Last week at the studios we had the pleasure of Mal and his three border collies. What an experience this was about to be. We started the shoot with a chat about the process I was about to undertake, which was that the dogs were allowed to settle into the studio environment for around 20 minutes just by allowing them to have a drink from the dog bowls provided and to sniff around for all the new and unusual smells most dogs pick up in new spaces. Sam ( the black and white dog ) was the most difficult to photograph, due to his fear of being banged on one of his hind legs (see note below), and did not want to settle with the other two dogs, mainly Brett the larger of the three. So whilst Sam was sat in the corner of the studio alone I began the process of setting up the lighting and the platform we were about to have the dogs sit/lay on for some of the shots. Mal was looking to have a shot of each dog individually, one of the three together and of course one of him with all three, being the master of the pack ( this was the funny bit … Mal being a master of the three dogs; I got the impression Sam – the Top-Dog – was the leader of the pack )
The shoot took just over 2 hours – this is normal for most shoots here. We do not set any real time restrictions, it’s really down to the clients and their time available to complete the sittings.
We started with the capturing of Molly ( the youngest of the pack ) who, as it happens, is the easiest to have sit for the shots provided she was being fed the treats 😉 Next up was Brett ( the tan coloured one ) who again was cooperative in the sittings but not wanting to really look at the camera – he was more concerned with the treats that Mal had in his pocket. Whilst all this was happening with Molly and Brett, Sam was happily lying in the corner of the studio snoozing. Sam proved to be the most difficult to get to cooperate, the end result being we only managed to get one shot of Sam alone.
The final task to hand was to have all three dogs photographed together on the podium and then one final shot of Mal lording it up with the three border collies by his feet. This worked a treat, well it would have done but for Molly taking charge and finally resting in the lap of the master!
All in all the shoot was fun, tiring, but productive. I find this is often the case when photographing animals or even children for that matter. They need to be allowed to explore first and then give you their character.
Below are the images taken during the shoot. Images processed and ready for print will be posted later in the week.
Note: It turns out that in his early years Sam was hit by a car and was left with a broken bones in the back right leg, and during the healing process was often on the receiving end of Brett ( the gung-ho dog of the pack ) accidentally knocking that leg whenever they were around each other.