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Shoot: Kittens Continued

Lesson 5 from: Animal Photography

Rachael Hale McKenna

Shoot: Kittens Continued

Lesson 5 from: Animal Photography

Rachael Hale McKenna

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Lesson Info

5. Shoot: Kittens Continued

Lesson Info

Shoot: Kittens Continued

I'm just gonna pop these on this this little girl get it right and it's what a good girl oh she's so tiny though she's the little runt of the litter this one's which is really so this is good just see what you can do with working into the camera and in this situation I always need to be working working with an assistant it is impossible for me to do this sort of thing's completely by myself we'll see if we can bring her up to the front of that she's so cute hopeless ran to tell me now swings yeah, thank you and as you can see with this situation I've got nothing behind the background so it's claimed well at the top so that the fabric won't fall down and the kittens and light enough they're not gonna push it down with their weight. Yeah, so you have to be more careful if you're working with a heavy a puppy or something like that on the table to make sure that they're not going to drop off the back of the table on take the background with them I want to see what it's like working back on...

to the you guys are loving this speak challenging me it's always the way in his life yeah often this is a really good trick as well to get them to come to the front of the table hold the stick along the front and it will bring them directly to the front and then you can actually bring yeah, I'm gonna need to see how she is now in the front of the table said to bring them back again. Just bring the stick back along and they'll run forward towards it and working them on the edge of the table is one of you about someone, someone to grant them a fella. What they going to jump? Just make sure that, but I can at this height, a kitten is not going to hurt itself jumps off anyway, because kittens, character design toe jump. But you don't just end. You have to be careful with the the younger ages. I'm just going to hand it back to you. I'm just gonna fix your pills, there's so many things to think about. You can't go to the bold risk like that can't wait pills around your tummy. Come on, come on. Yeah. Strike the fate straight through it. You at too crafty for your own good. And I came up. I'm determined we're going to get a photograph of you wearing pills. Come on. All right, so what we do is we're gonna get to the front of the table and they were going to drop this on straightaway. Yeah, just let him let him hang out to see what he does. You seem that you're a little bit more till now to see if you get him to the front. So if we get now, I'm lola. Really? Then you could bring this lively off. I think these pills have got magnets in the muslim. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's quite quite like that. Some of the sea, but I could make them shorter, but I quite like that that's what you can and should it's not normally. This challenging is always the case. When you doing live photography, you can say how I just hey, mom. So if I ask you, I was gonna grab the camera again, so if you could just keep keep neela and if you described that they have a little distraction and when you get in sitting out come spring, get the attention straight to camera if you can bumps. I have a problem with camera. Typical. I had the perfect shot then, and we had an issue with camera. Where's it going? Isn't that typical that's so difficult thing. I'm just gonna just gonna fire anything just to see if we're working you're not is going now, typically it go, what is going to sit? Oh, see if you're noticing the kitten, I don't know where they're often I'm noticing through the camera as soon as it looks at the leans looks away, so I've got to try and actually anticipate the shot and that she'd be really to capture it. Justus he's going to look at the lens because the care as soon as it hits a leans it's like all my gods, and I'm not gonna look at it, so you've got a really, really work with them and anticipate that that moment when they're gonna look at me. Yeah, manually focusing, yeah, I don't know, I don't one must know that I don't trust or order fungus, but sometimes it just it seems to either go because I'm on such a shallow depth of field. If I do it, sometimes it might focus on the nose and in the eyes and for me the eyes are the most important aspect of the image, so I have to get the the focus on the on them and also like in a dog and on order focus than the order focus will definitely focus on the dog's nose with the shallow depth of field because it's, the closest object to the limbs on before you got out of focus eyes, which is not good, so yeah sorry christian, exactly, I was just gonna ask you your trick was for that because I shoot just like you issue was wide open and I'm constantly getting just the noses and focus and not quite the eyes and I'm with you I just don't want that connection to the eyes, so yeah, I do little things like that tilting the head just slightly up and down, but I was really curious because they're shooting styles are similar how you how you do get that and make sure you get it yeah, purely working with manual focus