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Shoot: Cookie Bryce Part 2

Lesson 10 from: Animal Photography

Rachael Hale McKenna

Shoot: Cookie Bryce Part 2

Lesson 10 from: Animal Photography

Rachael Hale McKenna

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Lesson Info

10. Shoot: Cookie Bryce Part 2

Lesson Info

Shoot: Cookie Bryce Part 2

So what I'm gonna do now I'm just going to move to the canon um and so that I can up the I s o on here to probably I'll see what we're doing on eight hundred if I can hand hold not you she's probably now that would change the cannibal gonna sit perfectly still now maybe not don't you back off there again in the one I'm just gonna this one can go down to two point one point four should say yep already we might be all right hang on okay rough rough sea that's gonna make it tricky to focus on you think you doing if you could just see if you get set here again but look way might and she gets really distracted with the smell of wine I might bring in the other fabric background just to see what she is challenging to get this destructive she's focused on something she's focused okay she's so used to mind also this's often what happens they get so used to noises that make you just don't even not even interested anymore she wants the gaffer tape at the moment do the one with the main force I ca...

n't do it it's impossible oh yeah actually can you come on come on it's your time it's your time so what I need you to do is take pretty much come down behind me and pretend you're making a noise behind me perfect wait we'll come down a little bit lower she's looking up at you just a bit too much we'll move wow you just hit it right there's a big noises that way hi oh, she likes it a little many thanks, cookie e are you cooking? Lucky you ugo look atyou look e beautiful hey yeah look at you you looking for oh, just right here love their ugo this's great what a great team if it's well done I'm taking you back to new zealand with may what you thank you raising you seeing you I know that this trick gorilla actually right I'm just gonna put this wait did we didn't she? I didn't really look at the images of the flower did we get a really nice shot of waded cold perfect. So I'm not gonna do that and she did you bring a little jumper? Yes. Can we just try that? It is so cute reasons you got this whole black jumper and it comes right up and her bag so for you we'll bring that she she's a something really quietly you understand? While we get the jumper I'm just gonna get another shot to see that front hand if you could just move it back just a little bit who I know it's cute isn't it gorgeous sorry oh, just put it out. You may be sorry why don't we take a question while we wait for the tethering to load up yeah the ladies don't mind do we have any questions in our in studio audience you definitely do online dating the question was about the table again do you always use a table is there a sized dog that you wouldn't use the table for and that was from renner well animals I would use the time but we happen to have had a ll small enemy today so hits the table just it helps may be able to get down low with them if the puppet sometimes if I don't have a table I'll just work on the ground and I'm often lying on my stomach working down on the ground that sort of thing but I wasn't worried I wasn't watching him because she can jump up this high yeah yeah yeah yeah but it's she's um she's actually in the perfect frame of mind now typical or she's had lunch and poked exactly oh who is this paige's have got the most expressive faces him and they just so beautiful uh oh she's just a little bit yeah yeah it would be really good really good that profile shot rachel is just stunning it is it is completely stoic yes that was a really nice shot she's got beautiful action that your body composition is just gorgeous actually you know to keep it is right up over a face like that bush what do you call it? The bush go when she's like this I'm just gonna stay with you I'm just gonna stop by fighting again we're safe. We get her into that com mode again what comes up because I second one's perfect I got that that's that's just piss just tortures let us think shut out from melissa from melbourne, australia who actually bought them and submit to me from melbourne yeah, thanks for such a gorgeous little jumper and look at that shop you couldn't ask for anything better ask georges brilliant well done, cookie with the fact that I know that we've got some really cute shots what what we could do is cookie fine and she wanted but she's actually in quite a good mood now to maybe if we take the jumper off I've got the jumper shot just like that lover really happy so I'm not gonna push push the issue so I'm gonna bring in another fabric which is good really great for black and I'm just going to let her calm down and she might even just fall asleep amongst it that sort of things I was going to bring in it's like a food type just wanna maybe for pop it down while we set this up how do you clean it? Because I've been hurt and when you left yeah here I would I will wash it and then basically, I just keep gaffer tape and just spend a good hour just taking a ll the fear off that sort of stuff, I've got numerous black cloths, and