Well, soon it will be the middle of March - yep - St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner. As a child, I always said "I wasn't Irish, so I didn't need to wear green - at least, that's what I said when I forgot to wear green". Years later, I did a DNA test and well, found out I was 11% Irish! So I guess I should wear green to honor the Irish holiday.
I began a quick search to find a St. Patrick's day outfit that might fit my fur girls. The first thing I found was that most of the different things that I could get in a short time period is made for smaller dogs not large dogs like Abby. We ended up with 2 different types of outfits for the fur girls.
The most challenging outfit is the little hat/beard which required a dog that would allow this to be placed on their head. Who would wear the little hat and beard? I didn't think it would fit Abby...and Rue, well - she is "Rue (not a model)"...leaving me with Ollie. Here's Ollie posing with her St. Patrick's day costume. I can hear her now - how many treats do I get for wearing this crazy hat and beard?
Often in order to get photographs of the smaller dogs (Ollie is about 32 pounds), I will place them up on something so they are not on the ground. By placing them off the ground, it takes a little bit more for them to 'run away'. If we are in an open space such as a park or the dog does not do well with the 'stay command' then a leash is used to help keep your dog in the area preferred for photographing.
Tricks for working with Abby and Ollie :
1) Very food motivated - ensure she knows I have 'snacks aka treats'
2) Both are good with the 'stay' command when food is involved
3) Ensure she is in a 'sit/stay' position
4) If no helper to ensure she stays, I will use a wider angle lens so I can stay close and keep her attention
A fair amount of trade on the dog treats and Ollie was kind enough to look at the camera for another pose. The little hat/beard was found at Pet Supermarket here in Tampa, FL.
This one has an interesting look because of the way the beard line is on her face (it's not photoshopped - it's really on her). Abby is often my 'go to' on photographs - she will do just about anything I ask if there is food involved.
Finding a St. Patrick's day costume or accessory for a larger dog is not as easy as for a smaller dog. Abby weighs in at about 65 pounds. These little 'vest/bowties' actually have a simple collar to put them on your dog which works perfectly. A different collar could be used as long as it fits in the slits that are provided on the costume which is about 1/2 inch in width.
As I wanted a little more control over what was in the background of this photograph of Abby, I decided to try looking down on her and filling the frame with her - calling out the 'keyword' for all of my dogs "S N A C K". If that doesn't get them looking at you, then it probably isn't going to happen.
Last, but not least, is Rue. Rue doesn't do the 'stay' or 'pose' very well - so she is the hardest of my dogs to photograph. Tricks I used with Rue since she is not a good "stay/pose" dog include:
1) I put her off the ground - in this case she was sitting on a bench
2) I stay very close - using a wider angle lens allows me to be within 2 feet of her
3) I ensure she knows that I have 'snack' if she is good
4) I will keep her in place by gently putting her back into place several times before I attempt to take photographs
5) Work QUICK!
Hope you all have a wonderful St. Patrick's day!
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This is a personal project that I try to participate in each week (as much as possible). This post is part of a 'blog circle' which is with several other Professional Pet Photographers around the world. Each week a different theme is provided to the group and we, as pet photographers, interpret the theme in our own way. Follow the link provided at the end of each of my blogs to the next pet photographer's blog - and when you arrive back at my blog - you've completed the entire circle of blogs for this theme. For more pet photographers sharing their take on this theme, head over to Syracuse photographer shares the story of a lucky dog and his journey to a new home.