yes, oh, you control where your focus is gonna lie yeah, you seem like one focal point and just on one eye or and your depends on like that depends on the positioning, but if I'm if an animal slightly on the side and looking towards lengthen, I'll focus on the iron, which is the closest um too to the camera. Yeah, but it all depends on the situation in the position of the animal is still exactly which I of the eyes on semitic police to make to actually straight on to camera then they will. I'll just focus on what we've lost the girls and I know with storm one let's go, you see if you can just come in and go up above the kitten in a little bit to see if you get to sit certainly more but she and see how she is and she's in a great frame of mind now for working with she's actually just she's got used to the fact that she's got pills around a nick so she's just wondering around she's still inquisitive with the fear that we're keeping it calm, which is really good we're not like that during the fever's really, really fast t get us, she keeps discovering the pills like she's got this annoying thing around your neck all the time, so we'll just so it's all about distraction in this regards to keep trying keep your mind off the pearls thank you I'm not sure like even though I had the great idea of putting hits on, I think these kids are not going to be hit hit con's sometimes you might if you this is where you're working with different breeds is always really interesting because yeah, get a persian kitten and or a persian cat built differently were ahead because it's so docile and ragged ole's berman's all those types of kittens or cats ah lot more blessed and them or likely toe were something a little bit more unusual? These are more of well, these are just more monkeys I shouldn't say just monkeys mo he's just as important as everybody else but they they've obviously got a very lively breed like a burmese or ah let siamese type an active kit within their bloodline which means that they are differently not just the place it's it's still happy toa let you do whatever you want to them sort of thinks that if you've got certain concepts what you shooting them andre the ideas of what you want to come up with make sure you take into consideration what breed you're working with you're as to whether it is something which they're going to do and we'll see if I can get a bit more you can you can come over this way a little bit closer if you need to get him we might want to see if I can get a couple more shots have done so much talking and not shooting sorry it's funny I don't I actually don't shoot a lot like I'm not one of these photographers to heaven on like continuous and shoot true true true true I really do pick and choose when I take the photos are probably doing a little east than I normally would at the moment because I'm talking so much but it's all about teaching so you need to know what I'm doing yeah if we maybe try the bring in the well swap out the kittens actually maybe trying a different one and swap out get a couple more but that one's gonna be too stimulating you live in is just let live we have a little bit of a play around and then we might oh, I'm just gonna get some simple shots of lively just kiss the life on you and to see what or she's really cute she's gorgeous so that in this situation in the hunt might you could bring stick here just to bring a little bit closer to the yes, I really do love bringing them forward on the table so they're saying the shot on the monitor you've got now see how she's sitting against the background even awful shadow happening and behind the kitten that's why would prefer that who will be for the ford so that we don't get that shadowing happening on the image teo teo and with it and the sort of former miner is challenging though you're gonna wait for them to get this out of your system before you actually start getting them to focus on that that's right? Ah, you know, I might just try the that she had used to big is what a lot of thanks I think I'm just gonna get a train I love kittens and that regards so what? I'm gonna you, uh you're a really little hunter around you you're not dumb, you know exactly what you're doing uh oh here comes dead quick behave daddy's here so we've been here before and what we want to try and do is make sure he doesn't jump off the table that would just say oh he's really cute I think to get there get the really really great shots with kittens that is great to get them into a position entering into a state of mind when they are just really almost wanting to go to sleep is the perfect time to what with kittens yeah, yeah I was gonna see if you get that it actually it is in a real playful mode what is trying wouldn't let just try and calm it down just a little bit with there we'll see if we get it what's happening with um and was nicola what she was framing one she she's playful as well come on I'm just gonna get get it with steak here oh, wait. So if you just hold that there for a minute and hopefully she'll just play with it when we get in the right position and then what we might do it can I get you to work here? Just bring it back to me what you need to do is just bring it straight back onto the leans you're not blocking my vision at all go right right down didn't go down to his eye line so that he's actually