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Shoot: Large Scale Sets - Multiple Animals

Lesson 25 from: Animal Photography

Rachael Hale McKenna

Shoot: Large Scale Sets - Multiple Animals

Lesson 25 from: Animal Photography

Rachael Hale McKenna

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Lesson Info

25. Shoot: Large Scale Sets - Multiple Animals

Lesson Info

Shoot: Large Scale Sets - Multiple Animals

So basically, there's a few things you have to think about when you, um, when you come up with an idea, is it realistic? Is it going to be possible to do? And then, of course, what animal is right for the concept? So hear my vision. I've come up with a bathtub idea really, really would love a great day for the shot, the two great danes, which we found our magnificent but they are a little bit more sensitive to this type of thing, so we're just gonna see if we can. We did bring auggie and rocky and the other day and tested them in the bath time too, to see rocky was definitely a lot more timid, and as soon as we approached him towards the bathtub, he backed off so I could read immediately that he had a negative feeling about the bathtub, so it was probably not gonna be possible, but all gay, we did get around around him when we did manage to get him into the bathtub very set down, he actually tried to lie down. The blossom is way too big. You can't actually lie down and batter, so I'm n...

ot going to be able to work with you. If we do manage to get him in there, I'm not gonna be able to work with them very long because he cannot lie down and great danes of big dogs they don't need to lie down to be able to restore things, so I'm also when you're doing concept, what animals got the look what you're after? Of course I'm I'm wanting great danes for this, but it might not work because it might not be the right breed and if you're working with a dog, what? What bring a suitable inactive dog or a place that dog with the ket amore dose I'll care for you in a playful kit have you got a really active vision for your shot? What props to read a needed can I sauce the props or do I need to have the maid? Can I personally make my own props like I often do make my own props? My mom taught me very well how to use a sewing machine when I was young, so it comes in really, really handy. Andi I've often used paper measure to create hits on things like that for animals, but so you might have to employ someone else to make something for you so there's all sorts of things you need to think about doing it and also do you need to train the animals ideally with this I probably would have head organ life would have more time to prepare a little bit more with organ rocky. We probably would have brought them in a lot more regularly. Maybe dunmore training with them in the bathtub and things, but and that's probably had. It has been a concept I was doing back home. Um, new zealand within in my studio environment, I would have trained the dogs for longer took for this particular shot. Andi, studio or location. Can you create your idea on location? Can you go to a location with your concept is already there and then you can the animals go to that location? Well, you best to take things with you to the house where the animals are, and it should create something there. Or are the animals able to come to you in your studio where you can then have a city built up like we have a situation today when I'm doing a concept like this, I often have a workbook idea and actually draw up plans of exactly how I want to do a shot. This is a lot of you have asked me about this image, so I'm going to tell you the secrets behind how I created this sort of kissy wearing roller skates. So I had a concept I wanted I had to create for why dogs a bit of them kits, I had to create an athletic looking dog for a called fitness fanatic, so I thought, all my dogs perfect she's, a complete she's, really, really active loves running, so and I thought here in roller skates would be brilliant. So what I did, I had a scene respect ground, like what we had with penelope this morning, the paper background, what I did, I had a very, very thin piece of wood underneath, which you can see, I've illustrated here in my hand drawn diagram, and then I nailed nails through that wood so that I could be in push the roller skates onto the nails once, so basically, put the wood down floor with the nails, already stay sticking up, pulled the paper down, place the paper over top of the nails, so the nails were poking through the paper. Then I got the roller skates, which I had measured exactly how, because he would be standing, so I knew exactly where the nails should be in the wood, and we're really I wanted to leaks to be positioned, and then I just basically go to sleep him or think it wasn't pretty much banged the bank, the the wheels, the really, really thick rubber wheels into the nails on the on the board, so that those because they had I not done that the dog would have stood in the roller skates and roller skates would have gone like this, and it just would have been a disaster. There's, no way. I would have got that dog back into the roller skates, but