It was the Art Director of Golfdom Magazine who e-mailed about their 2019 "Underdogs of Turf" pet photography calendar. They had just selected their dog (Darby) for the calendar cover and needed a pet photographer to travel to the Westpark Golf Club in Leesburg, Virginia to photograph her.
Darby is the superintendent's dog, and he and his family were just so very excited that Darby had been chosen to grace this year's calendar. Enjoy some of the outtakes from our Leesburg pet photography session with Darby, as well as the finished calendar cover artwork!
Gabriela had found out about us through a previous client who owns a farm in Thurmont, MD, and for whom we had created horse photography & dog photography for her rescue animals last year. Gabriela and her husband had purchased their own farm in Middleburg, VA, and had rescued and welcomed their own group of farm animals, which included two pigs, three donkeys, and four horses (chickens to arrive shortly). They were preparing to launch a website for the rescue farm and contacted me about farm animal photography for their nine farm animals.
We had so much rain in May and June that we had to rescheduled their farm animal photography session several times. It wasn't enough to not have rain on the day of the session, but because of the mud around the barn, we needed several days of sunny weather for the ground to dry!
Arriving at the farm, we began with the pigs, and my first reaction to the two black & white pigs trotting quickly on their little legs was that they were awfully cute! Gabriela wanted pig portraits, donkey portraits, and horse photography of each individual animal, along with group portraits of each group of animals.
When I look back at the animal photography of the donkeys, some of the donkey portraits just make me laugh, especially the last one below, with the ears completely horizontal to the sides. And others simply make me say, wow, what a beautiful animal, like the first one below!
I have a similar reaction to the results of our horse photography. What beautiful animals! Standing atop a hill, surveying their kingdom or running through pasture, there's no denying the majesty and grace of these spirited horses.
During our time on the farm, an orange tabby cat made an appearance, and so we had the opportunity as well for a little cat photography - check out the portrait of the cat looking at the dog statue!
I must admit that pig & donkey portraits, and even horse photography and cat photography is not something that we do every day, but it makes for an exciting animal photography session and is something we look forward to that gives us fun and amazing stories and photographs with which to entertain and enthrall others. So enjoy this peek into the Radova rescue animal farm in Middleburg, Virginia!
The H's last professional photography session was 13 years ago when the H's were expecting their first daughter. They had never had a professional family photography session done, and it seemed like it was time. They lived on a horse farm in Barnesville, MD, and Mrs. H. wanted horse photography with her and the girls. "Stylized and fashionable with a classic Ralph Lauren look and serious expressions," was her vision for their family photography & horse photography session. Enjoy some of their favorite images below. Their canvas gallery wraps and custom framed portraits are currently under production, so check back here for photos of the final artwork!
Have you ever struggled with photographing your pet indoors at night? Did you try to use flash, only to find that your dog or cat looked like a deer in your headlights, with your pet unnaturally bright and the background unattractively dark?
If you ever take photography classes, advance far enough, and you're sure to learn about a photography technique called "dragging the shutter," that solves this problem. I most commonly use this technique when photographing wedding receptions, but it applies equally well to cat photography and other nighttime or indoor pet photography. Now, the key is, while it must be relatively dark, there must still be ambient background light (even if not very bright). If you're outside, and the background is truly pitch dark, then dragging the shutter won't help.
So the idea behind dragging the shutter is that you use your flash to properly exposure your subject in combination with a long shutter speed to let in enough of that ambient background light to properly expose the background. Since you're using longer exposures, this also allows you to capture more creative effects. For example, instead of trying to hold your camera still, you can rotate the camera or move it right to left or up and down. Your flash should light your subject and not the background, and because the flash duration is so short, your subject will be frozen (or mostly frozen) and in focus, whereas the stationary lights in the background will look like they're moving (aka light trails).
In the cat portrait of Tashie (above), we placed a flash in an octabox several feet to the left of the camera. To create some light in the background, we placed a mini, pre-lit evergreen tree just slightly behind Tashie and a large white, pre-lit Christmas tree further in the background. (Though I'm saying we "placed" these things around the cats, really, we placed them first, then did our best to lure Tashie into the scene. Tashie was quite the poser for this particular cat photography session.) Then, using a long(er) shutter speed of 1/6 second, during that 1/6 of a second, I moved the camera diagonally down to the right, then diagonally up to the right. And voila! Tashie's eyes are completely sharp, but instead of seeing stationary Christmas lights in the background, they look heart-shaped instead!
For Kita's pet portrait below, the technique was the same, however, I moved the camera in a different direction during the exposure.
The two images below employ a completely different technique called "multiple exposures." While multiple exposures can be done in camera (depending on the type of camera you have), this can be impractical when the scenes/subjects you wish to combine are in different states. So in the case of the pet photography below, I picked out two of my favorite cat portraits of Kita and Tashie, in addition to two forest scenes that I had created years ago - one from the Shenandoah Mountains in Virginia, and the other from the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. In Adobe Photoshop, I layered the images and used different blending modes to achieve the multiple exposures. What do you think?
Hooooraaaaaay! The 2017 "People Love Us On Yelp" award is out, and our photography studio is an award-winner for the second year running! Nothing warms our heart more than having the honor of creating gorgeous portrait photography of babies, families, couples, and individuals, and having amazing, wonderful clients who are nothing short of ravingly joyous about their experience with our photography studio. Thanks to each and every one of you who took a few moments from your busy schedule to share your thoughts online with others this past year!