khun see it and then watch it back and then if you bring the stick also bet to camera it won't be there for him to look at oh look you guys I know this so it's, so cute so I mean how would say it's a debt of total pace temptations game toe to toe need to bring you for the ford says why working with a kitten on a kitten shoot can possibly take me away day to get exactly what I'm after if I've got a list of ideas to get through and I've got a whole litter of kittens often it can take an entire day to do to do what you want what we need to know what I'm gonna do it let's try a different tactic to see if we can speed things up a little bit can we just get can I just get you just to sit with them and see if we can get you a toe just cuddle for a little bit just to come down is no playing in the back she is just wanted teo give you a shadow from labrador lady who says rachel is doing great a great job of showing us the patients and persistence needed to do this type of work and I mean that's really what we're here to show is your real deal so take your time yet it's going well so I die people are loving it can we add a few more hours to go to the statement so we'll try what I'm gonna do I'm actually going to get a little piece of ribbon and tie a ribbon around the neck so it's not hanging down can we see where I am? Which one is where did that one go? She might just think alright trying to this quickly what else do you have there in that kit? And I've got years to say before I've got all sorts of things from for making props as well I've got little packets of fevers I've got glitter in here glue gun all sorts of things for yeah, if I just basically need wealth I just need I'm going tight around the kitten's neck so funny about that long and I just need that only the scissors handy just chop off the exists right? So we got we'll bring unfortunately think lively is a little too lively will bring can we bring new lover? I have what, in an ideal world it would be fantastic to get the two of them sitting together showing you how do you work with two of them together on that sort of thing? I've worked with lots of peers of animals like with poppies and things you can bake their noses with honey and all sorts of stuff to get them to look each other and to get those sort of shot you just hold hold on when I do this I'm just basically it's gonna tie really low spo around her neck please once let me down let me down it could be free soon waiting you're not doing anything she just wants down she's not she's not upset in regards to this she's just once down your cute though you are very cute. So what I'm doing here is just making the boat look pretty now this is a really like ideally I'm wanting to trim this look, robin so bringing scissors around I'm gonna need you just yeah, I'll just I'll do it if it's right? So I know because I'm just what I'm gonna do is just put an angle on it so it looks visually more aesthetic within the image let it drop well, good holding you're gonna make sure that the animals hold really still when you've got scissors near them watch yourself hope perfect so what we're gonna do? I'm just gonna bring the ribbon around a little but that's on the side so now this is not hanging down so this might be a little bit better with this curtain to not actually, but it still does something which is really cute, so I'm just gonna say nothing, just bring her up to the edge. You know, she's she definitely is a little bit more placid and got god the perfect sort of temperament for this sort of thing, so what I want to do is try and get here to rick lee front on camera I'm very symmetrical when I get these samples rocks. I love them to be like really front on that side of the wall, otherwise free side on. I've got very particular positionings. I like them to be in of this little camera in my hand to do it, just distraction get them back concentrating again. Can I just give you hand that over again? It's great when you come? No, no offense to you guys, anything but over the years, I've developed really good relationships with my assistants and things, and they pretty much know exactly what I need now and they I know exactly how to get them back into position, and I've got certain animal trainers who I worked with all the time, make sure you don't write, so what we want to try and do is get their attention up. So maybe take that out of there now so that he's not she sorry, wait, so we were trying to bring it, bring it back over sorry, any other perfecting the second front on and then you can even come around on the side of me, danielle and then we've got two of you, so a good way to get them to concentrate, to get them, get them to the front, we'll go and then bring it up above if you bring it up above you'll sit up that'll get him set up again, and then hopefully follow it to the camera that will just get you back in and they bring you've got it with them, you gotta work quite quickly, get them up, get it up and then bring it straight back to the camera. So it's all it's, all a matter of just working he's also now discovered he's got the robin rundisney who? Nick sorry, cuban saying him sorry, but let's keep they're definitely in a feisty mood now, which does make it a lot more challenging to work with, so normally I'm working with kittens, you would have a letter, I don't, I'd be