, whether you are a dog trainer, a pet sitter, a pet toy designer or a pet treat manufacturer, the marketing principle is the same: good photos sell.

This map shows how many dog breeders there are in the United States  (these are only the business that has signed up to be shown in Google Local)

This map shows how many dog breeders there are in the United States (these are only the business that has signed up to be shown in Google Local)

A Needle in the Hay

So many pet businesses pay attention to the quality of the services and products they sell, but they struggle to expand their clientele as they get lost among the masses of similar enterprises that exist. Upon taking a closer look at their marketing strategies, you will probably notice that they all have poor or average photos of animals on their website.

An image creates a first impression of your company, so if you don’t spend the time to post attractive photos on your website, people will have a hard time trusting that you made an effort with anything else. Professional pet photography is a small investment that can really make a difference in your pet business’ future earnings.

This is a good example of elegant equine photography used in brochures. Thanks to FullofLife for the photo to illustrate this topic.

This is a good example of elegant equine photography used in brochures.
Thanks to FullofLife for the photo to illustrate this topic.

Free Publicity on the Internet

A lot of advertising is now done online, through social media platforms and company websites. Certain companies attract their customers solely by posting photos on Instagram, which proves that a picture really is worth a thousand words. Great pet photography can truly be the key to distinguishing your pet business. A great photo will attract more people to your website, giving you more publicity and higher chances of selling your products or services. Superior pet photography can also help your website look more serious and professional, proving that you are well experienced in your field.

Snoopy the cat has more than 200,000 followers in his Instagram profile.  Don't underestimate the power of Instagram or other social media platforms like Tumblr.  Instagram has 90 million users that post 40 million photos per day and tap 8,500 likes per second  (source: Instagram).  Tumblr has around 113.5 million posts a day!

Snoopy the cat has more than 200,000 followers in his Instagram profile.

Don't underestimate the power of Instagram or other social media platforms like Tumblr. 
Instagram has 90 million users that post 40 million photos per day and tap 8,500 likes per second (source: Instagram).
Tumblr has around 113.5 million posts a day!

Supply and Demand

Along with increasing pet ownership, there is a growing demand for pet photography. Recent trends show that people online are searching for tons of pet pictures, because they all love to look at photos of cute pets. Even people who have very little in common can connect because of their love for animals.

If you post a few excellent photographs of cute animals on your website, you are sure to develop a widespread following of viewers who want to see more. They will keep returning to your site to see the cute photos, thus increasing your chances of conversion.

Great photographs are not only valuable online or on social media platforms, they can also be used for your offline marketing materials, such as newsletters, brochures, packaging, catalogs, posters, etc. As you know, these advertising and informational materials that you distribute to your potential clients are incredibly important to the success of your business. They need to be tailored by a professional photographer who understands what your goals are. Whether online or off, I can help you create a portfolio of great images that reflect the true spirit of your pet business.

Photo by Frame Your Pet. This photo is part of a commissioned work for CAVA Horse training center, Spain. 

Photo by Frame Your Pet. This photo is part of a commissioned work for CAVA Horse training center, Spain. 

You will surely notice a return on your investment in no time as more and more people are attracted by your stunning images. The more appealing your photos are, the longer people will stay on your website, or read your printed materials, thus increasing the likelihood that they will feel positively about your business and engage your services.


If you are in the pet business and you are thinking of hiring a specialist contact me today for superior pet photography and watch your pet business grow!

 

Related posts: Tips to choose the right pet photographer.


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Why custom pet photography is expensive

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Why custom pet photography is expensive

Costs of running a business + experience and knowledge

The digital revolution has brought amazing flexibility and ability to control various factors during the image taking and making process.  Photographers, the hobbyist, the professional, the amateur all benefit from this ability to manipulate pixels.  However, with flexibility comes a price.  Digital camera equipment is still considerably more expensive when you factor in its’ lifespan, the need for additional resources for processing those images, the time it takes to get a usable image and the effort that goes into creating a work of photographic art. We all know that you can go to the local Walgreen’s and pay a $1.99 for a print – as a client you may wonder why you may pay upwards of $50, $70, $90 for a custom photography print.   Photographers hear this statement every once in a while:

“How in the world can you charge $60 for an 8×10 if it costs me less than $2 to print at x store?”