this way she felt safe. But as soon as I put kids, even though she was my dog, as soon as I put it into the role issue she's like, what are you doing to me? And so instantly ears went down tail between the legs, so she was unsure and sort of thinking this is really weird. So I knew the one thing which got kersey really, really happy was the vacuum cleaner so on, and it sounds really weird. So basically, to get that smile on her face and the tail going so that we knew we had happy dog action within the shot, I got my assistant beside me. I had my camera on a tripod in this situation, so I could tell I could cause because he was my dawg. I commanded cozy to stay, she had she had a very, very good stay command, so I told her to stay while my assistant is like teasing who with the vacuum cleaner which he normally chases around biting and just going nuts with because there's this like, hey, the vacuum cleaner and the tail's going but this is but I'm telling you to stay she's just like well, okay, okay, okay, so there's a few times you're sure she jumped out and took off around trying to bite the vacuum cleaner and things, but then we put it back in the roller skates, but I finally when she settled, I got that shot where she realized are going to stand on these things, but I'm still god, I missed having fun because I'm sort of like interacting with that crazy machine, which I love to chase so that's how I managed to get her with the right expression but standing in something she felt a little bit more insecure about and that destroys the, um my lighting setup here, which is a very, very similar lighting system we got here now I've now bounced the behind me you can see I've bounced the fresh off the ceiling so we've got much more of a surround light and I've got natural light coming in from all the windows the lights brightened up a bit for me thank goodness, which is great, it was a bit dull this morning from per minute penelope unfortunately and then so this was all in my studio at home I had windows all the way down the side that was the background I had a film like bounced off the ceiling exactly same scenario here and then I had reflectors bounced on the side which I fortunate don't really need here because we've got a white seats it's just bouncing everywhere anyway so you guys are going to be able to see what we're doing and we're not going to make the dogs feel even mohr and secure by like I'm isolating the area even further so should we give this issue I think I've got one more slide actually yes I did the great danes in the bathtub I've told you pretty much about what I did but here on the keynote you've got that the concepts of what I was thinking within this image so I got joyce here att creative life has done amazing job finding me the props I asked you to find for me so she's got me aunty bathtub I've gotta shower curtain which I want to drape around ideally the scenarios or g will sit in the bath too right around the shower curtain would get put phone bubbles all over him with me we've made some pre pre made phone bubbles just with normal bubble bath which is non allergenic algae like two dogs and things is perfectly harmless so we'll put bubbles around there's no actual water in the bath um we don't want to bring in another element which is going to make it even more difficult and then my aim is to get nice soft, relaxed expressions on the dogs I don't want for this image and needs to look like they're having a relaxing bath so therefore we don't want a really really alert excited looking dog so it is they really relaxed now, which is fantastic they've been in here for long enough to sort of get get an idea of how things are, what things are going to be like and if we all stay calm then hopefully we should be able to keep them in a nice, relaxed, relaxed state he and my concept as you say wass to possibly get two dogs in the bathtub but these size dogs no way I don't know what I was thinking in that regards, but and inside the bath I've also got where probably auggie doesn't doesn't want this, but we will protect this out but I have got a non slip met, which you can see is just going to stop them from slipping on there straighten up again before you put them, but we don't actually need that in the actual shots and we'll get that out of the way and this was the diagram which I drew up and supply to creative live to show them sort of the concept which I wanted yeah, so with the keynote, you'll get all of this so you can see exactly where my vision came for this image so let's through us. So let me introduce or g and rocky with tiered and kathy? Yeah said you want to do you want to bring the dogs over? And then, well, I'm just gonna put this down. Hey, guys, so it's just really important that we just keep trying to escape it. Come with us to get used to the environment. So what is goingto do what we did the other day and just see what I've done a tea stall ready on the lights so I'm all ready to go when the dogs are really so yeah, the harnesses off if we can just leave them what their collars on. So at the state, I know that rocky is not going to go in the bath, so we're gonna work with me, which