in an environment where they're running around continuously, even around your feet, everything so that they are wearing themselves out and then I just pick pick the perfect get in tow, tow work with at the time because some of them will get more tired at some stage. I'm not not the other, but we've just got to little kittens to work with, but in this regards, which does make a little bit more challenging. Ah, you are too cute, I think let's, mr and think, yeah, I don't know where the kitchen is going to go for a treat, but we can try just say it gets get the big green feather again. Distracting one. Get it he's sitting in a really cute little position now, so if we could get the attention to camera would be really good. I'll don't do this camera. Sorry time's gonna shoot again whenever I seem to pause it for a while and shoot that same busy, which is but it seems to go to sleep. It's all right, so what I would in this regard because there's not saying friend on what I was trying to use this have someone quickly weapon and killed the tail. And so I'm not shopping the tail off within the image. Yep. Always treat our intended that's good lead on him a little bit. Somebody yeah. It's not gonna just britain's flick the green feathers up above the thing just to get his attention over here. What about the streets? But he likes the tree. Just need to bring him back into the scene. We are running out of time here. New ruler to give me some action, please. It's one that one magic shot just before we go. Okay? And just see if we can trying on ly things at the moment, you just bring it back and oh, way needed spring that tail around as well. Sit right again and then just bring the tail around poor yeah, just it will afflict around a little bit more the tail yet to effect this I'm not dropping it off. Yeah, I think we got the magic shot theo such a patient's game the seriously just a work and work and work that does not harming the kidneys be perfectly happy they having fun playing and things so you just goto uh I can be challenging you can be really challenging but as they say, it was just a really simple shot but that just shows how different breeds can be a lot more difficult to work with because it's obviously so much more lively breed and die and realistically, this could have been fun to do something with you that climbing up something and then peering over the top or something where they actually have to do something quite active which keeps him really interested because he's she got sorry keep calling the boys she's not really that keen on having something around her neck but she's coped with it. We've managed to distract it and thinks that so it's all good it's all good happy now it would be great if I could just get you to lie down for you in sleep mode even sleep mind quite colorful. Yeah, we're just gonna see if your yeah this is why you doing this more with toppings you can actually just lie them down, take a little run things and it's just rubbed the little noses and things and we'll show you that in the next segment we will actually start working with the puppies and you could do a lot more with puppies to get them to do things kittens ken's and kits are differently the fickle creatures of the animal world what watch out she's gonna jump off here? Yeah, both they are both in a this one seemed yeah, we might would bring this bring that lively back in to see if we get another load a little shot I might just swap the robin over so that we can hear matching portrayed would be really sweet, so keep holding on tight. You like the polls air going out don't do it, don't do it get got the really little why need me? Els haven't they've that they don't seem like they might have a little bit of siamese on them is that it makes it sound like we're torturing them, but we're not promise we're not torturing these poor little kittens hey, I'm just making a pretty coat you're giving her time she's got much he's got a small neck, isn't she? Yeah e just like I've got something wrong with me, but what is it? What is it? I can't get it way might work a little bit more unnatural light with the puppets and they're not as hopefully the puppies or sit still a little bit more on what we have a little bit more time actually creating cem some some images this is different I knew that the new cats and kittens are going to be a lot more of them or child the challenging subject matters tow you think so that's quite good actually just to bring the food and just to calm her down a little bit she's got the ribbon oh oh god it's on the wall it's coming off it's gonna come up to see if we can just take it back around the back of your neck so that she's not gonna but you are too cute right? What has been the time playing with them that's right just tea if if you just bring your forward just push you forward a little bit I know she is definitely you've got a very appropriate name lively if you try the sticking in that'll bring it hopefully to the edge get it I know she is very cute good to save you damn just wear on time yeah, we have an action shot of um not quite the right one don't deceive undoing your ribbon did that flash gordon yeah if you bring it round with the stick again yet stephen get up again it is pure patients came well, that was close you nearly went flying off each table okay, I might just have