“How in the world can you charge $60 for an 8×10 if it costs me less than $2 to print at x store?”

The truth of the matter is the answer to this question is multifaceted.  Much of the cost of a photographic print produced by a professional photographer has a lot to do with the time, equipment costs, artistic vision and reputation of the photographer not to mention expertise and the usual costs of running a legitimate business. 

The cost of TIME

Approaching it from a time standpoint, let’s imagine that you have hired a photographer who has work that you love. This photographer is traveling an hour to your destination to photograph your session.  Here is an example of a time break down:

booking time: 30 minutes to one hour (client contact time + paperwork)pre-session prep time (30 mins – 1 hour, includes equipment and back up equipment checks + vehicle checks)one hour travel time TO session15-30 minutes prep time at client’s home90 minutes-2 hours with client photographing subjectone hour travel time FROM session30-45 minutes uploading time from digital cards from camera to computer30-45 minutes time spent backing up the original images2-5 hours editing time to present you with a diverse gallery of edited images1 hour prep time getting ready for ordering2-3 hours time with client for ordering images1 hour sorting through and checking order30 minutes-1 hour prep time for delivery30 minutes-1 hour getting order shippedany additional phone time or time needed for add on ordering, shipment issues, quality issues

In this example, the time spent per client can range from just under 13 hours to 19 hours – dependent on the photographer’s level of service.  This is time dedicated only to ONE session.  When the photographer charges $150-$300 for the photo shoot (aka SESSION FEE) you are not just paying for the two hours of session time, you are paying the photographer for 12-19 hours complete time for your session.

The COSTS of Maintaining a Custom Photography Business:

Regarding equipment costs, a good quality professional camera with a selection of good optical quality lenses and digital storage mediums and computer set up can run from $10,000-$30,000 costs dependent on the photographer.  Even though you can purchase a really good quality digital SLR for about $2100 there are still other costs related to photography.  A good lens for portrait photography can run from $900 to $2500.  A dependable computer system with software loaded for business and creative usage can run $2500 to $8000 dependent on the photographer. Then come lab costs for specialty products.  A good photographer knows their professional lab is an integral part of their success.  These labs often cost more and offer a range of products that allows the custom photographer to continually offer new, innovative products for the discerning client.

Discussion on other costs of running a photography business could take awhile so we’ll skip many of the intricate details.  An overview:  the costs of running the business, taxes, studio rental/mortgage if the photographer has ownership of a dedicated studio, vehicular costs, costs of advertising/marketing, costs of sample pieces that the photographer will likely bring to your session, etc.

APPLES to ORANGES to BANANAS: Often times clients will mention to their photographer that X studio in the mall/department store only charges $19.99 for an 8×10 “sheet” or they may mention other things related to discount photography chains.  The fact is those discount chains make their money on volume, not on customized 1:1 service.  In February 2007 a company who has leased photography retail space in a rather well known discount retailer closed down 500 of their portrait studios across the nation.  The reason it happened is simple, you cannot make money on 99¢ “professional” prints if you do not sell enough of them.  Interestingly enough – those same studios that offer the loss leader packages often charge much much more for their a la carte pricing vs. many custom photographers (as high as $40-50 for an 8×10).

A little history – the whole reason the big department stores began offering portrait services in the first place was to get you, the savvy consumer, in through their door so that you could spend more money with them in other departments.  Your “PORTRAITS” are considered the “loss leader”.  Your portraits that are meant to symbolize a once-in-a-lifetime stage in your child’s life are part of what a store considers a way to get you in there door to spend more money on goods that you might not really want or need but because you’re there “anyway” you buy.

Also keep in mind that when you go to a chain studio, as a consumer, you don’t have the benefit of 1:1 attention for 2 hours at your home where your pet is allowed to explore, play and be comfortable in their home environment, nor do you get the experience that many custom photographers are known for as well as the lovely captures of natural expressions.  You simply get a bare bones, “SAY CHEESE” experience.