is a large brown and white dog, but we need to keep the dogs are very, very much with dogs are very dependable on each other. They get separation anxiety. So I have to make sure rocky is near teo to auggie so that they don't you remember this? Yeah, so cathy I'll get you to go around on the other side of the bath like we did the other day so now you're clear tiered once we get him in there you stay close until I'm I'm seeing a camera really really time to take the shot and then if you just keep telling him to stay and you're waken move you back now do you need someone else to I'm just gonna straighten us up you need someone else to hold rocky for you way probably yeah yeah what what you doing that's right but we'll need to have rocky probably not what the camera just in case he calls you need to stay around so danielle with rocky because organ does get separation anxiety right? So okay can everyone see clearly enough? What? How we're doing this guy's old okay, let's see here so what we're doing here is just gonna lift him out of the way people but just be careful, buddy. This is the sort of thing we need to be really careful with. Yeah, so if I come round on the side daniel, can you bring rocky over the side just behind the bath at the moment just so that he his clothes yeah, I hear you saw a little looking after such a big deal okay, all right, good boy, good boy way change which I think it is here look it then so he's getting a treat now just to keep him from are you sitting so if you just stay with him I'm going to go back to them so what I'm going to do first is get some shots of him in the bath without any other elements so if you guys to stay with him keep on telling keep telling him he's a good boy you can treat feats and more treats and stuff and cathy you're a writer I'm gonna be keeping kathy and behind the bath holding august lied so that kathie though if he feels like he's gonna jump out, let him go don't pull him back because he could hurt himself I'm denny if you step back a little to stay over there with them yeah, yeah, I will be only gives attention so if you can just to step a little bit further back I'm just gonna do a test I'm just doing standing first memo might get him to set stay forces just watch your family get good was good, right? So I'm just gonna do it no, no don't try to how did it get down this time he's folded himself look at him if you just crashed down here just gonna get up I'm just gonna do a test just to see what he's got our look out of hey seems really really comfortable in there that's gonna be great right so we've got a good concept what we're gonna do if you just keep feeding him and keep him happy what we going to just bring rocky round so he's really comfortable here my concept was that he was going to be sitting up but what you might try showing what he's been extended way might bring I'm gonna bring rocky round to the front so I'm just want rocky to sit on the men here right here I'll hold on to hold onto for g so ideally we want to bring raki in to sit on the sit on the bench if I hold onto or g yeah I think my body is good good well you don't have a concept a e no yeah that's cool well it's what we might do we might try and get the perfect shot with auggie first and then we'll so if we just keep okay okay seems really good so you can just you need to stay out a little bit more so I'm no city you stay while I get myself just try not to done ruffle up the myth when you move in that's fine that's fine. You know what I need to just make sure that those that he's out of shot a little more he's in shock there so I'm just wondering if you do bring him around the other side so he's over on the other side is he going to be a right away from you are you having fun so if you just sit over the way pretty good always stadium wait so if we can get you to sit again just come for just give just give me a sec stay that's what's gonna lie down straight away king hopeless um so if you can catch me if you could just hide don't move yourself back a little bit that's you right there oh who are you gonna come in gonna take it just to get your right we stay ah mmm mmm mmm mmm mmm mmm mmm that's quite nice just coming in closer because I haven't got all the other elements which I too thought off what's this if you just tell him to stay in this walk around this way good boy good boy right I'm wondering what do you think he's gonna be like if we bring in some of the elements I think we can do it I'll come up and uh I think you certainly try try it ok true, maybe I would be great if I could get him to set up do you think he was sitting through him or he's obviously feeling more comfortable lying down line down to get him to sit up yeah, thankfully his head comes above the bar and I could see him but let's bring in some bubbles you know we got some other bubbles which we've got you here oh look a thing this is a water element what do you think of it so basically these just already made pre made bubbles if they're like snow he might try to get some really okay you know what my old friend and a good fish what race like yeah like this so basically what I'm doing here is creating an