to fix up that robin she's gonna yeah it's just just get up yeah keep distracting it just struck me that this is, um maybe time with her because she's got a small she said it's much smaller than her sister so even with in letters that could be so different wait do that just calm down it was reading those waiting no it's amazing that she got enough you saw that? Just a little kiss on the head she just had that little multi you know how they sort of roll their eyes back yeah, yeah she's just she's wondering what's behind the background it's cool. I'm just gonna fire that often it's not flesh we're going this is something going on with slave from the it's not flattering no now yep just needed to be woken up it's nice to just break their bring this stuck along the front again and we'll see if we get it. Just hide it down brings a foot yet cold and then just bring it up if we can yeah would be great to get a shot of it to them come on eyes that I'm newland making noise in the cage behind yeah, yeah, it is distracting to go backwards oh, is she responsive to the food like newly wass not as much yeah tried again just to see if you get it because it did with nuwa the food actually come down a little bit she actually concentrated on the food and actually decided to sit still think elif I sit still I might get a little bit of food but lively's differently match more lively mind playing no quiet yeah yeah yeah she's definitely in there it was in a situation like this if I had a letter I'd point bringing another kitten different just keep swapping them out until they were in the right frame of mind to actually work with because this one's and slightly too playful mood to get the perfect shots at the moment but you never know we might flow kit there's always a matter of announce of that an animal yeah maybe yeah yeah bring the can can e got cute with not quite looking up I need the direction up through them when she was doing that so if you could bring the she is she's calming down which could be good I know she is fast but they move like lightning things just bring it back to the front again she's definitely coming down to sent funny a little kittens to suddenly think already I'm quite tired my son way might need to calm it down just a little bit with oh she's discovered the robin again johnny just go and show her no lola and to see whether she actually focuses only lively yeah she is very very very distracted yeah how we gonna time way need to rip it up yeah alright stop it that was a bad photographer lost interest for a second yeah get back I might be able to get her attention yeah a few doesn't like so if you just actually hide that yeah which she gets it will she find if you just think you know wait just bring the bar around her neck just a little bit more decisive that's called she is just just give her a little even just pick her up for a second and give her a little tickle and she might just chill I'm determined to get I'm determined determined determined to get the perfect shot up that's right I'll just fix it up and we just chill just too many toys yeah she's just fired up but too much if we just keep it calm for a second I think if she gets one person to look at ya better yeah it's very good cool I wanted to put that around the back so if you just wait yeah yeah I'll be right really once she if you just place it down and we'll see if we can just get it and just chill he's going again and see if you can get I was just waiting for that eye contact yes just even it's just give a little pet on there and the safe to settle down in particular under the chin might get a set with a hit up yeah just get a chill just a little bit oh patient yes yes do it's close very very close you like just down a little bit with it if you can oh, this going again yet that could get it just gonna just watch your island what I'm what I'm aiming for instance that the heat to discard the island directly through the lens if you can receiving get a bit more front on if you can nearly there with hopefully you and I don't know there's something something what she really wants in the back corner of the she likes it she was a little bit hunched in that shot but it's still really cute that's still cute how's it looking to begin the susan eyes yeah yeah well let's try one more try the fingers again oh that's good now you're peaceful yeah that's right? You're doing a great job around one of the tile ground would have been really, really cute but what town? Yeah, it was safe to sit you just bring it right to the agency if she should just keep walking off those she's losing interest he's head she's sort of we would probably swap out getting in the stage but I think we're I think we'll stop in a minute in us, a feeling, if if you've got any questions, fire away. If you've got any questions just like and try and answer them as we're going already, suggestions teaching me how to do my job. Would you ever use catnip when you said you want the cats to be called? Catnip is, yeah, yeah, exactly what the yes, I suppose, like there's, a thing that there's a natural and drop called rescue remedy, which some people use on babies, which you can use on animals, which I haven't haven't done, but it's probably an okay thing to do, and I'm not sure, yeah, how, how it would be.

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