|Chronicle Herald - Sept 19, 2016
I faced that decision 18 years ago. I could say it was a tough decision, but it wasn’t. The decision to try something new wasn't tough. But becoming the master of my own destiny was totally different from the white collar background I was raised in.
To the disbelief of many people who knew me at the time, I decided to start my own business. Not only my own business, but a dog biscuit business. It’s fairly common now to see dog biscuits packaged by small companies, but 18 years ago it was not. I grew the business for ten years and then it was time for a new dream. We sold the company and decided to move to Nova Scotia.
I left the dog biscuit business behind, but I wanted to continue working with my love for animals. I created the Paws For Charity Art Book Project and for six years I compiled fund raising coffee table books using donated art and photography from artists around the world. I learned a lot about animal photography while working together with those generous people.
Animals are very special to many of us. As we get older, some of us spend more time with our pets than we do with our kids. Similar to people portraits, animal portraits are best taken without a distracting background. Make sure you have a plain backdrop, or that you blur the background to keep only your pet in focus. If you can’t keep the whole face in focus, make sure you keep the eyes sharp. Similar to the "candid versus posed" article I wrote a couple of months ago, it’s up to you to decide whether to pose your pet for a portrait or whether you’d like a candid action shot.
|Phantom and his shadow were perfectly framed by the shadow of our screen door
After his death, we were without a cat for a couple of years, but finally it was time for a new feline and we headed to SHAID, our local animal shelter. Myrtle joined our family just after Christmas in 2012. Oddly enough, my favourite Myrtle photo was taken in the same screened in porch. Although I don’t know a way to pose a cat, sometimes you can capture them in a pose of their own choosing. This example has a blurred background and Myrtle looking directly into the camera.
|Myrtle strikes a pose
When we are taking pictures of our own pets, it’s important to remember that we are capturing memories and our love for our animals. The image doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to mean something to us.
If you aren’t happy with your own pet photography results, or even if you are, there are local charities that photograph pets to fund raise for their cause. Supporting their events are a win-win situation. You end up with a great gift for yourself or a family member. The charity ends up with some much needed funds for their programs. And that’s something good to focus on.