At the End of Things

Well folks, I have four days remaining of my internship. I can not believe the time has flown this fast. I have been busy shooting recently. This past week I photographed a bakery, a farm, and everyone’s favorite dog. Each came with its own set of challenges.

With the bakery, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t in anyone’s way, (after all, they were kind enough to let me come take some photos, I didn’t want to be a pain!) I am most definitely NOT a food photographer, so it was challenging trying to make still life images interesting. I am used to working with much more dynamic subjects. In the end, though, I feel like I at least got a couple good, useable images from the shoot.

My mouth was perpetually watering the whole time I was shooting

 

 

Cake decorating is the only part of the baking process which I think I might not be absolutely horrid at, but I still think I will leave it to the professionals.

 

 

 

Next we had a request for some farm animal pictures. I was able to find a farm-education center near Columbus that was happy to have us. Now, growing up in a small town in Northeast Iowa, everyone figures I know a thing or two about farms. This photoshoot, however, proved that that most certainly isn’t the case. One of the first things I photographed was a chicken coop. I was inside the coop with about 50 chickens when suddenly they all started pecking me. I was semi freaked out by this so I started running, and the demon chickens followed after me. I had no idea that I had a fear of chickens until that day. Regardless, I did get a couple nice images of the farm.

Cats drinking fresh goat’s milk

 

 

Has anyone else noticed how scary goats’ eyes are?

 

Ram in B/W

 

They look all innocent frolicking about in meadows, but we all know the truth…

 

 

After these fun shoots, I decided it was time to get Stoli into the studio. Stoli wasn’t as cooperative as normal. It has been almost four months since his last studio debut, and I think he is quite out of practice. I kept the shoot short since he wasn’t too keen on being in front of the camera this time.

HAHA! SCIENCE!

 

Mahatma Stoli

 

Like I said, my internship is drawing to a close, and I have no idea what will be next for me. I will let you know whatever/wherever I head next.

Images © Holly Hildreth / McGraw-Hill Companies 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Macy

I was recently contacted by a fellow photography student about photographing her roommate’s dog. I agreed, as I am always looking for new models. I had no idea what kind of dog I would be shooting this week, so I wasn’t sure what all to bring and how to prepare. Luckily, Macy, the dog in question, was a natural.

Macy is a (shepherd?) mix adopted from Wayside Waifs. She is 16 months old and loves people. Macy has a lot of energy and was easy to photograph. Dogs with a lot of personality usually yield better results than ones who tend to just lay still and fall asleep. I’ve seen all types of dogs in the studio and one question I always get from owners is, “was my dog bad?” I  find it funny when puppy parents think their dog was bad, when in reality, they are just being a dog, and I got awesome shots. Sometimes it takes a rowdy dog to get a dynamic image. I work with all types and know the tricks to getting them comfortable around the camera. I’ve photographed 8 week old puppies to 15 year old senior dogs, so there really are no surprises left. Macy had typical adolescent/puppy behavior, but she was very sweet and was eager to please, so of course she wasn’t “bad”!

Here are a few of my favorite images from the shoot. Like always, check my flickr for the full set: HERE

Macy © Holly Hildreth 2012

Macy © Holly Hildreth 2012

Macy © Holly Hildreth 2012

Macy © Holly Hildreth 2012

Macy © Holly Hildreth 2012

Macy © Holly Hildreth 2012

Macy © Holly Hildreth 2012

Macy © Holly Hildreth 2012

All Images © Holly Hildreth 2012 | http://www.hhildrethphoto.wordpress.com

Fatz Meow

Going through my portfolio photography class this semester, I have come to the conclusion that I need to expand my shooting away from just dogs. I decided to ask a photo friend to help me out. Tara was a graduate student at UCM in the photography department. She graduated this December, but is still in Warrensburg, so I asked her to bring in her cat, Bonnie. Bonnie (aka “Fatz Meow,) is a 16-year old Maine Coon/calico mix.

I grew up with cats my whole life, so I was nervous about bringing one into the studio. Whenever we’d take our cats anywhere, they’d run away and hide. Not Bonnie. Tara walked into the studio carrying her, and she seemed chilled and relaxed like it was no big deal. I set up a table top with black plexiglass, and Bonnie immediately flopped down and made herself at home on it.

I soon learned that photographing cats is much harder than dogs. Dogs are constantly on the go, bursting with energy, which makes it easy to capture dynamic and humorous images. Cats, however, do what they want, when they want. Bonnie was displeased whenever we made her be upright for more than 30 seconds. She just wanted to laze around on the table. I think it’s much easier to create serious, dramatic portraits with cats, but it’s not so easy to get images that make the viewer laugh.

I also had to revamp my approach to photographing cats. With dogs, if you make an odd, high-pitched noise, they instantly grant you their attention. Cats, however, could care less that you’re making a fool of yourself by squealing at them. Also, dogs will do ANYTHING for peanut butter. Tara brought in tuna for Bonnie, which she liked, but she still wouldn’t really do anything other than sit still, looking pretty for it. It’s a different world with cats, but I still really enjoyed the photo shoot. I always like to challenge myself by trying new things. You never know what you could end up with.

The whole set can be viewed on my Flickr page: HERE

© Holly Hildreth 2012

© Holly Hildreth 2012

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© Holly Hildreth 2012

All Images © Holly Hildreth 2012 | hhildrethphoto.wordpress.com

Stoli’s January Debut, Part II

Every Thursday this semester is a free day for me. It’s the one day a week where I don’t have any classes, and so far, I have made it one of the most productive days of the week. Today I decided to have Stoli in the studio again. I am trying to beef up my portfolio and make more potential winning Hallmark card images.
Last week during his shoot, I discovered Stoli will not move if there’s something secured to his head. I used this newly found wisdom to my advantage.

