Maria’s Pet Photography Tips: Bonus Part – Videos
Some of the best photographers I know make great videos. It’s a beautiful challenge, to take the art of capturing incredible shots to a next level. And the best thing about pet videos is that the same rules apply. Everything you’ve read so far about pet photography will help you make wonderful videos that express the pet’s personality.
Show Cats and Dogs
In the previous articles we discussed about show dogs and show cats: the kind of pets people raise and groom in order to win beauty contests. When it comes to these pets, owners are less interested in their personalities and want you to focus more on physical aspects, such as the fur or elegant posture of the pet. You’d think there’s not much to do here: a 360 video of the pet and maybe some close-ups. Well, you’d be wrong to think so. All you need is a bit of creativity. Just like the French collective Pleix did in the video right below, by shooting show dogs flying in slow motion. The result? A yummy-looking video that, I believe, serves the dogs justice.
A day in the life
But show pets will probably not be your main concern. Pet owners will come to you asking for a video that captures their pet’s individuality. For you, it means taking a whole day to spend with the pet and their owner and a lot of moving around. Start with their home and then go to their favorite spots. A simple idea is to show a day in the pet’s life, from when they wake up to the end of the day. Just like Jesse Rosten did here for their dog Stella. Notice how he always shot from the pet’s level and even shifted points of view in order to portray the world as seen by little Stella.
Now that I’ve mentioned shifting points of view, let’s talk a bit about this technique. Briefly, it means that, instead of shooting from your perspective, you place a camera on the pet and let them do all the filming freely, as they mind their own business. You can do this by using a GoPro camera attached to your dog’s collar, in order to get HD results, just like Kelsey Wynns did in the video you’re about to watch. Why is this technique a good idea? Well, first of all, you might not get the steady shots you’d want, but you’ll get first row tickets to an amazing shooting of how dogs interact. You’ll also spare the effort of trying to follow the pet around while not getting in their way. Watch the beautiful results of this technique right here:
Working with smaller pets, such as birds or rodents will, however, make your job a little easier. You will only shoot at their homes where they already feel comfortable. In the following video, Pavel Lavchenko did a very nice job filming Kesha the parrot being playful and lovely. The shots are very dynamic and have a marvelous DOF. See for yourself:
Some owners will ask for rather static videos of themselves and their pets, to portray their affectionate bond. If you have to make such a video, pick a beautiful quiet spot such as a park and make sure you have good light. I personally am very fond of sunsets and the warm light you get around 5-6 PM. Have the owner sit on the grass and cuddle with their pet. You will need to keep some distance from them, in order not to interfere or distract the pet. Here’s an astounding example that makes great use of light and pays attention to details.