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Q&A - Meet the Kittens

Lesson 3 from: Animal Photography

Rachael Hale McKenna

Q&A - Meet the Kittens

Lesson 3 from: Animal Photography

Rachael Hale McKenna

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Lesson Info

3. Q&A - Meet the Kittens

Lesson Info

Q&A - Meet the Kittens

Quite a few questions are coming in about, you know, individual clients and how to interact with clients and their pets, and I'm just wondering if we're going to be talking about people, you know, people's pets versus commercial work, you know, definitely definitely we're going teo actually, this afternoon when I'm photographing cookie, we're goingto talk a little bit about more working with private commissions three clients for private commissions and things like that, so I will go into that in more detail, so those sort of questions, they're going to be more appropriate for this afternoon, probably and those in that regard so if I will be going into that in more detail, so when you want to photograph like the elephant or a champ for some wild animal, I mean, do you contact some zoo are, you know, goto wildlife park? And or do they invite you to come and do this? Because they want these photographs to I just I mean, it's, not every day you can run into and elephant elephant now you do...

n't don't mean an elephant walking down the street doing know well, in the case of kashin, this elephant here, this was cation who was lived in or concerts unfortunately she passed away about it was actually only a month or so after I photographed this, she was very old and she'd bean in the o and the crew for many years and she was like, I remember as a child we had cash sb like I speeds a bank in new zealand we had ice pick money boxes which would cash in the elephant and I was that's how long she's being I'm going away, my dear, really forties yeah, but they also cash in in this regard I was photographing cash in actually for inclusion in the one book I didn't do with pick you blackwell, which was a book called why dogs are better than kits which in my guys they're not all animals are completely equal it was just a player play on words and I didn't in conjunction with a a north of bradley trevor green, who is an incredible writer and the if you read if you get the book and read it it's really funny that way were a bit worried that it was going morphine can't lovers out there and stuff, but it really is just a play on words and it's just talks more about the general difference between cats and dogs and having them as periods so but anyway there's a section in the book which was involved talking more about exotic animals and so I photographed cash in for for that book so and that regards I approached the organs of and of course it was quiet a hefty fee involved for photographing an animal like this I had to go in there they had to take her out of the exhibit on dh we worked in the outdoor enclosure where I had and enormous I'm remember spending hours on the sewing machine sewing this because you couldn't get fabric often use fabric when I'm out on location because it's really easy to hook up you can stick it to a band or that such things if you need to creator but anyway thiss outdoor enclosure had huge big metal poles but we were up on letters like hawking this off got america does we do meters and centimeters and you guys two yards and so I'm going to get completely confused with trying to tell you how big it was but it was huge anyway this background was huge because elephants a rather large so anyone had this enormous background which had sewing together which would put up behind and andre we brought cash in into the environment of course you started to try and pull it down and play with it because elephants are anything new and exciting they just think it's great fun. So yeah so I did approach the zoo but actually thinking about it I haven't I've always have approached people about photographing exotic so I've never been commissioned to do to do portrait's off the exotic animal so it's bean working with either yeah, I'll go into more detail that's when I talk in the in the section about working with more challenging animals but yeah so we'll cover a little bit more on your books uh cat's french cats french knots so you do photograph were you you know what? You know where you probably wanna photograph and then do you how do you get your subjects do for the french can the french dog yeah you're our new york dog or yeah, I will go into that and a lot more detail in the segment about shooting on location but um we with the french can't for example I just walked the streets and found kits just wherever they were but we did do is I'll go into more detail, but I did do a little little bit of planning for the route and approached a few chateaus and things that they want to start with to get a bit of a feeling of knowing that I had some beautiful properties around france to visit which I couldn't I knew they were kept it and they were keen to be involved in the project so I had a little bit of planning and that regards but basically I walked the streets so same thing with dog a little dog in new york in the cab yeah, but you're the dogs of new york was different andi will go into the detail of it because france, you khun, you'll be walking down the street there's like you've come across team dogs just wondering street and if a dog's out without its owner on public property, then you can photograph it. You don't need to ask permission it's all that, sir stuff new york complete really different. Yeah, one more question. How'd you get the dog in the roller skates? I will let you in on that secret later on, so you just have to wear and tear on that one. All right, well, we have some questions come to love the internet. Uh, william porter photography. Is it easier to work with a well trained dog or is posing so foreign for dogs that it just doesn't matter? Of course, it is easier working with well trained on, especially if you've had come up with a concept. And do you have let train the dogs specifically for that shoot, then of course, it's much easier because the dog's familiar with what it wants to do and that's nothing but and, you know, it's amazing, like some dogs you bringin who've never had any training incredible to work with, and you get the magic shop within