I came away with a LOT of cute and funny images, but I am only going to post a few here. In order to see them all (which I highly recommend,) you’ll have to visit my flickr page HERE.

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

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All Images © Holly Hildreth 2012 | hhildrethphoto.wordpress.com

Stoli January Debut

The semester started back up on 1/9/12, and as a result, the photo lab and studios finally opened up this week. Since it’s only the 2nd week of classes, not many people are signed up to use the studios. I don’t have any classes on Thursdays, so I took advantage of the situation and decided to go into the studio for a fun shoot with Stoli. I didn’t have anything particular in mind when I went in. Mostly, I just wanted to get back into the swing of things and get myself used to shooting in the studio again.
During the shoot, I felt like nothing was going right. I tried a new lighting setup and used higher powered strobes, and Stoli was not having it. I’m not sure if he was scared of the new lights or if they were too bright for him, but he would not cooperate. I was pleasantly surprised, however, when I came home and started reviewing images to find that there were a lot of ones that turned out rather well. I have around 50 good proofs of him from this shoot, and it’s incredibly hard for me to narrow it down to just a few to post to my blog, so if you get a chance, visit the whole set on my flickr page  HERE.

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

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© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

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© Holly Hildreth 2012

He does NOT look happy!

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

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© Holly Hildreth 2012

Stoli is the World's most interesting corgi

 

© Holly Hildreth 2012

 

All Images are © Holly Hildreth 2012 | hhildrethphoto.wordpress.com

Stella, The Italian Greyhound

I have been trying to work on my dog series when I have a bit of free time, (which isn’t often,) but I was lucky to have a friend from the photo program bring her Italian Greyhound puppy into the studio this afternoon for me to photograph. Stella is a 4-month old show dog puppy from Nebraska.

Normally with my dog work I use bright backgrounds and the same basic lighting setup. Stella seemed so much more elegant and graceful than all the other dogs that I had in the studio, so it seemed like a bright background would not be as effective as a dramatic one would be. I decided to go a different direction and instead of highlighting the funny moments like I normally do, I tried to go more fine art with this shoot. I have always been inspired by Tim Flach’s work, so I tried my hand at his type of styling. ( Tim Flach’s Website)

It’s a bit different from what I normally do, but of course I still have the fun photos in there.

This is a small sampling of the shoot, check out all the proofs by visiting my Flickr page: HERE

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

Trying out my new watermark/Logo in the corner on this one

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

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© Holly Hildreth 2011

 All Images are copyrighted material | © Holly Hildreth 2011

Stoli’s First Spring

It’s that time of year again, the flowers are blooming, the birds are singing starting at 4 a.m, and the college students are cramming for finals. Spring is undoubtedly my favorite season. Mild temperatures, longer daylight hours, and great scenery are wonderful incentives to get off the computer or get out of the photo lab and head outdoors to enjoy the season.

Stoli was born May 31st, 2010. By the time he was old enough to go outside, it was already the end of June and we were into the 100-degree Missouri heat, so he didn’t really get to experience Spring firsthand. This year I made sure to take him out and let him see what all the fuss was about. Stoli loves being outside when the temperatures are in the middle 70’s. He sits by the door waiting to be clipped to his lead so he can stay outside as long as he wants.

Perhaps Stoli’s favorite Spring activity is eating all the flowers. He’ll zoom around the year eating the fluffy, white tops off the dandelions. It’s nearly impossible to get a good picture of him next to any type of pretty foliage, because he instantly devours it before you can get the shot in.

As a stress-reliever for finals week, I found myself taking Stoli out for more walks to new places. We explored the woods at Cave Hollow Park, where he played in the stream and learned how to make me mad by frolicking through the mud. He’s on his second bath in 5 days and we’re still counting (and ironically, he HATES water).

Anyway, here are a few pictures of Stoli’s adventures this Spring. You can view the whole collection on my Flickr page by clicking: Here

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

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April Update & Shoot with Max

I’d like to start by apologizing for going Awol for the last month. As you know, I had my mid-program assessment, which is THE most important event in a UCM photography student’s college career. I passed with all high marks, so that’s a load off my chest. After mid-program I took a job as a photographer at Picture Me Portrait Studios in Wal-Mart. It’s been…interesting, to say the least. I’ve been there every night after classes and all day every day on the weekends training. It’s pretty much taken up all my free time, as now my schedule has me going to class from 9-3:30, work 4-7, shooting for school projects and other homework from 7pm-1am-ish, sleep from until 7:30am. Hopefully things will cool off once the end of the semester comes. The job is, like I said, interesting. I find myself constantly asking, “Did that really just happen!?” At least, (if I HAVE to find a silver lining,) it’s one of those jobs where you come home with a great story at the end of every day.

I finally got some studio time in to work on my dog portraits again. One of my professors, Jerry Schmidt, approached me after my mid-program assessment and asked me if I would be willing to photograph his wife and dog together in the studio. I was excited to have a new subject and jumped on the opportunity. I have been used to working with smaller dogs, as almost every dog that I shot for my portfolio was 30lbs and under. Max was a huge Golden Retriever, so I had to try and revamp my approach on shooting, as he took up most of the seamless paper. Here are a couple images from the shoot. I posted my favorite shots. I usually like the images that have humor, show emotion, or tell a story. As always, all are on my flickr site, which can be found: Here

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

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© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

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© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

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

 

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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

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© Holly Hildreth 2011

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