Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Pet Portraits or the art of Persuasion

In my photography magazine this month is an item about portrait photography, and with regard to pet portraits it says that pet owners 'will surely be looking for that dynamic shot that captures the animal's character'.  So I decided to give it a go, after all, how hard can it be?

First gather essential equipment.  Camera?  Check.  Tripod?  Check.  Reflector?  Check.  Pet?  Pet????   Being the perverse devils that they are, the cats had sensed that I wanted them to pose for me as opposed to sticking their heads in front of the lens when I'm trying to take a photo of a flower or similar and had deserted (see post on naughtiness for more details on cats and non co-operation).  Not to be deterred I went in search of a cat/rabbit/or even the lizard that lives in the garage.

I found Pepper sunning herself by the french doors.

Me:  There's an article here about taking pet portraits.  Can I take a portrait of you?
Pepper:  What's in it for me?
Me:  Er, a cat treat?
Pepper:  (With a steely glint in her eye) Is that it?  I was thinking more about getting a heated cat bed for Christmas.
Me:  Will you use it if I buy it?
Pepper:  For a day or two, then I'll ignore it like everything else you get me.  Do we have a deal?
Me:  I suppose so...  Can I do the portrait thing now?
Pepper:  Did I mention it was on the condition that I can wear a feather boa and not look at the camera?

So working within those particular parameters...

'Just call me Talloulah'

I found Charlie on our bed.

Me:  Are you meant to be on there Charlie?
Charlie:  You want to make something of it?
Me:  No, no, of course not (backing away...).  Er I just wondered if I could take a portrait shot of you?  Please?
Charlie: (Flexing claws)  For some reason I'm feeling a strange benevolence towards you, which I hope wears off quickly... so yes you can do it.  As long as you don't show my face.
Me:  ???????????

Wondering if I'm harbouring some gangland or maybe undercover ops cat here I decided to give it a go.

'Talk to the paw...'

I found Posky asleep in the spare room, under a desk, behind a box.  I have no idea why he was there.

Me:  Posky?
Posky:  ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz...
Me:  Posks???
Posky:  ZZZZZZZZzzzzzz
Me:  Can I take a portrait photo of you?
Posky:  ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

I decided that this would be an excellent opportunity to use the advice in the magazine and get that 'dynamic shot that captures the animal's character'.


After Mrs Pod's star-turn as the Halloween Devil, I had high hopes that she at least would come through for me in my quest, but I found her in a sad heap on the rug. 

Me:  Hello Poddy, are you ok?
Mrs P:  Sigh... I'm so bored I could vomit.
Me:  Ok.  So can I do a portrait shot of you?
Mrs P:  Have you done the others yet?
Me:  Well after a fashion, but I thought I'd leave the best until last (I have no shame when it comes to persuading cats to do things).
Mrs P:  (Brightening a little...)  Well I do have a certain quality in front of the camera...  I fancy a sort of pensive, 'what's the meaning of it all?' type of shot.  Can you do that?
Me:  I think so...
Mrs P:  I doubt your abilities with that camera but we'll see. 

'Get on with it and then go fetch me some tuna....'

The ever-obliging Ben (well obliging after being bribed with some purple-sprouting broccoli and wild rocket  - he's quite the gourmet...) posed willingly enough on some white card although as it was shiny he kept slipping on it so I inadvertently chopped the top of his ears off in this shot

'You're rubbish you know that?  I want lollo rosso tomorrow for doing this...'

I'm hoping for an article on still life next month...

For more P words visit ABC Wednesday at http://abcwednesdayround3.blogspot.com/2010/11/p-is-for.html
And for more kitties go to http://gattinamycats.blogspot.com/2010/11/cats-on-tuesday.html


Sharon Wagner said...

I always wondered why cats puke so much. They're bored! Cute post.

Gattina said...

Congratulations ! you made it ! you earn a medal !
I don't ask for photo shooting sessions, I take them all by surprise ! Lol !

jabblog said...

Well, given the general inability or indisposition of cats to cooperate I think your cat portraits are excellent. Shame about Ben though - are you sure he hasn't just got abbreviated ears?

Dianne said...

this post is brilliant!!
the conversations are perfect, I have had those talks with Siren and Iza

and each photo is wonderful :)

Ellen Whyte said...

Lovely pics! And yes, you're now obliged to pay your models with treats!

The Chair Speaks said...

LOL! Lovely photos!

Roger Owen Green said...

tough negotiating cats! Do they have a union?

On behalf of the ABC Wednesday team, thank you!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I'd say you've captured their personalities perfectly!
May I ask what lens you use for such great close-ups? And what camera do you use? (Fellow photography fan...)

Unknown said...

interesting blog. It would be great if you can provide more details about it. Thanks you
Pet Portraits

Barbara said...

See header for what my blog is about - does what it says on the tin :O) This particular post about trying to get my unco-operative cats to have their photo taken was for ABC Wednesday (the letter P) a couple of weeks ago.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. Some of the best potrait shots of pets I have seen. :)

Sonia said...

Thank you for the info. It sounds pretty user friendly. I guess I’ll pick one up for fun. thank u

Pet Portraits

Anonymous said...

very beautiful photos!!! I like the nose shot!


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