REPUTATION/EXPERTISE of the PHOTOGRAPHER:  There is an old story about a ship that cost a company millions of dollars.  Something went wrong in the engine room and the ship was stuck in dock.  They called various “experts” who spent weeks trying to fix the issue to no avail and at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars.  Finally a older gentleman was called in who simply brought in his small tool bag and a hammer.  He set about pinging on various parts of the vast engine with his hammer, finally settling on one area.  He spent a few minutes pinging in that area, took out a few tools and fixed whatever what was wrong.  After a few moments the man straightened up, looked at the captain and instructed him to “start her up.”  The captain disbelievingly went to get the engines started while the man sat in the engine room listening as the engine roared to life.  The man tipped his hat as he exited the ship to the staff who sat dumbfounded because they had seen all the experts come on board for days with their expensive equipment only to have the ship not fixed.  This man did it in a few minutes with a few pings of his hammer!

Alicia Rius (me) on National TV in Spain.

Alicia Rius (me) on National TV in Spain.

A few days passed and the man sent the shipping company a bill for $10,000.  The accounting department contacted him immediately.  Why all the rumors mentioned that this man had only spent “a few minutes” fixing the ship “with his hammer and a few other random tools”.  When questioned about why his bill was for $10,000 – did he accidentally leave an extra zero on the bill?  The man confidently responded: “In fact the time was worth the $1,000.  The other $9,000 was for the years of experience and the ability to discern the issue as quickly as possible for the company.”

Now I’m not saying that photographers fix large ships but being in demand, being well known for quality work, having a good reputation often costs time on the photographer’s part (years of practice, study, experience, etc).  A photographer’s expertise comes at a cost, their time learning their craft and learning the intricacies of lighting and the commitment put forth on their end to create a persona about their business that oozes professionalism.  A great number of photographers go a very long time from the time that they purchase their first good camera to making money at the business of photography.  Many photographers, when first starting out, rush in thinking that the business will be easily profitable in no time, how expensive could it be to get a camera and use it to create their dream?  These photographers often undervalue what they do because they have the realization that they do not have experience or expertise but are very adept at pushing the shutter on the camera.  Many times these casual “professionals” neglect to factor in the cost of business, the cost of equipment, software, back ups, etc... When you hire a photographer of sound reputation, you are hiring an expert, one that knows that they must always reinvest in their business to create the reputation of being top notch.  To create good work a photographer possesses not only sound knowledge in the technical and creative aspects of photography but also good, reliable equipment and back up equipment.

The photographer who desires to be known as better/best/unparalelled reputation-wise knows that the most important thing they can do for their business is reliability and dependability.  This is how reputations get built.  Good work often is a wonderful side product of building that good reputation.

I hope this (lengthy) article helps shed some light on WHY a custom photographer is a better choice for your family’s memories.  The photographs that are produced as a result of the professionalism and dedication that your photographer has will be cherished for a lifetime (or more) and great thought and consideration should be placed into hiring who is right for your family’s most precious investment.

This article was written by Marianne Drenthe of Marmalade Photography and can be found at the Professional Child Photography.


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Outdoor pet photography vs Indoor pet photography, what's best?

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Outdoor pet photography vs Indoor pet photography, what's best?

Welcome to Frame Your Pet's blog. 

My name is Alicia Rius. I am an artist, a fine arts pet photographer, and an animal lover. I moved to San Francisco one year ago and started my local business here in the Mission District. My style in pet photography is different from the traditional pet portraits you might have seen.

I only work with natural light, whether it be for outdoor pet photography or indoor pet photography. Most of my clients come to me to capture their pet's personality, and there is no better place to do this than in a pet’s natural environment. Although my Fine Art Sessions have the studio look, 95% of them are done indoors and with natural light. For indoor pet photography, the pet is not forced to stay in the same spot or to stay quiet in a certain pose. I follow the dog or cat wherever they go and I wait for the right moment to capture that unique moment. Approaching pet photography from this angle eliminates stress for the pet and results in more natural photographs, which are a truer representation of your pet.

My background as an artist and my skills in post-production allow me to create unique photos that are modern, elegant, and dynamic.

