This post is about a product photography session I did last year for treatyourdog.co.uk. It’s been a while since I posted any commercial work on here. I usually post my commercial work on my commercial photography website yourcommercialphotographer.com. Very occasionally there is a cross over to my social photography and that’s true here. I’ve become well known around Cheshire and North Wales for my pet portrait photography and when Hesther Hiley at treatyourdog.co.uk was looking for a photographer to shoot new photographs and digital assets for their new website, I was delighted to find that I had been recommended by several people she knew.
Pet portraits is a passion and I love it because it’s a challenge, the sessions can be unpredictable and it’s very rare that you can tell a dog to pose in a particular way. They have short attention spans, are easily distracted and want to do anything but sit for ages in front of the camera. But I know I’ll get the shots I want. I learned to be patient, to keep calm and to let things roll. Dogs can sense your mood and if you’re not in the right mood that can put them off.
As a photographer I have to be ready for everything before the dog comes in front of the camera. You need to be at eye level and that usually means sitting on the ground, or if they are very small, lying on the ground. The shoots are turned into games and we get great pictures. But that has taken over a decade of practice and a lot of research.
Heather and her team put in a huge amount of planning to make sure everything was ready on the day. One challenge was to get enough dogs of different sizes and breeds to represent what people expect to see. We had nine dogs work with us on the day and around forty products to photograph including jackets, coats, harnesses and beds.
When people think about product photography they usually think about pictures of products on backgrounds and we did some white background shots of the products for part of the website. But the goal here was to show off the the jackets and coats in use, being worn, just in the same way they would be if we were doing a clothing shoot for a human apparel brand.
The big difference with this session and pet portrait sessions is that the object is to show off the clothes rather than the model. That means a different approach, different camera settings, slightly different gear but you still need to get down low.
It was a full on day and a lot of fun. Heather was delighted with the photographs we produced and she had a big selection of digital assets to use for her marketing activities in the coming year, her website, print and social media.