when it just gets to the stage where I can't get you out of it anymore, it just goes in the bin, and I get another one so it's all good, actually, we could probably go over the top of it in one minute, so this fabric here has got a lot more texture to it, so and it's snugly, she might just snuggle in tow, and we might be able to get a really disliked you fall down, we'll just take it across, so what we're gonna do is have a flat at the on the back, and then I'm gonna ruffle a lap on on the book on the bottom, so you get a lot of texture happening, and things were gonna hopefully encourage cookie toe, lie down and have a little sleep, maybe not asleep necessary, but mr lie down, but if she doesn't, it doesn't say we've got some fantastic shots of you, so I'm really, really happy hope you're happy and well, but that's just gives you another look what you can do for so that it would be great for kids, because cats love to snuggle and get inside things, and um, how much do you have to tell people to intervene or not to? Because I've photographed children before and you get the overbearing parent and then you get there under, you know, doing nothing, period and this do you like, say, just let me talk or go? Yeah, it's, everyone's different like I, to be honest, so I was a little bit worried because you love to to, but you have been absolutely perfect for your baby, and I like that, you know? But I am I know you've been absolutely perfect. You've interacted with her with the perfect amount, you've listened to my instructions. You haven't tried to take over the situation often. You do have very protective appearance off of animals and things, and they do try and dominate a little bit more, so you just have to be diplomatic about what you say things be nice about things, but you just need to be very clear and what you need to be able to capture that shot, which they are wanting our thanks. Thanks. Cooking is fun as easily washed that's the great thing about fabrics as well just goes in the wash. Yes, we can I just have some tissues just to mop that up. Rachel, can I ask you specifically w w l c had asked and earlier you said that you would just ask people to leave the room sometimes you give us the verb ege or what would you actually say or how would you say it? Because people they understand they need to be polite and diplomatic, but they don't necessarily know what they would say that I would just say to them are you comfortable fighters and understand their animals just a little bit to attempt? You've got too much attention on you at the moment. How do you feel about if I just tried by myself for just me myself with the assistant? Are you comfortable if you just leave the room for a little bit to see if I can make it work without that you being here because at the moment you're quite a distraction because your animal has such a connection with you so that's probably the way which I would approach it that's perfect? Yeah, you know what you're doing, rachel really? So we'll just say I'll just see if I could get some we're just gonna try and get cooking to lie down and I'm going to see if I can get some shots just so you can see what this fabric is doing and state of I might just see student maybe play with favorite can't look like fabric she loves your hands I think we had that perfect moment of time to capture them but she might might just might lie there going oh really put coming us underneath for truth instead yeah what somewhere under there she can nor on that now I know she won't notice they're just put that instead so she's got something to nor on but no not your hand here she's got like those needle teeth at the moment which are a lethal so I'm just gonna try tiger way we got to go she got your hand again just take it out this first taken it was safe what's this just pull it out now well you've got her distracted on something else sit down we'll see if we can get oh lisa cookie my ship's not gonna work oh, I felt that one out because because she is she doesn't know you're not she handles well she's probably cooking see what? See how you've got a slightly softer black black in the background with this fabric because the light's hitting the food so it's actually not so she doesn't want this movement she she might be past it she might have had done a dish but well I'm I'd be so happy and that regards like I've got a few what that I don't think it's suspicious that they just bring it to camera she's coming she's got the from the background on through thank you oh it's been bringing up came with you she blinked on that last one. There will be a total movement there when I would have been a cute shot head being in focus she moves so quickly oh me not a good look with lainey just let me have it with me to your hand I know she knows she knows what this toe just bring it over this way a little bit she'll jump I will shake yeah god maybe you don't go to a wedding but she is very cute. