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Shoot: Puppies in Groups

Lesson 7 from: Animal Photography

Rachael Hale McKenna

Shoot: Puppies in Groups

Lesson 7 from: Animal Photography

Rachael Hale McKenna

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Lesson Info

7. Shoot: Puppies in Groups

Lesson Info

Shoot: Puppies in Groups

You guys got any questions at the moment from what I'm doing? Or is it any time you explained it? True? If we have any of the studio audience go ahead, choice of color black backgrounds on the reason I've gone to the blue is because the fabric of god has been dennis's blue also, you know, may I like to use color on color, same thing so it's just keeping keeping a nice californian within the image? Yeah, just to follow up on that, people are asking again, I think you said earlier that you're using cotton fabric. Yeah, is there anything you wouldn't use? I must give I don't use really shiny fabrics because only some after that specific effect to show in the left, if I'm using like a wrinkled fabric effect of something that shine can actually be really good for capturing a natural light. But I do try and stay away from really shiny things because it can reflect light too much. Yeah, great! So see, we've got some cute little blue bandanas high you're pro christian tree yeah, I'm noticing u...

sing fifty you're prime lens lady, I know you are yeah, I quite like it like on the can and I will possibly either used the fifteen mil or the eighty five, but I like to work closely with my animals. I don't like to be too far away um I'd like to have interaction with them so um yeah startinto use a standard leans teo just keep it there's no distortion like what you would possibly get with a wide angle lens or something and I don't need to be that close yeah, but the yeah so that would be the reasoning behind my choice and that it regards this really being close and working in proxy close proximity cute don't you know gorgeous the beautiful coloring that's the paint the the pale blond with the right okay hold if denny if you watch this puppy's that we don't jump off the table or anything that was gonna pop this one on the opposite side so that we've got seems so quiet was manic with the kittens and now it's so calm and beautiful it's like yeah you guys are perfect the other side yep I'm going to pop this little puppy on the other side so I've got ben dinners around the knicks and this is just the same thing I just bought a little piece of fabric from a store just cut it into several squeeze to make bandannas it's just a great way to keep control of your own colors within the images and that sort of thing oh and lynne tale starts going where there's nobody comes and very cute so what I'm gonna do you guys I'm gonna probably need one of you on either side but we're going to make sure we don't block the niche because I'm shooting a natural light you've got to be careful we don't block the light so if you guys could kneel down would be really good and just hold them in position and then I'm going to make my noises now see this little puppy here has got his tail between the legs what it was it's just um it's just the white set down but what I'll try and do you know the going tough like here we go it's a kitten scenario again if they sit on the tail when I try to do is break pull the tail out and bring it round around beside them it's never a good look when it dog's tail between this league's even though it made what might just set that way but it just looks like the dog's unhappy so we try toe keep the tales from being just watch we don't pull the fabric too much over people okay this no one might be a bit too active so what we might do a swap him out I'll just take that watch what the camera on the ground behind you system we're going to swap out with a slightly less sorry ruining your fun okay no you might just get a single shot while we get another one it's too good an opportunity because you are too cute. Mmm. Oh destroying straighten it out what I might do with this one bringing a little visual my not so little visual my big pig e funny noises so what I'm doing now because I've already focused previously it should still be on the same focus I'm just moving my camera in and out to get the right focus for hopefully that no then we get way didn't she get some eye line with that I think yeah we have got some another thing which because these guys have got quite here e little faces when working in natural light it's really important to still try and keep the light so that you get highlights in the eyes the last thing you want to have his works called did I when you've got a balloon no highlights in the eye and just is not it doesn't look nice in humans or animals already let's put this on to you on the side you can probably um seven down yes sit him down and then I'll pop it on gill boy think girl just a girl and this is a boy yeah keeping boy girl boy whoever thought that someone would have so many problems with girls and boys right so we have to straighten it out so what we're gonna do is just stack them under again thanks to you right well you're quiet but you're gonna be a big boy you are a bit more hefty than the others right so what we need if you just keep gil if you just put him back into position I'll get myself ready to see if my noises come do the magic you uh not quite hundred times ago already so so what were the problem having here what I would probably do in this