A close up portrait of something that's not a cat!
“It’s not a cat!”


Today marks the first sessions for the “NILES SUP-PAW-TRAITS” fundraising.

Our home studio has had a menagerie of puppies, pussy-cats (and two that just are not cats!) and a petite person in from of the cameras today.

M is the primary photographer (Niles being her dog and this whole thing her idea) for the sessions whilst I shoot on the periphery. I tend to focus purely on the pet (or person) whist M goes for the entire image. Both playing to our respective strengths you could say. 15 minutes, whilst it may feel like a long time whilst being in front of our cameras, is NOT a long time when you are behind the camera. Plus it’s nice to provide the people who so generously came to Niles’s assistance with a range of shots.

Whilst I proudly announce I will photograph anything with a heartbeat, pet photography is not my first love. Animals, cute and adorable, are only slightly harder to control than most male adults. It really does come down to connection, concentration and fast reactions to grab the photograph right at the decisive moment.

What amuses me is I look for the same thing in an animal portrait as I do with any other portrait and I mentioned it first in my list above … Connection. Connection is what drives me to take portraits. All of my favourite photos have some form of it. I want the subject(s) to either connect with my camera or with each other.

My need to get the best image possible in under 15 minutes is why I focus closely on the “star” of the session whilst M works her magic running the whole session. M can be setting up an amazing group shot, often cajoling and manipulating uninterested animals (and humans), and in the meantime, I attract the attention of the small animal by slowly moving in and taking the sub-second chance to capture a portrait of an engaged pet like the one published today.

We make a good photographic team M and me. This is why I’m bringing her in on a family session I have next month. Family and friends are often harder to shoot as they never quite get into the right “client” headspace compared with strangers who are trusting you with their time and money. The longer they’ve known you, the harder the shoot is (for the photographer). Unrelated people will listen better, joke around less and usually receive better results because of it.

The best “friend” shoot I’ve ever had involved my best friends family. His wife put herself in front of my camera, looked me in the eye and said “Richard, I trust you. Tell me what to do and I will.” It still makes me smile and we got some fantastic results for the family.

It’s like any service really. you need to put your trust in the people you hire to do a good job. Give them that trust, listen to what they say, let them do their job and reap the rewards.

Wow, that post went a different way than I originally planned, but hey. That’s what I enjoy about the process. Sitting down and clickety-clacking away on the keyboard, letting whatever wants to come out do so.

Thanks to all those who have supported the fundraiser. Niles is healing very well according to the vet and he certainly would not be here today without the $4800 we raised towards his surgery. Now I need to do my own fundraiser for the Nikon Z9. $4800 is 44% of what I need!

Happy national Fairy Bread day. I feel a blog post purely on the delight which is fairy bread. Luckily today I had to take R to a kinder friends belated birthday party meaning I could celebrate the day properly. I was disappointed in the quality of the fairy bread but more on that in a later post.

And just to finish off, one of the clients today has a voice exactly like Roy Kent from Ted Lasso. I was seriously on the verge of fanboying! Talk about awkward. He even has a beard!




Facebook Group

If you are not a member already, please consider joining the Average Suburban Dad Blog Followers Facebook Group. I’m posting to the group whenever I publish a post. Start or join discussions on the photograph and/or content with others!  And maybe suggest a better name for the group.

Photo Information: 
Nikon D810
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 105mm 1:1.4E ED @ 105mm
1/320 | f/1.4 | ISO 400
Saturday November 13, 2021 @ 15:43
The Studio
Carrum Downs, Victoria, Australia


Similar Posts