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it is a very good yeah cooking rice good, very challenging to focus when she starts doing that though, so if you're doing a client session and it's really pet based and they decide oh, can I have pictures to is that something separate knew how do you do it? I would decline it all, millie talk about that price for during the session. If they were interested in having having shots as well, then that would be an additional charge on top of the house for a private committed additional charge on top because it would be a little bit more time maybe a different set up for them and but that's totally open to that and I often do people what their pits as well yeah, but it would but normally it's discussed prior to the actual shoot you have a quick question, what's your favorite if stop to shoot it and understeer being going from two point eight two one, point four. But if the light's ideal visually what do you like your images to look, I always do drew the shallow depth of field so I always try and shoot with ah, wide open aperture of two point eight is my favorite. None of my lenses on the heads of let go down lower than two point eight so but the cannon and I noticed I mean all that when I was doing this, I think that's what? It goes to one point force. Of course I go to the white stripe. Impossible. That's just may I just always just go. Is while it's possible? I love the fact that I can and I'm interested to shop there. Basically the eyes of the focus, everything else is slightly soft. So when your viewing that as an image, you were going to get drawn into that face and that's what it's about it's, about the expression, the eyes to contact the, um, you know, just just the personality which is actually helping what's happening with him. An image. Great. All right, question from the internet from anne photo, say that you were if a client had commissioned you, cy sue for example, how how much time do you schedule? Is it a full day a half a day and what happens if you're not able to get what you were looking for? Okay really, really good question I tend to be able to judge how long incision I need to allocate when I meet the animal first so content to allow at least half a day sometimes it might be a full day depending on what they want me to do it for the studio is, well, his location we might do a full day, but normally just half a day, but and what was the second half of the christian time totally lost the what? What happens if say you can't get in this right ear syringe? Yeah, I'm if I I have a policy within myself that if I don't get the shots, if it doesn't go right, then I always offer to come back a second time to try again because working with an m animals you do have to have that flexibility. I know it's, you can never give a force an animal to do something, so I have to be really open offer it doesn't happen very often thank goodness off because I most of the time team to go to the animal's environment if I think it's going to be more challenging if they come to the studio so if they're in the environment that it's very rear, that I wouldn't get the shot, but I do offer toe always go back for a second time for no charge if I haven't managed to work my magic. So there's been a few people asking for white on white? You have mastered the black on black it's so beautiful and lovely, alexis said. I love the concept of black on black dog photography. Do you have any suggestions for white on white? I happen to own a beige on tuesday, and sometimes I find it quite difficult to picture him and bright surroundings or white backgrounds. It can be quite challenging exactly the same concept, but just probably the complete opposite from black on black. If anything, you might want to over it, andi under exposed by, say, half a stop just to keep those details in the whites, and then you can actually work on there and post with a bichon frisee. You're going tohave black noses and dark eyes as well. So you've gotta be very careful that you don't lose the detail in the blacks, but as long as you work and seriously again, you're gonna find it much easier. What I'm saying this working with natural light, that's, my preference, somebody else might love the look of the really high key flesh. And this so there's nothing wrong with it and it might be what you're after but my my preference is to keep the image the the light is soft and even as possible so that's why I tend to prefer to work and natural light and working with white on white definitely I would probably work with natural light as well but they're for you get you actually get tonal range within the white it's not you're not going to get a pure white you will always get like falling off to like a really, really soft gray and certain areas but that's because of the natural light all right, we've got a couple more have time for a couple more eighty photography any advice? Rachel on what you actually tell owners how to prepare their dogs for a photo shoot a big walk before feeding, not letting them sleep etcetera and that goes for whether it's a client or if you're shooting for say, licensing her book yep very good enough very good question I was always recommend that the dog you listening surprised it spread language walked pooped that type of thing is always happen, but as you could see with cookie it didn't matter that's not what she was able to do things is not it got the tools to clean up is fine, but I do recommend that they get there what if you weren't working more and in the morning take them out for good walk but you've got to judge the breed as well like a small dog is not going