seconds, uh, and other dogs, which you think is going to be great to not to be really challenging and like get it takes hours to do something so it really really did mean depends on the individual animal but an answer to that fear lee trying it with a specifically trained animal definitely a lot easier so because you are doing um mostly say if you're if you're doing for your book or what have you licensing? Are you then looking toe work with trained and I know I know all the time, but it'll often I'll find animals on the street, which is a great guy really gorgeous personality or something and I just talked to the owner and say, hey, would you be interested in coming in to the studio? And I think I'd love to create an image for use within my licensing range or something but but that I will always give them copies of the images and they get supplies or something. So it's it's a great way for the people who approach to get free portrait of the pits rachel when I've seen your photos like the one we have on the screen right now it's I know from shooting animals how hard it is to even get more than one to do what you want I want them to dio so how you have four dogs lined up and they're all looking at you that is a near impossibility? Images by anne marie says I do a lot of photographing sled dog teams what are some secrets and tips to get all the dogs about twelve at a time in her case to cooperate enough to get a good photograph that is always challenging and it's even challenging for me yeah it is a very very difficult I think I remember for the book why dogs are better than kids I had to photograph a page basically showing a variety of of different dog breeds and I think we had I can probably around about twelve dogs and their image actually and we brought them into the studio so in that regard like asleep team you that all the dogs would know each other so they'd be all right with each other anyway and but I had to make sure in this instance where you would use dogs which knew each other oh he's balconies we had to we did have to make sure that we use dogs which didn't know each other and we're familiar with each other but I think in the end to get the perfect shot I actually did three or two different separate shots and then we put them put it to give a digitally for that specific shot but at our location working with say a team of sleep dogs depend on whether you wanting more of a shot in situ we're actually in this lead or something I suppose it's just doing something which is going to distract their attention all at the same time yeah you need to do something which is just going toe grab their attention yeah for that split second you need to toe push the body so make sure you got your focus really uh yeah be prepared so we have a question from um mark main duper work with apprentices yeah I do I often have people approach me and say that when they come and come on work with me for a day or two I've had students with me for a couple of weeks and things at a time yeah I'm really open to people coming to get work experience with may esso then how would you recommend people as somebody who is so experienced as you one of the things that people say that make you say yes because if we have a lot off their uh or just in general it's not a perching you I know a lot of people are scared to approach you seriously in my case don't be scared to approach middle eye but tony every boarding approach me because I can only take like I have but also I'm now going to be based in new zealand so what I am a long, long way away well with people watching all over the world thank exactly but I am I'm probably gonna start during a few workshops and things so if you came to learn a little bit more with me like one on one or one on teen sort of thing then I will have workshops available for people to come too, but if you can if you're a student you came to come and do some work experience by all means just just email me you can contact email on the web site is go through my husband so because it doesn't come directly to me. So andrew at rachel maquina dot com um just seemed an email just explaining who you are, what you're doing, why you want to get experience and seriously if I've got a project on at the time which can fit the time and to have a student with me then I'm really open toe open to people working with may so send those emails and not a problem um I just want to say poor andrew who is going I know I know I think he's probably going to be going andrew's not going to be amused, you know he's not gonna be amused by that little yeah he's going to put me to work now I can't work I gotta answer emails if andrew only knew how many you probably would have to answer. Okay, I have another question here from norma bring wear photography who would like to know how do you keep the animal from fearing the camera and its noise that that is actually hopeless? It was perfect timing was luckily there's that you're really, really good good question when you know, when I was working with the four by five camera, it was great because it's such a quiet camera and it didn't actually look like a look what it looks like it's a cumbersome box and things but it actually didn't issue like I didn't have something right in front of my face, which was like separating me from the animal but and often working with cats, cats see and lindsay's an eye and they actually if it's really difficult sometimes to get the connection with an into the camera with them because they just don't like to steer people in the eye and they actually do see aliens and I so yeah, and noise is always is always a challenge as well, but often after a while you just kind of like if you're working with flat studio flesh, just fire a few off when you're not in don't have the animal and position to make sure they get used to it and things and then they're here the camera noise there since the flesh s so it's all that sort of like already and you'll be able to judge by the animal's reaction what's going what is going to be like most of them don't react to it that then actually not too bad I've only ever had one sama wait and my entire korea who was completely terrified of the flesh battar than that there I always try and work with the flesh on a very low voltage so that when it pops that's not allowed pop, you don't want it to be like a bang with I think, because