situation I get the tape and tape the edges of the background so we don't have this problem so much but try treats or is that out of here to uh but I'm not sure with these guys with the treats will be n a I think because it had this sleep now they're just waking up so the party wanted to run around but that's right from my magic noises were not working so well I'll say this once so cute but we know what at the moment we need to get them back into the same so they're in the same focal plane so once through the fourth and the other cause I'm working on such a shallow depth of field we're going to get one in focus and one out if that happens and I get the perfect shot while trying to a street two shots simultaneously really quickly where I've got to focus on one and the focus on the other and then in postproduction or stop that's cheating year but it works so we do him that's called to see if you can get them to watch that what move this way. This little one on the right seems good. You wantto amelia if you go on that side and keep an eye on this one and danielle, if you work with them with the feather that would be great. Perfect actually hang out with just two spring that victory brings back to me here yet? No. Yeah doing good though, and I tied to this table is quite slippery, so we're getting a lot of things just get on. We'll try once more attacked the bomb underneath. Like I said before, if you can pop up, I think he's you gonna be distracting the other one now you know who harry going emilia's getting about? Yeah, kill already. Okay, what I'm gonna do rio? This is also what I loved about the four by five camera was always on a tripod and so I could just easily go and move the kid but we're gonna make, you know, make sure them don't know teacher off those already how you guys doing? You guys gonna sit still or not? Are we better off going with something which is a little bit more it's actually there's a few sleeping let's just pick up the to this real blondie and the one at the back in the green color and we might try those bringing them in from asleep might work a little bit and you put a christian well, way quick question while you're getting set up unlighted ing do you? I understand we're probably not using reflector. Would you normally sometimes use a reflector on the other side of filling? I just I don't want to block your vision at the moment, so I normally wouldn't see how we've been a little bit of but that's okay, I can light in that in post production to be the perfect shot, but I normally would have a reflector and on the side just to keep it a little but it's what? It's? Not terrible. No. Yeah, potentially getting a little bit of a deed. I on the right. Would you ever add a little bit of light in the er? Somewhat did I sometimes like to see housed and this image here you've got a good eye highlight reflection in the lift I, but possibly not in the right. So therefore what I might do is actually take that that internal I from mit short flip it and put it into the other eye and then work with it that way. And then maybe you might have to reposition the highlight within the eye, but it's still it's the natural color of the dog's eye and the same metal highlight reflection which is going in there yeah, but yeah, this little things like that I don't post production which cases say is cheating but if it gives you the perfect option can I have a tiny bit of gaffer tape here we got I'm just gonna take their age sorry guys up I'm just gonna bring that didn't want to do it before when they're all sleeping is in a bit of a noisy thing appetite but that should hopefully stop them from right so I'm gonna bring put on mandela's and see if we can get this magic two shots can I ask a quick question about the backdrop, right? Yep. So lori lori had said, are you ever concerned about the wrinkles in the backdrop or is that something you photoshopped out get them out? No leave you normally I would try probably and stretch it out around the poles and things but this is actually this one's not is stretchy fabric. So if it's not perfectly smooth in yet and postproduction but with my shallow depth of field often that drops out anyway the only thing which is going to show up is if there's an actual highlight from the shadow of the natural light too, like you put a little bit of undulating through the background, which means that that might show up with the natural light but I'll just retouching and employs whatever shows in which is a distraction from the image yeah already leased out of the question when you're balancing your light here do you think the dog images look better with balance light or do you mind that two to one three to one ratio and I don't mind it all sort of like I do try and keep it as even as possible just to keep it that soft owns all the way through but if I'm thinking it's a little bit to contrast even I will just just it's slightly in post production which I'll show you when we do the postproduction section yeah yeah but it's not like I might actually sometimes shoot specifically for really really had much more contrast if I'm shooting from a really directional natural light it might completely black and off in one area and then you've just got the dogs profile looking up into beautiful natural light coming in so don't appears on the set often things so but in a situation like this I would prefer to heaven more even so I would bring in a reflected quite close and on the side but as this I don't