Photographing Your Sense of Humor with Joe McNally Do you file away fun photo shoot ideas in your head? Join Joe McNally on location at Weeki Wachee Springs where he gets to finally realize a fantastic photo shoot idea heâ€™s had in mind for a long time. In true Joe McNally fashion he pulls out all the stops to ensure he has the lighting, the crew, and the location to pull off his vision. From preparations the day before to the early morning arrival time, and through the end of the shoot, Joe talks through his concept, the setup, and all of the problems that need to be solved to pull off the one frame heâ€™s trying to create. Putting everything underwater leaves no room for error and lotâ€™s of obstacles to overcome, and you get a front row seat. Mastering The Family Outing…
Photo by Sam Haddix
Hi! Iâ€™m Kaylee. And Iâ€™m going to tell you something that will knock your socks right off. Ready?
I love dogs.
And oh my gosh, I wish I could say this in a sort of casual, non-chalant, “Yeah I think dogs are pretty cool, no big deal,” sort of way. But you guys… I mean it. I mean like, in a totally and completely bonafide ‘crazy dog lady’ kind of way.
So, itâ€™s kind of embarrassing when I walk down the street and audibly and uncontrollably squeal with delight over every little wiggling, passing pup I see. My friends actually try and deter me from the path of an oncoming dog as we walk down the sidewalk – for fear that weâ€™ll get stuck in a 25 minute interaction that includes me excessively ogling, squishing and kissing a strange dog with a sometimes slightly terrified owner looking on.
The truth is, I find more beauty, purity and joy inside the iris of a happy dog than I do anywhere else in the world. When all else seems to fail me – I find solace in the smile of a dog. Dogs have this perfect ability to live simply – to live in the moment. And that just fascinates me.
Luckily for me, I was blessed enough to be able to turn my copious amounts of â€˜dog crazyâ€™ into passion – and that passion into a profession.
Yup, you heard it here folks – I am a professional dog photographer.
I know, I know. â€˜A WHAT?â€™ (accompanied by a cocked head, big eyes and sometimes a giggle at my expense; this is the typical response I get when people first discover my job title.) A professional dog photographer. Iâ€™m wildly humbled and grateful to say that Iâ€™ve turned that passion into a very busy reality that has me booked almost one full year ahead with both private and commercial shoots. Who wouldâ€™ve thought that could even be within theÂ scope ofÂ reality for someone who only photographs dogs?! Good gravy! Sometimes I have to pinch myself. I wake up every day and smile. I smile because life is so silly and full of wonder. I smile because Im living my real live dream. And that dream is called Dog Breath Photography.
If you told my five-year-old self what my profession would one day turn out to be – I think her head would have actually popped off with joy. If you hang on just a sec, I think I can hear her squeals of delight from all the way back in 1990. Holy banana sandwiches.
So, after being invited to write this guest post on Scottâ€™s blog (but not before I finished the elaborate robot dance of joy that I executed quite fabulously all alone in my studio with my dog looking on judging me harshly), I thought how wonderful it would be to share some of my best tips and tricks. The little golden nuggets of wisdom that Iâ€™ve felt blessed to have learned over the past 5 years of my dog photography adventures. While getting great photos of your clientâ€™s or your own pets sometimes feels impossible â€” I can assure you with the utmost conviction – itâ€™s not.
Iâ€™ve got some stuff up my sleeve that you just might find helpful – especially when youâ€™ve got Rufus set up for the most perfect shot, arranged meticulously in the gorgeous, golden afternoon lightâ€” and he suddenly runs off in the direction of that squirrel for the 45th time. (Let me tell you now, as much as you try to reason with them, dogs just donâ€™t appreciate the nuances of really good light.)
So, letâ€™s dive into some content that will help you get amazing shots of your pets, that will create the illusion that youâ€™re working with a perfectly trained dog every time.
As we all know, your average dog is anything but stagnant. No, he moves. And when I say â€˜he moves,â€™ I mean like, 65mph moves. Like with more quickness and speed than the fastest, angriest ostrich on the savannah.
And not only does he move – but he drools. He barks. He chases his tail in endless circles. He has the attention span of a gnat.
But most significantly, he speaks an entirely different language than you and I. I know what youâ€™re thinking. Not the easiest subject for a photograph, right? Precisely.
Some of the first things that people ask me when they see my images are:
â€˜How do you get all these dogs to pose so perfectly for you like that?â€™ â€˜Do these dogs just sit there, hold exactly still and smile for you?!â€™ â€˜Are these magic dogs from a magical land?â€™
The answer to that last question is an enthusiastic â€˜no.’ While Iâ€™ve had a few dreams aboutÂ this (these elusive, magical, still dogs), I photograph regular dogs. Real dogs. The dogs you see walking down the street every day. The dogs that fly through the dog park at about a gazillion miles an hour. The naughty dogs that dig holes in their ownerâ€™s tulip gardens and bury bones in their backyards. Dogs that sniff other dogsâ€™ butts. Dogs that lie on their familyâ€™s couches and fart.