that can scare an animal, so just try and work with a very, very low voltage, um, hints and I do it anyway because I like to shoot wide open aperture to keep the shallow depth of field within my images. So, um, it's? Yeah, but just just try and keep the noise down as much as possible. Try I don't know. Sometimes you can't control how noise you cameras like hester blade, actually, which I work with now is quite noisy. A noisy camera it's got quite a it's, not it's, not noisy, but it's got quite a full on motor sound when you when you do push the trigger, but doesn't the animals don't seem to care, right? Well, I like you said, I hear some mia was over their way and we are going to introduce you all to our first subjects, but first, just you're mentioning the noise of the camera. Yeah, can you talk a little bit about the different cameras that you use? Yeah, we're going to see those I did later promise that I was gonna talk about that and I slipped that wendell I'm sorry. Well now I'm sorry s I started off on the four by five camera but of course digital his his taken a huge step into the industry I was very, very apprehensive about it when I first came on it was another thing which I was feeling but I'm comfortable with the working with rachel hail brand in the end I was forced to use a going from a four by five came out I was then handed a kodak thirty five mil did you know one of the first ones which brought out and they said this is where we're going now and I'm like I was trying to explain the difference between can't you see the quality difference between their image and this one and it's I was really, really against it and I did stick with film until I personally myself could afford to buy myself a hassle bled purely the quality but the reason I I went with hesser bled like my images can be captured on like I use kenan sometimes kind of matty two I have in my kit which is great now we'll be doing some of my chutes on that s o these images khun can be caught on those cameras as well the reason I went with hair so bled is because after my men order three hundred I had my first riel film camera was ahead of lead three hundred siri's which I still have my cut absolutely love it and I did fall in love in that state I fell in love with the square for men and that was influenced from my grandmother's wrongly fixed when twenty in's camera which is square format as well so but hey, sublet have been amazing and the head of lead did sponsored me for the new york dog book, so they're supplied me with a camera to shoot, which is nice because my bliss my little came my hesse bled I've been h two system which I use which is getting a little bit tired, so I'm going to need to replace it soon so that has of lead for this for this course have kindly lent me the latest h five d, which is amazing s o that's lots of fun to work with it. But as I say, I will be working with the cannon a swell on during this workshop so that you can see that my images came be captured on thirty five more digitals as well. Yeah. All right, well, thank you. I think it is time in chat rooms air saying bring out the kittens bringing so let's meet shelia and her two lovely kittens that are gonna be we're gonna be photographing in our next segment, this is lively and noona, I hope they've been doing lots of running around, so they're a little bit more tired. Oh, hey, babies. Ah, look at you. You do look a little a lot more children. Oh, yeah. You're just going to sleep. Oh. Oh, hopefully we won't need you look a little bit more. Maybe you should be called lively this time. I think it would just go on like this or precious. Oh, this is gonna be so much fun. So, rachel, I love that I could just see your energy like shift the moment I know tell us. Tell us a little bit about what you are going to be, what we're going to be learning from you as you photograph what you're going to be focusing on yet well and this next segment I'm going talk to you about learning about the safety and environment within working in the studio. What, you gotta be careful off with, working with animals, kittens and puppies, especially who script? And then I'll also show you a few of the props I've got and why I have chosen those particular props to work with these animals. It will seem basically see me go through the whole process of how I work set up a background the truth, the light. I'm not sure we're going to pull the blinds up. I'm going to see whether I'm going to work in natural light, which I love working in natural light whenever possible, but we might end up him to use a flesh, just tow give it, give me a little bit more like to work with and everything but well, yes. So that's all it's just the process of working with kittens and puppies in the next section, you're going to be learning all about it. Great. Well, in case folks at home, mr pre show today, julia, can you talk a little bit about how how you acquired thes new family members? We went through a volunteer foster parent through kitty harbor, and we actually found out through creative life that these guys were up for adoption when you guys were putting this whole workshop together, and we met the cats and had great chemistry with them and fell in love with them and went through the adoption process, which was surprisingly quick and easy. And, um, and here we are, and here you are about to be photographed on that family poor trace so excited they are to even though they might not be showing it right now, yeah, I just have to say how amazing you have these cops it's these kittens for less than a week. This is the fifth day, and look at how comfortable they are with you. Fantastic is the first time they've actually gotten this comfortable together in my arms. Usually they're just running around very exciting. That is, we're told you say animals really do since someone's feelings, though, so obviously that incredibly comfortable with you and happy in the new home. So, yeah, it was a good sign.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Black on Black
Photographing Kitten and Puppies
Shooting for Licensing and Publishing
Working with Adult Cats
Working with More Challenging Animals
Shooting on Location - The French Cat - The French Dog
Taking an Idea and Working Through the Process
Ways to Get Started in the Animal Photography Industry
Rachael on Location - Kelsey Creek Farm