want to block your vision so we're look at you beautiful right one might need to swap your friend in the mountain side okay so let's bring you in oh just taking okay no playing you guys uh this is the trouble with bringing two of them to get them I think play time already we're gonna have the same scenario is we did we didn't good puppy massage who oh thank a sick isn't it funny you bring one puppy in an instant it's like yeah yeah oh okay well just see if I can mesmerize these guys with a bit of noise do what you can danielle I look at the little faces like let me out you let me eat you go here tiger to see if you're a bit nervous and that's when you know she doesn't yeah it's a bit too full on that's why I do find that natural noises a bitter because sometimes something like that is a little bit to hash this one loves it but this one doesn't we'll just have to oh please I love it yeah not sure if you guys going to do this they need they actually they need to run around more yeah two gettinto we had the perfect opportunity before when they're all had had this sleep and we've got some shots and we brought them in and it was absolutely perfect but now and ideal situation we would probably let them run around a bit more get back into when they're about to either fall to sleep again is a great time to work with them because they're really dopey and does not really have that much energy or or then sorry cute or then waitinto whether our asleep and then you could maybe do some sleeping shots and things but they carry their ok to have a little treat. I have hers, you know you've got who's. All right, I'm sorry. I didn't realize you had. Yeah. That's cool. We'll just escaped what? Keep trying and see. But have you guys got any more questions while we see if we can get that? Do you ever use your deal? Reuse containment like you talked about for the kiddies using vases? Do you ever use that with puppies? I love I love going to antique stores and stuff and getting really gorgeous alone auntie barrels and things I did a shoot with ahead to photograph a live in great dane puppies ones and it was what I got. I got to do what I did a montage of images where I photograph them all individually except for two of those leaving puppies. And I had nine shots in the final gorgeous big display print for the brute for the breeder. So I had had this gorgeous antique little barrel which was the perfect size for the incident. So each public got to sit in them and they did not me different one set leaning against it with I'm out for one set with this league over or one just took the set there really straight up and down and things so you got like and they're quite different looking puppies anyway so we got but a ll the same colors what looked amazing so you had nine images and two of the barrels there was two puppies so that's how you got the eleven so we're worked beautifully and that was just finding a gorgeous little antique barrel which is probably about the size of a little bucket from from an antique store so it was just a really good good prop so yes, I do put puppies in things you know and and that question what came from both valerie and do photography shut up already they into food or they too much too much your finger yeah really okay, just bring them standing to the each of the background actually we'll see if we can get them standing to show yes I'm just what I need to do now is toe see if we can get something if we can get them next I know you set down that's like ugh yeah do nothing like that I might just get that yeah if you try this again see if they'll watch the watch the feathers all that puppy said I love those puppies it's really cute yeah oh just wave it around a bit so they watch it and to see what uh you're taking your bending her off you write with getting it on yeah, just tie it tight enough so it hides the color so what we need to do at the moment the lights were coming on the left is too far forward so what we need to do is bring them so that the same preferably the same focal plane and just bring the feelings wave it around a little bit so that they watch it and they quite interested so really I know foryou wrangling the puppies can I go? You could do it there yeah, I tried to stand on here already so if we could just maybe just try and push the puppies in a little bit closer together okay? Not quite the same as getting when it comes to watching we'll see if we can do anything you want you want someone else to help you on because we're working it too light we're gonna watch that we don't actually blocking any light those well just listen can you just hold this one in the moment? Amelia yeah we're just gonna work with this one. Just bring him through the ford and see if we can get him. So for the four yeah, britain perfectly just pick him up um whore up sorry and bring her forward good gil and we just get the feathers again. She cracks like that quite likes watching the little feelers oh, good gil that's right there's quite you'd actually leave it, leave it yep deceiving get her teaching toe oh get you together ah that's fine if you're sitting like that it's really cute that's really cute that's what she doesn't oh wait just bringing forward but sweetie just free oh all right you just give her her lesson just she's a little she's a little bit more timid this one so we just need teo just give it a pet just make sure she feels a little off those expressions magic cute he's ready you just you just keep