Homer and Baby

Yesterday, (3/8) I photographed some of my boyfriend’s coworker’s dogs. Since the dogs’ owner was out of town for a military training program in Maryland, I had my boyfriend, Andrew help me wrangle the dogs during the shoot. I really appreciate his help, but Andrew has much less patience with animals than I do, (but he has far more patience with people than I do, so I guess we supplement each other).

It was a very difficult shoot to do. Homer, the pit bull mix and Baby, the toothless wiener dog weren’t as obedient as they normally are around their owner. Dogs generally don’t take direction from strangers well, and that became painfully apparent after only a few minutes. I think I have most of my shoots done for mid-program, so it wasn’t a crisis that this one didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped. I guess it will be a fallback plan if all else fails. I also think it’s nice to get in the studio and do some shooting so that I can always hone my skills and learn something new from every shoot.

Here’s the link to the full set of proofs on my flickr: LINK

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

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Where’s Woodstock?

This Thursday I was very lucky to find someone to come fill my studio time. Laura Phillips, (the owner of the Saint Bernard and Chihuahua that I photographed earlier,) referred a friend to me. I had never met the dog or its owners, so I wasn’t really sure what I was in for. All I knew was Laura told me they’d be meeting me at 4 with a large beagle. When I headed in to my studio time 20 minutes early, I met Carrie and Snoopy. Snoopy was a VERY large beagle mix, who believed everyone was his friend. Snoopy was very sweet, but was a little difficult at times as there were other people shooting in the studio and he believed he needed to go make friends with them.

All things considered I got a few good shots. I went with a light, almost pastel yellow background and threw a grid spot over a flash to light it. Without the extra light it turned up a dirty grey-yellow. It was the only color of seamless paper left that I hadn’t tried. I wish the school had ordered red, green, purple, etc instead of 50 rolls of black and 50 rolls of white, ( but I guess most people prefer sleek, elegant high-key or low-key portraits instead of wild and crazy colors. I just think doing a black or white background doesn’t really fit when you have a dog with a humorous expression–I feel the color helps convey the comedy.)

As always, check out my flickr for all the proofs by clicking: HERE!

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

Thanks again to Laura Phillips and her friends, Drew and Carrie for all their help with this shoot!

Curse of the Orange

After my last shoot’s disaster trying to find a bright background and coming up with only horribly disfigured reams of seamless paper, I did some searching to find a roll in good condition. I found a roll of red paper in the portrait studio, and after getting permission, I brought it up to the commercial studio to photograph Charlene Champions two miniature schnauzers. Well, once I got it into the light I learned that it was orange. Not just any orange, however. I NASTY fluorescent orange. I’m pretty sure you can see this ugly color from space. I went into the prop closet to try and find a better color, but my choices were black, white, grey, and the blue that I had already used for two other shoots. I was stuck with neon carrot for the day.

The shoot was tough. Apparently my work has been inspiring a couple of classmates to copy my ideas, and one of them came into the studio with a dog to try their had at what I do. They did not control their dog, so of course my models were all over the place, resulting in me not getting very many good images. All-in-all it’s a learning process to take one day at a time. Hopefully next time my immitators will be more courteous and respectful of the people who are already in the studio.

I am still having issues uploading photos here, so you’ll have to check out the work on my flickr.

Click HERE for flickr Slideshow of this shoot

All Creatures Great and Small

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

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

The Hair of the Dog

I tried my hand at photographing a puppy solo today. Normally I have the owner or a friend assist me during the shoot. This is pretty essential as it’s EXTREMELY difficult to keep a puppy from running off set, move the lighting, take the photos, make strange noises to get the dog’s attention, etc, all at the same time. Today, however, I decided that 21 years-old is as good of age as any to have an aneurism.

I have been working with puppies recently, and I seem to keep forgetting the fundamental fact that their attention span can be measured in milliseconds. I spend so much time with Stoli that I make the rudimentary mistake of assuming all puppies younger than him automatically know all the basic commands and won’t be totally freaked out by coming to a new environment to photograph. It makes me realize how much I take Stoli’s obedience for granted. He knows come, sit, stay, lay down, up, jump, shake, outside, inside, car, fetch, etc. So when I am faced with an 18-week old puppy, I feel out of my element again as I am back to square one of pure, raw puppy energy. Surprisingly, I have much more patience for animals than I do with people, so I am able to keep a level head while problem-solving a way to get the shot. The puppy I worked with today is our friend’s 5 month tri-colored corgi puppy, Rajah. I’ve come to decide that all corgis seem to have that fun-loving, goofy, class clown personality.

Anyway, it was quite the experience. I think that I’ll stick with having an assistant from now on. I’m glad I tried to, so I can now fully justify needing someone around to help manage the chaos.

As always, you can see ALL of the proofs from this session by visiting my Flickr Page. It takes vastly longer to load each photo into the blog, that’s why I usually only put my personal favorites in my posts. (That’s not to say that only the good ones make it here.) There are many that don’t make it to the blog just because of time and space restrictions. That being said, mosey on over and check out the slideshow! Click Here for the link to Flickr

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

Frankie’s Debut

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Frankie Champion.

Frankie is the miniature schnauzer puppy my friends Charlene and Chester Champion adopted back in December. I decided he would be my next photographing victim, because let’s be honest–who doesn’t love a good puppy or two?

Anyway, mid-program is breathing down my neck, so I needed to get into the studio and do a little shooting. I originally had this shoot scheduled for a week ago, but UCM cancelled 3 days of classes, so that put a damper on things. The studio schedule is ridiculous right now. Basically everyone in the program is scrambling around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to get studio time. Today was the only time in 2 weeks that was available, so I took the opportunity.

When I got to the studio I expected Frankie to be as good of a model as Stoli. I made the mistake of assuming a 5 month old puppy would have the same attention span as my 9-month old corgi. BIG MISTAKE. Frankie was highly distractible and really didn’t want to have anything to do with the studio. Luckily I had my boyfriend to help me for the first half until Charlene could get in and take over. I played around with a couple different backgrounds and ideas. I have always been partial to low-key photos with sleek, pure black backgrounds w/ little detail to distract you from the subject. However, today in one of my classes, my professor warned me against doing it on anything for the jurried panel of doom that I have to face in a few short weeks. In the end though, I was able to get a few possible shots that I could use for mid-program anyway.

As always, this is just a small sampling of the shoot. You can see more proofs by visiting my Flickr slideshow by clicking HERE, and I would highly recommend it.

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

 

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011