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

This course was definitely worth the investment - both time and money. With about 15 hours worth of video sessions and amazing bonus handouts - Rachael provides some really useful, practical tips that you can apply straight away regardless whether you're just beginning your photography journey or are a seasoned professional. It was great to see Rachael at work in session - especially her techniques used to calm and quieten her models if needed. She had a potpourri of helpful suggestions such as remember to take both landscape and portrait shots (if possible), know your rights to take and use images - don't assume, be extra vigilant with cleanliness especially around kittens and puppies who may not have been fully vaccinated, keep kittens and puppies isolated in pens or cages if not in their own environment as they're escape artists etc. Her extensive experience with licensing agents and publishing houses was insightful ... and not for the faint-hearted, so it seems! Thanks Rachael for taking the time to share your know-how, tips and techniques and giving us a peek into your world and workflow you follow to produce awesome animal shots.


I loved this class! I don't I tend to be a "pet photographer" but I do want to be a "Pet friendly" photographer! I have gotten lots of tricks and tools to use while photographing occasional clients pets and my own! ( I have a horse, a pony, bunnies, cats, dogs and ducks) I'm super glad I watched the class live and I'm even more glad I bought it so I can re- watch it whenever I want :) (The shoot with the mini horse, dogs, chicken, duck and people was awesome! It loomed like my family picture would look if my husband didn't say "no" on occassion! lol)

Rebecca Potter

Love, Love, Love this course... Rachael is so down to earth and inspiring and I enjoyed all the hands-on shooting which shows you how patient you need to be for this type of photography. Truly an amazing course... Thank you.

Student Work