I had another chance to do some studio animal portraits yesterday, and I was really excited as these were the first dogs that were older than eight months and weren’t bouncing off the walls with an insane amount of puppy energy. However, this shoot was much different than the other for more than one reason. I had only photographed one animal at a time at all shoots previous to this one, so doing two at once, seemed a bit more challenging. To make the photo shoot more interesting, the two dogs I was shooting at the same time happened to be a Chihuahua and a St. Bernard. I couldn’t think of two more opposite breeds! The photo shoot went well though.
I had a few technical problems in the beginning. For those readers who aren’t as photographically savvy, I’ll try to simplify the best I can. For most of the shoots I use a roll of seamless paper hung about 7 feet high of a bar. The seamless paper is just as it sounds. A giant roll of paper, probably 12 foot (or so,) wide and you unroll what you need to go across the floor and cover the background. (Think giant, colorful roll of expensive toilet paper, haha). After consulting with some professors, we decided that to get the effect I want with these images, it was best to choose bright, vibrant colors to bring out the humor in the photographs. I had done my last two shoots on dark blue paper, so I thought that a bright red would be best for the St. Bernard and Chihuahua. I drug out the paper and started hanging it (which is a laborious, time consuming ordeal when done without help, at least for me it is.) I got it up only to discover that whoever last used it had totally trashed it. It was absolutely not usable. They had cut about 20 feet off the roll so all that was left was about 8 foot of tattered, torn, dirty paper. I then decided go for a gold paper. I put it on the metal bar that suspends it overhead. Once it was hung up, however, the whole thing unraveled into a mess on the ground. Whoever used it last had removed the cardboard tube that each roll is attached to that secures it in place, which makes hanging it up possible to start with. I tried to get the roll back in order and hung up, but soon discovered that it was very tattered too, and someone had patched up some of the holes using band-aids. (Classy AND stylish.) There were no other colors available, so I figured that I’d go with the gold. Overall, after looking at the photos from the shoot, I realized that I’m not the biggest fan of the color.
Laura Phillips, a classmate of mine, brought in her two dogs, and we got to shooting. The Chihuahua, named Pickles, was such a cuddly dog. He didn’t want to be more than a few inches away from anyone. He kept crawling into my lap as I was trying to shoot him. He looks a little scared in the photos, but he was just as happy as could be.
Then there was Buzz, the Saint Bernard. I totally underestimated how big he was! It’s not easy maneuvering a dog much bigger than me in such a small space. When he laid down he took up more space than the paper was wide, so I was only able to get close ups of him by himself.
Together the dogs seemed to play off each other. I was surprised two such different dogs got along so well. I love the humor in the photos. I feel like some of them could be used for caption contests, because the expressions are so priceless. Anyway, I’d love to post a few of the proofs like a normally do, but WordPress (the website that hosts my blog,) is saying “no”. I’ve uploaded a limit for my account apparently. They want me to pay extra money to get more photos…being that I’m poor, I’m not sure that’s going to happen, so you’ll have to visit my flickr page to get the images.
Flickr Slideshow of This Shoot
© Holly Hildreth 2011
© Holly Hildreth 2011