You know, those kinds of dogs.
In addition to working with lots of regular family dogsâ€” I also volunteer my time to busy, overburdened animal shelters – photographing homeless and abandoned animals who are waiting for a new family to adopt them. Some of these shelter dogs can be rife with a whole different set of behavioral and emotional issues due to the transitionary states of their lives – fearfulness, abandonment, aggression, loneliness, confusion. Even with these sweet, sweet lost souls who lack the stability of a home and family to call their own – with enough knowledge, kindness of heart and patience â€” you can get a winning image.
You wouldnâ€™t travel to a foreign country and expect them to speak your language right? The same thing goes for dogs. Donâ€™t enter a dogâ€™s world and expect them to speak your language â€” you need to speak theirs.
Dogs talk through their eyes. Their ears. Their tails. Their body posture. Dogs talk with sounds – growls, whines, barks – you name it. If you want to understand the language of a dog – you need to immerse yourself in their world. Be quiet and listen. Once you spend enough time with a dog youâ€™ll learn about what most motivates them. Youâ€™ll find that canines tend to go totally gaga over one or more of the following things:
- TREATS (because, you know…yum!)
- PEANUT BUTTER (this stuff is most dogsâ€™ kryptonite, I’m serious! For dogs that canâ€™t have peanut butter, cream cheese or canned pumpkin will also work just fine.)
- TOYS (ask me how many Barbie dolls I had when I was 9…I totally get this one.)
- SOUNDS (things that go squeak! The most successful way to evoke the elusive and highly coveted â€˜head tilt.â€™ And a great way to get the mouth closed and ears pricked up at attention.)
- PRAISE (dogs LOVE praise. â€˜HEY DOG! YOU ARE AWESOME!!â€™)
- THEIR OWNERS (oh HELLO my humans! I want to love you forever and ever and ever and ever ::slobbery kisses::)
Hope you had a really relaxing Memorial Day weekend. I had a lot of fun going back and doing something this weekend I've wanted to do for a while, and that is to go back to some of my original files, and reprocess them from scratch to make new versions that: (a) Reflect what I like today, as my tastes on post-processing have changed (b) Let me use the latest tools and plug-ins (c)Â Let me experiment more than I had the time to do, probably because I was on a tight deadline ...and I'm delighted with the results. Above:Â Here's the one I did back in 2012 â€” note the HDR look, blue table clothes, overall glow, etc.Â Above: Here's the reprocess I did this weekend, using Lightroom CC's built-in HDR feature. No glows. No HDR look. It looks liked the place looked.Â You might…
Today isÂ Memorial DayÂ in the United States, and our offices are closed as we honor and remember those who gave their lives in service to our country. This post is dedicated each year to the memory ofÂ David Leimbach,Â (shown above; the brother of our friend and colleagueÂ Jeff Leimbach), who died seven years ago in combat in Afghanistan. Just a humble word of thanks to the dedicated men and women of our armed services and to all those who came before them who laid down their lives to protect the freedoms we enjoy each day. Here's wishing you all a safe, happy and healthy Memorial Day. All my best, -Scott
Hi Gang: Today I thought I'd share five trailers for some new classes you might want to check out this Memorial Day weekend over on KelbyOne.com. If you're not already a member, you can join for $19.99 and watch the full-length versions of ALL of these classes today, (and while you're there, you can watch any of the about 500+ more online classes on Lighting, Photoshop, Lightroom, Video Editing, and Photography unlimited for the next 30-days!)Â Here's the link (but check out these trailers first!): 1. Peter Hurley shows you how to edit down an entire shoot to get you to that "one" special image http://youtu.be/AAoBuSE4QwI 2. Joe McNally takes you underwater for aâ€¦umâ€¦Mermaid shoot? ( You'll love it!) http://youtu.be/ObtUJj0nUaU 3. Cliff Mautner teaches you how to shoot a wedding, during a real wedding! (live and uncensored) http://youtu.be/wQMaNJuRHOs 4. Learn to shoot a Safari, on…
Jaw Dropping Landscapes Photo Contest Think youâ€™ve got an award-worthy landscape photo? Want to win a free ticket toÂ Photoshop World, aÂ KelbyOne LiveÂ event, or aÂ KelbyOneÂ membership? TODAY IS THE LAST DAY to submit your best landscape photo to our latestÂ Viewbug contestÂ for your chance to win! For all the details and to submit your photo, just clickÂ right here. The Art of the Edit with Peter Hurley Itâ€™s all about the edit! Youâ€™ve just had an awesome photo session and now you need to narrow it down to just the best ones. How do you do it? Join Peter Hurley as he walks you through a series of live headshot sessions and then talks through his editing process with the subjects at the end. Peter is joined throughout the class by Scott Kelby, and together they edit through multiple different shoots that Scott has brought in. Editing is…