This week I photographed several dogs that were rescued and are now within the care of Maxx and Me Pet Rescue. Each of these dogs have a sad story in their past. Sometimes I wonder why there is so much animal cruelty and abuse - but my purpose for this blog post is not to ponder this question. Instead, my blog post this week is to give you insight into what goes into a rescue dog portrait and photograph session. Meet Gracie, she is a sweet, blue mix dog. Gracie is waiting for her foster home or even better a furever home.
When I arrived at the dog resort she is staying at, I was greeted by a wonderful person who assisted me with each of the dogs. Gracie immediately came out into the play area and ran around. Most sessions start with the dog running and enjoying the freedom of being outside and taking care of business. Once they are done, I start working the camera waiting for the dog to do 'what dogs do best'.
Gracie ran around, looked up trees, played with toys and enjoyed herself (while I followed her around and took photographs). Eventually, Gracie stopped to shake the hand of the person who cares for her. The photo I am showing you here is the final photograph.
So what goes into the creating the finished photo? It often depends on what the dog does for the photo session and what the surroundings are when the photograph is taken. Here's the original photograph.
Notice that the concrete has a lot of debris laying on it. Small sticks, pine needles, lots of 'outdoor' things. A good portion of that has been removed in the final photograph.
Next, I have several different photographs of green grass. It's important not to make the grass sharp throughout the image as that's not necessarily what you will want when you blend the photographs together on a computer (using photograph or On1 Layers). I've taken several different photographs of grass and blurred it differently in each photo. This is the one used to blend into Gracie's photograph.
Using software, I created a composite image of Gracie using this photograph of grass to provide a green background. For the techie's out there, I decided not to have 100% opacity in the grass as it looks softer with a lower opacity. The last step for the rescue dogs is to put a small logo with the pet rescue name and our website information.
So, if you're ever wondering why you might be paying more to have a professional photographer take the photograph as opposed to using your cell phone and taking a 'selfie' - maybe this gives you an idea of what goes into creating a more pleasing photograph of your pet.
For more photographs of Maxx and Me Pet Rescue dogs, visit our gallery at http://www.vpshoots.com/maxxandme
Most of these dogs are still waiting to be adopted, but you can check out Maxx and Me's website (or facebook page) www.maxxandme.org