element of this is if he's in a bubble I'm only the towel to dry my hands on um after I've done this I don't know no no no no no no don't take him from there all right jack thanks, it's ok now he's sitting up he's setting up so I mean she oh now that's a lot of getting eye you're such a good boy girl such a good boy so just see if you can keep him sitting up all right so what do you think of that oh yeah oh no no no no no want to bring treats up to his nose level you might be able to get him up thanks described it when you have a different I'm just gonna I'm just gonna bring it with these guys I'm gonna bring it element bye element and so I'm just gonna do a perfect baby way keep an eye on that so that's really weird weii connected just but he's gonna go down and see oh it's quite cute though with them okay I just got one piece of bubble good boy darling you're doing really good have we got someone else we could maybe take over from daniel withholding rocky just one of the studio audience if you could just come and just just be really gentle with them and just step with them really gently and then daniel can I just get you to help me with putting bubbles on I just need a few more on on him on him on him just a few on the floor as well would be great I just don't really gently so you don't yet he's really good you want to give him another treat well is in there just tow keep a memory is being satya good boy that might be a little bit too perfectly balanced on need you know the sort of just slide off his food that's why I actually love it I love it having him sitting up if we can so as you can see I've got caffee one of the finest in behind no no it's not you're fine I'm just explaining why you're there just so that he feels safe he's got someone and also there's someone there holding a lead justin casey because if he was awfully did he would know that he was free and we just jumped straight out so just a few more up on the um on his head if you can kathy you're allowed to sit up while we're doing all of us I'm not sure you get the moment you think down there doing great that's cold that's so good but I actually just made a little bit on his chest maybe if you can just grab you just that she's going down that's fun just danielle just move it but at the front on the bath is just blocking my vision of his face just move sliding along about it perfect that's good great already thanks cathy you teo can we see if we can get him to set up but he just you can if you said I could stay be a good boy good boy he is I can't believe I was thinking was going to be really challenging to get a quite a relaxed expression on him but he's just perfectly re elected on this great paid and made a ll the difference putting him in the bath the other day when you get this it has grown okay just walk behind me tiered said thatyou who's watching your island bogey just come right behind me good boy I would love to bring in rocky if we can take it can you do me a favor and it's gonna get rocky and just can't be used to sit up now just keep will become waken either get rocky lying on the ground right down here sit down. You see how wrong he's much more timid about he thinks that we're gonna try and put him in the bath with them which is not a good thing. So ideally he's lighting police do you have a lot of field? Oh, yeah no, this is this is where I probably preferably would made him to be sitting, you know, trying to get him there but he's he's not wanting to be neither about when he's there he wants to face the wrong way. Okay, if you if you bring him around I'm just going to stand here stand just yeah, maybe that will help you stay here. Yeah, just you know, you want to sit with your brother? Do you not want to sit next to your brother is a possible to try this and facing that way. Yeah. Compositionally yeah, that's you're going if I did, if I haven't sitting the air when I'm probably gonna have to do is the truth. I'm just explaining so people know what I'm gonna do I'm gonna have to do to focus is because he'll be out of the focal plane sitting at the front and so but I could do that, I could probably do a focus on on the front I don't know being easier yes face if he doesn't want it must be really nice to get a shot of the two of them together if we can but if he doesn't want to be near the bath and I'm not gonna force the issue on get try back there where he's facing he wants to turn and face face him which puts us being such a good boy it's all right, it's not ok wonders where he's coming? Okay, did you see the the anxiousness of or giveem he's like where's? Rocky gone, so it does? Yeah. Everyone's right here. He's a right going there. That's cool. Just see, I'm not sure if it's gonna work with him and they're within the composition of the image. Ideally, it is gonna definitely work better affairs at the front of the bath. We can try meth the back can you if you bring him next to you, cathy, and just get him to sit up with the best of the bath. I just see danielle. We might need a few more bubbles in there. Much left that sort of dissipate quickly, mrs hey, stay right there. That's a good boy that's a good boy because you're