As you can imagine, this shot was done outdoors. It would have been impossible to have a white horse running in a studio :)

As you can imagine, this shot was done outdoors. It would have been impossible to have a white horse running in a studio :)

To see more of my equestrian photography portfolio, visit this gallery.

Bonz (the black Bullmastiff in the back howling) & Bosch (the brown Doberman chilling on the shore)

Bonz (the black Bullmastiff in the back howling) & Bosch (the brown Doberman chilling on the shore)

Doing sessions outdoors is great for both animals and their owners. It's a fun experience that allows everyone involved to play around, and this is just as important as capturing great images.

 

I'm often asked which is better, indoor pet photography or outdoor pet photography? Well, as long as the house has an abundance of natural light, then indoors can be just as good as outdoors. It comes down to personal preference and the personality of your pet. Cats, for example, feel more comfortable indoors. Their home is their natural environment and is where they feel calm. Relaxed felines are the ones who will give you the best shoots because they are not stressed out by their surroundings or the photographer’s presence, but instead, feel as if nothing has changed, and they will do what they always do.

 

Boris is a Siberian cat. Initially he was shy, but after 10 minutes of me being there, he got used to me and my camera and he had no problem going back to his usual routine.

Boris is a Siberian cat. Initially he was shy, but after 10 minutes of me being there, he got used to me and my camera and he had no problem going back to his usual routine.

Check out this gallery to see some more cute kitties playing around.

In most of my dog photography sessions, the sessions are split between outdoor and indoor because the goal is to have enough variety of photos to choose from.

For example, here is another photo from Bonz and Bosch taken inside their home. I didn't need much: just good light and a nice background (well, it always helps to have very well-mannered dogs!)

Bosch (brown Doberman on the left) and Bonz (black Bullmastiff on the right) during their indoor session. 

Bosch (brown Doberman on the left) and Bonz (black Bullmastiff on the right) during their indoor session. 

In cases where the natural light is not good enough, I adjust my camera settings to achieve the best result. In the picture above, it was late in the afternoon and the light coming in the gallery wasn't bright enough, so I had to increase my ISO to freeze the image (and I used some dog treats too; why lie?)

 

What about the Fine Art Sessions? Are they done outside or inside?

It all depends on the subject. For the horse, it was done in a field next to the breeder’s location in Spain. But in most cases, the Fine Art Sessions are taken inside. This is because in order to get the animal to pose in a certain way, I need him/her to be totally relaxed and distraction free.

Lluna is a 16 year old white persian cat. At her age, she needs a peaceful setting. 

Lluna is a 16 year old white persian cat. At her age, she needs a peaceful setting. 

Lluna's session approach was a bit different. Since her mom's house lacks an abundance of natural light, she brought the kitty to my hometown in Catalonia. At the beginning, she was a bit uncertain of what was going on, but with patience and a few tasty cat treats, she relaxed.

Although the photos look like studio photos, they are certainly not. I didn't use any studio material like flashes, strobes, or umbrellas. I followed Lluna’s lead and I was fast enough to get these amazing shots of her. Then, the rest is post-production (I mainly use Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CC).

 

In a nutshell, here are some benefits of having a pet photo shoot outdoors:

  • Action shots (running, fetching, jumping, catching a Frisbee, etc.)
  • Variety of shots (action shots, pose shots, portraits, dog interacting with other elements, etc.)
  • Variety of backgrounds (sky, ocean, forest, sand, grass, concrete, graffiti, etc.)
  • More combination of textures and colors
  • Easier to get inspired (just walk around your city and pay attention to all the little details)
  • Dynamic and funny pictures

 

Benefits of an indoor pet photo shoot:

  • More personal environment
  • Convenience
  • Less stressful (in the case of cats or shy pets)
  • Easier to get the Fine Art photos without having to go to a Studio
  • Easier to keep the pet still

 

The conclusion here is: It doesn't matter if it's indoor or outdoor as long as the natural light is good and the surroundings are clean and beautiful. What matters is that your pet can have fun with the session and the photographer is able to be creative with what is available.

If you are thinking of having an indoor or outdoor pet photography session, contact me for a free consultation. We can discuss which options are best for your pet, taking into account his/her age and unique personality. I promise you striking images!

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