This past weekend I was in Hershey, PA at Great Escape Publishing’s first-ever pet photography workshop. I was there as an instructor. (I spoke to the group about setting up an easy, low-budget website that would allow them to take orders online. And I also did a presentation on breaking into stock photography with pictures of pets). But I was also an attendee.
When I read about this workshop in Great Escape Publishing’s newsletter, I begged Lori to find a seat for me. Not because I wanted to teach. But because I wanted to learn. And learn I did.
We had a great time. And if laughter is good medicine, we should all be healthy for years to come. Ren Netherland, our key presenter, kept us in stitches. I heard one of the attendees say his sides hurt from laughing so much.
Ren was not only our resident comedian, but he was also a fount of information. Here’s a tip he gave for photographing pets that I use all the time when I’m photographing people (my specialty):
Photograph pets (and people) “on the 45.”
What that means is that people and pets are more flattering in a photograph when they’re positioned at a 45-degree angle to the camera rather than straight on.
With people, I tell my subject to point her toes, hips, and sometimes shoulders at something off in the distance that is at that 45-degree angle and then bring her nose back toward me (the camera).
With pets it’s basically the same concept, except pets don’t follow directions quite as well as people do. (Though some are, I noticed, actually easier to work with.)
If you can get your dog or cat to sit still, either put it at a 45-degree angle or move yourself just a little to the side until you’re at the 45-degree angle to the animal. If you’re photographing a male dog, this is particularly important as the 45-degree angle will help hide their… well, their “equipment.”
Ren was full of tricks and tactics to get a dog to look at the camera — including one that involves a potato chip bag. I was so eager to learn, I arrived a few days early to pick his brain. After all, photographing pets is in some ways the same as photographing people. But in other ways it’s very different.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]