going down. Hey, thanks thinks everyone wants to play on the ground already, okay, okay, can I just get you to come down to come around the front team with him? If you could just go in and just keep or g come if you come around the front with rocky and actually lie down next to him and see if you lie down on the mit and just but you just don't walk away there's a few thinks he's getting out just people tell him to stay there. Sit just probably waiting till we got rocking settled sorry, daniel his problem. So he needs to be much closer to the bathtub. Do you think you'll go on the met or join a move? The myth is that the meant what he's worried about or the thought he'd prefer to lie on the men, but it just takes time. That's all messed up. That's right? That's right. That's it something the dogwood don't you go. There you go, that's. Good for you, boy. Just your good, can you? It's slippery what? He let you push him over a little bit or no and you just stay the right quote. Stay right with them until we settle this claus. Yep, yep. It's good to stay there with them until we settled on danielle. If you could just I've got those bubbles of right in front of all these face there bogies at being a dream is being so good, good, this white from tau let's just say if you get a few little bubbles on um organs here don't go anywhere near rocky with them I think were completely just destroy that sit up that's great cathy just keep keep adding on just keep him come everything's great I quite like the fact that rocky's ruffled up the met I quite like it because that's what a dog would do yeah nothing voice oh rocky's okay jenny what you doing tio do you think do you think I think you might stay there without you holding that so if you drop the lead but just put it in the bathtub with him just so it doesn't just keep telling him to stay just stay there and just get him to sit and lie down again what she doesn't jump out keep keep your hand on him and get him to sit just can you just turn the lead shot goes behind him sorry yeah, perfect. No stay right there stay just keep firmly telling him to stated stay stay every thirty guys stay stay no august, eh stay right there right there right there augie over here while you look at me right here to speak a little bit for the kitty okay, we got one shot or two of them in there it's not the perfect expressions but they're by fear fear did you want to give all give a break a little I didn't get out yet, pacey and I want to break I want a break let's go, but yeah, so this is how we've got we've got two dogs which august being amazing but rocky is a little bit more nervous and but more even though he's got the easier job to do just sitting outside the bathtub he's being a little bit more challenging because he's got that separation anxiety from his owner and that august got the separates a separation anxiety from rocky so we have a catch to situation here were I've gotta keep rocking around to capture the images of orgy, but I would be really nice to get two of them together anyway, but we've got the problem of what I'm going to do now to change that scenario is I'm going to get care fee instead of going behind the birth because all he seems fine in the bath. So a strong tea do you keep a firm command with auggie? I'm going to leave you in control of auggie telling him to stay in the bath and then with rocky cathy if I could just get you do exactly what you did lie down with him, get him to settle in the front of income front linds but you only need to be like this far out of shot, so I'll just tell you when you can stop too but just keep keep his attention on you so he knows exactly where you are when you move backwards, move back really slowly so he doesn't sunday panic isa where you going? So you want me to go back? This is basically that way, but you need teo and then I'm going to try and get their attention to me. Okay, did you just keep a firm command on on organ? You could do exactly what you did, but probably don't walk behind him because he's gonna turn to look, we've gone, come back around this way, but keep just walk telling him to stay as you will away from him. I want you to come out this way. You're not blocking anything. Then come to me at camera because I might need your help to get their attention. Is their very, very focused on you as a cz the mom dead. They are very much nothing that's just the breed. They are that's what they like so it's so we're gonna get all be back in again? No, we're going this way, remember, how do you do this to anybody? Yeah, rockets right here. Okay, good job, honey. Got some treats or not we've been sitting on those ones like a poisoned tea. If you come around on the side, just keep him happy yeah, oh, good we've got more bubbles great so I'll just get the dog settle them in here bring some bubbles so we'll just keep telling me to stay they're down very few misses at the mit don't worry about it that's cool come on. Great job perfect well done so you just stay with them until and I'm keeping the same thing with the leads if you can try and slap them around the back so that they're out of shot much easier for me to retouch out anything