to need a big walk because it will get tired more more easily if you've got a high energy dog, then take it for a big run because within half an hour it's gonna be like, hey, where we going again? So it's fine, you've just got to judge it by the breed and I can't support you don't take for walks anyway, so I just need to make sure I have fought with dogs. I actually do tell the owners to feed them if their head brick first give them food was otherwise if you start bringing treats out during a session of haven't been feared, they're gonna go manic they're gonna want that food straightaway, so you've got absolutely no control of keeping it cam if you bring out treats for dogs hungry so it's peace tow tell them you have to have the brick first or feed them whatever they need to do go for a walk and then just really I don't find this beast, maybe they come into the studio or I come to them straight after the dog has bean walked because therefore it's tired thin, so you got the better chance tto work with them when they're actually in that much more calm content state all right, well, maybe one final question of the day will end with a fun question from kenna's number one fan who would like to know what is the weirdest, most exotic pet you photographed. And maybe if you could tell us a story or something fun that you experience oh, my god! What an animal start! Crikey! I suppose the most part of the sweetest, most exotic for my book it's a zoo out there which is actually out of all my books other than my more recent books, the french can, the french dog and now the new york dog which had been on location that it's a zoo out there has got to be one of my favorite books. It's got a whole array of my image is like stealing from me goldfish, frogs, chimpanzees, lions, tigers, cats, dogs, rabbits you name it it's in there. Anyway, I photographed a frog for this book and it wasn't a commissions away actually approached a frog breeder in new zealand and ask for if they could get me a a little green new zealand frog he's may thinking the frog was going to be probably about this sort of size and I wanted to do it is cool and I named the frog king jeffrey so I wanted to do it in a little crown so I made a crown thinking this frog's going to be about this size. So I made a crown sort of about that size to sit on its head, got the and the sky seems that's brought by korea. I couldn't believe it was I oh my god, I thought you'd like to hand deliver me a frog. Everybody seated by career, but seem to be fine, thank goodness. But anyway, the frog arrived and it was tiny. It fitted inside my crown. Azulai on like the crown was small. It was like about sort of life, not even three centimetres in diameter. And the frog was that small, and I shot this on four by five solely for my bellows extension on my four by fire was like, so, like, as far as it could go to get the focus. And anyway, so of course, this frog was not going to put the crown, so I had to make a crown like straightaway to foot. So I made a crown in literally fitted on the end of my little film on my little finger. So when I go look at the book she can I get a copy of the book? Because I can probably show you really quickly as long as it's not upon the keynote. I'm sure we're fine. I'm just going to show you the which which it's? A zoo out there. It's, a little one ahead on the tables was on the cheer just over there. This on the just hear that right there? Yep. So it's the one with the brown kitten on the front cold. But anyway, you'll see just how tiny the sprague was if I show you my finger next to the image of s frog it's. Um are you are still here. So with cooking it is? Oh, just find king jeffrey in here. Were I, you little frog syria's. So that was king jeffrey. And literally, if you think that's, how small the crown actually waas. So this is probably a good twenty size larger than the real frog wars, which is pretty amazing and I hand make it that crown within seconds of being there, when I was in seconds like we took me about five minutes, I had a thankfully. This is why it's always really great to have a good kit so I had gold paint I had little jewels which I could stick on and I made it out of cardboard like teeny tiny little chopping it up I need a little midget fingers to dio do it and but it worked anyway the funniest thing with this frog is like when you know I don't know if any of you have worked with reptiles but it's really good to him wit hands because you have our hands contain acid so if you touch a frog you're gonna burn them so I basically had to make sure you have wet hands all the time so that you diluting whatever chemicals you hear a reaction which the frog's gonna have on your skin but it was so hard to catch us froggy was leaping around the studio everywhere and then I was just about to take the shot his suddenly flew from I got about background he flew up onto the camera and then he was like leaping, bouncing up and down on my camera was just earlier it wasn't very I wish that she had a video that was the most hilarious, hilarious truth but we did get the shot he managed I managed get him to mesmerize for that one one shot I needed any yeah, but he's really, really, really tiny so that was a fun trip

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