Saturday, October 9, 2010

Halloween Wear for Our Four-Legged Friends

Midge models her Fire Chief uniform...

It comes complete with a handy axe...

Scrappy reluctantly models his giraffe costume...

Complete with tail...

Midge will happily wear this elephant costume as long as you feed her...

Mmmmmmm. Give me more of that peanut pie...

Scrappy the warlock chews on a rawhide snake...

And now for the story behind these costumes...

I've been busy all week renovating our tack room into a photography studio. I have a long list of items I need to take care of to get this business underway. This morning my husband was perusing local news websites and he saw that at 10 AM there was a grand opening of a dog park that included a dog show and dog races. He said, "That would be a great opportunity for you to get out and practice your pet photography."

I agreed. He drove me there and followed me around with my extra lenses and other equipment in a backpack. At first I started asking people if I could take their picture with their dogs, and then I'd get their email address, so that I could send them a link to a site once I uploaded them. However, more and more people and dogs were arriving and I couldn't keep up with all the pictures that needed to be taken, because I wanted to include everyone. So, I asked my husband if he could take down the email addresses while I moved on to photographing the next group.

My husband noticed that the dogs were just too excited about all the other dogs in order to focus and look at the camera, so he went to the car and got a squeaky toy out of my other backpack. He made a great assistant for me, and also made me realize that I'm probably going to have to hire a real assistant once the business gets underway. It was just insane with dogs running everywhere. I'd crouch down to take a picture of one dog and another dog would jump on top of me.

All of these dogs were so wonderful that I wished I could have taken every one of them home. I discovered that I like dog people too. Everyone was so friendly and cooperative. They had a number of activities such as a dog and owner look-alike contest, a costume contest, a best trick contest, a cutest dog contest, and dog races. They had so many different breeds I've never seen in person before, including an Italian Greyhound, a Great Dane, and a Pomeranian, but by far the Corgis and Dachshunds dominated the scene.

Anyway, when all was said and done, I captured over 500 crazy pictures. Unfortunately, many had to be deleted due to too many dogs sniffing each others butts. There was a dog groomer giving free nail trims which made me kind of wish I didn't have my hands full with the camera and could have brought our dogs.

I stopped at a table that our local dog shelter volunteer organization had set up to ask if they needed some help photographing the animals in the shelter. They said they do need help and they were just talking about how all the volunteers are retirees, and they really need to get some younger helpers in to handle some of the tasks that take some strength.

They were collecting donations and practically giving these dog costumes away for just one dollar a piece. I need costumes for my pet photography business, so that was a huge stroke of luck. Of course, we paid them more than what they were asking since it goes to a good cause.

I'm planning on sending out the link to the photos once I get them processed and uploaded, and I'll probably offer some kind of discount for a photography session under "controlled" circumstances. Now I've got to get back to work on that studio before someone actually books an appointment.

10 comments:

fernvalley01 said...

What a great start! Sounds like your hubby is a really good guy ,too bad you can't just keep him as you r assistant. the costumes are adorable

Mikey said...

What a great deal! I laughed so hard at these pictures! The expressions are fantastic!!
I think this is your calling :)

Katharine Swan said...

Midge looks so happy in the first picture! LOL!

There is a great dog photographer in Canada whose blog, 3 Woofs & a Woo, I follow. She would probably have tips for getting dogs to pose and such without an assistant, as she wrangles 5 or 6 dogs (hers plus a foster dog or two, usually) on a regular basis AND gets great photographs. She has a whole series of photographs where she lines all her dogs up in a row and takes their picture -- like this one. I think she's magic, but she can probably give you some good tips for that kind of thing. ;o)

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I meant to mention that these photos were just the result of me chasing the dogs around the house and getting whatever I can get with my point and shoot camera. Once my studio is done, I'll have clean backgrounds and props and proper lighting, and I'll be using my pro level camera. I just got done processing all the dog show pictures and I had to crop a lot of legs and orange cones out of each shot. In a professional setting you don't have all those distractions. I think the toughest part about shooting action at an event is that everything has to come together. For instance there were several occasions when a dog gave me a perfect pose and expression, only to have his face end up in the shadow on his handler's leg. Ugh. Working around all those shadows was really tough.

Jeni said...

Great Start NuzzMuzz !! Those costumes are cute cute cute! And I like the idea of photography for the local rescue / shelter. That will get you practice and maybe in exchange they will let you advertise at their location.

Dogs are difficult to photograph too. Believe me I have 1000's from dog shows and there is always something I don't like.

That maybe something else. Every professional photo I've purchased from dog shows (like the Best in Shows, etc) There was something I didn't like. The dog is perfect but the handler is not, the handler is perfect but the dog's legs are wonky or bad flash reflection in the eye. I'd LOVE for a good photographer that has the patients to get when both are "ok".

Cheryl Ann said...

Oh, what a fun day! And, it sounds like you made some good connections, too!

Crystal said...

What a great oppertunity for practicing! and such cute costumes too.

Dreaming said...

I love that your hubby stepped right up to the plate to help you with the pictures. He sounds like a great guy. What a great way to get started and to get your name out and about!
I love the costumes....Midge is a hoot!

achieve1dream said...

Awww soooo cute!!!! Great pictures!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Photographing dogs is tough and challenging. You can take a hundred and only a couple will be perfect enough to feel proud to show anyone. I admire you for taking on the task and I know you have the skills and patience to do it, too. You've already proven that with the excellent photos of Scrappy and Midge your recently took in yor pre-studio.
Candid shots can be challenging at times, but I think that portrait photography is even more challenging due to the lighting situations and making the poses and bodies look natural.

The pet show sounded like a fun event, and such a great deal in getting those costumes and helping the animal shelter in the process, too.

~Lisa