if they're behind the dogs so you stay right there because actually just stay with me in the minute I didn't let me get this without troubles first and then we'll worry about bubbles afterwards we still t that a little good so I'm going to get get all right really to show just rocky's leaders slipped around the front again if you could just take it right round the back that would be great I'm ready to get the shots I just all I need is you guys too slowly egil ways way out so just tell him to stay you're out of shot now cathy so that's all good you can stay exactly they're just tell him stay said did you just come to me just talk to them tio what's this lucky who's who's this good boys perfect you guys go back in again we're gonna bring in bubbles as an element now yeah just try and keep them there what you hear so if you can see if you can try and get him back down again so he can stand up for a bit because it's not it's probably not that comfortable from tau set for too long. Well, just help danielle brings him. I'll help you bring two bubbles and just as a concept in them let's just see what you can do it. This is really sticky this ticking teo but it's quite normal with bubbles bubbles can be challenging to work with. I'm just gonna walk around you to bring in some more bubbles what's this you can get out really? Certainly let's just get this thing then we're gonna come over here. I do have a shower curtain concept as well, which was after the side, which I'm probably not going to bring him with these guys because it's going to bring being too much of a challenging it element and but we will do that with jeannie surely you know that you do have that challenge when it comes to bubbles they don't stick very well sorry nearly stolen way should be should be pretty good with that has rocky doing or should we just gonna later rocky just put a few more on the floor in the front there can I maybe actually it's just can you just go off side with with rocking for now and it's going to get organ with the bubbles and so if you can get all you guys sit again just don't go to factory thinks something he thinks you know you can come in a little bit closer with him so he doesn't think that you're going too far that's cool okay stay right there stay stay stay right there stay that's what you think come right behind me here if you can to watches you okay boy that's a good boy stay right auggie. You stay said said sit down no, we're gonna stay inside nice that's alright that's okay that's okay? I think these guys have done really really well, I don't I actually think because they've seen this is only the second time we've had this element I'm going to stop there. I know that I've got a couple of shots, which is great for the owners and they did so so well on that. I think if I push it any food that we risk them getting to a stage with the one name board or they've had too much and it becomes an unpleasant experience for them which is not nice so we're just going to completely stop now and I'm going to have a say a huge thank you to you guys for bringing these ison was going to get that I did have a cloth there it is I'm just gonna grab it and just make sure you're all rubbed down from they didn't even stick to you today so I don't even know if you've got any remnants of anything on you know yeah, so that so that is fantastic and see which way they want us to sleep with you if you guys go straight it's right over that way yeah so I thank you so much. Thanks, rocky. I'm so glad we got a shot of the two of them which was really good. Yeah, I'll be good. Yeah. So it's gorgeous so thank you so much. So what we're going to do now is we're going to bring in jeannie who is a labradoodle is used to have bean on sit before so she's done this awful lot. So what we're probably going to have to do is bring in my entire concept of what I had imagined of bringing in elements of a table with flowers a nice antique mirror possibly the towel stand the shower couldn't so the full shipping we should be able to do with jenny bubbles and all so let's bring over sorry yes no, not sorry. Oh, that was quite incredible quite incredible we do have some questions. Yes don't mind in between so first question that everyone wants to know is what did we make the bubbles out of actually, I'm not sure what they don't know is. I did make sure that they got something which was fine with animals and things. So it's, probably. Actually, I would personally use like a bubble bath, which is used is fine for young babies, which is perfectly fine for animals and things. If you are working with an animal, which has a skin condition, make sure that you make that whatever you're going to use is hyper allergenic. So you're not going to use anything which is going to enter, irritate her, an animal skin, because animal animal skin potentially is a little bit more sensitive than even babies if they do get skin allergies and things. So just just and make sure the onus comfortable with whatever you're using as well, and my understanding is that we just used dawn here, which was safer for animals and babies. Yes.

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