checking the uh just bring the fielders are up to the camera can oh very few were just another one brilliant we'll just bring this one in to see if I'll set together oh you blinked you don't get their animals blink as well look at you with this a beautiful really real golden keller is this ginger again hi, ginger no just actually I'm going to try something let's bring them in close together and both of you hold them at the bottom and I'm gonna crop in from the chests up so you get your hands okay? Yep if you know what I need you to beam down as much as possible way don't block the natural light. Yep. So that's what I need you to do is to squeeze them to give this other there I'm gonna try this is well actually can I get someone else just to come in and just help me with the working this to camera never look up but I got a treat I know but because he just pushed the bum push your government on that side that's cool just keep your hands at the front down as low as you can I'm just gonna see moo no no no who? Mmm let's just see if we can um you know, I think I did but tiny but died but we can put change in post production. All right? I'm just gonna do another one. You just bring it up. Hiko perfect. Oh, oh, that's cute that's cute. And now you're saying the image I've got some hands in the background when it comes in see? But I can I can remove those hands and post productions so that's but that's really gorgeous how you've got two little puppy slamming into each other is very, very cute and I can tidy up the bandanna is a little bit the fabric a little bit missing and things but that's easily tied it up so I reckon we've done really, really well with how did you like it for the puppies? Oh, nevermind. Well, let's, do some question do some questions you guys have any in the studio grab mike, but we've got some in the you have any specific advice for other species, so because you've worked with all kinds of animals, yeah oh, another yeah, I have got another signal, which I'm going to be focusing, and I'm working with mohr lot with more challenging and least response of animals that's when tomorrow will be photographing george bailey who's a rivet and also I'll be going into working with more exotic animals lines, tigers, goldfish, old frogs. I've worked with everything all those, and we will be touching base on all those silicon answer plenty of questions when we get into that section. I am so distracted that just like the puppies, the puppies you have spoken, I know focus, focus your incredible, so incredible to watch until your wit, who is joining us from denmark would like to know when you're working with puppies, you have a specific age range that you prefer, like what is the best age for a puppy? Or does it not matter? Definitely the easiest age is the sort of eight, about eight weeks for six to eight weeks is brilliant when they get beyond eight weeks and start being more active. But then espo and then so you've got a period, probably from, say, about ten weeks, two about sort of six months, maybe where they could be a little bit mad. On but we still get shots you're just gonna be a lot more patient and work with them choose the right times to work with them on that sort of thing, but I make most of the time you can work it with any age, but differently. Six to eight weeks is the easiest year I have worked with five week old puppies before, which is ok, but they're just probably not quite as responsive. Um, and so you're probably finding it more out of the age group from six to eight weeks. Yeah, it's so fascinating the things that are so similar between photographing babies and photographing puppies. I am having the right age the right, but the next question that we have is from attorney lie, which says, is there better period of day tohave a photoshoot for puppies? Are they more common the morning or vice versa? Again with baby staying with this like this, transfer trace food into working with babies so easily because of my experience with with animals because it is so different that they're so similar issues are not so different, but working with time rights with the animals doesn't really measure the time of the day, just as long as like, if you were working with adult dogs and things going, make sure they're dead. I had a walk going to the toilet down all those sort of things so differently like a good time is always after the morning walk and that's something bring them in in the mornings or something like that but it really just really depends on the routine of the doll a swell some dog might be better in the evenings that sort of things are just really, really disturbed depends on each individual yeah and speaking of that rick chemical had asked or says obviously a pair of lively kittens that was a great challenge and maybe sleepy puppies are less of a challenge but what is the most challenging breed you've worked with and ru do you think about the breed when you're going in to take photos of things are are you like I will just handle this the way that I handled every shoot are you like oh no not this oh yes I love this breathe yeah every breed is different so if I've come up with a specific idea which I'm wanting to create from my licensing range then of course I would probably choose the correct bring to work for that idea but if I've got a private portrait commission client of something then you deal with whatever's put in front of you so you have tio you've got one dog which is going to come in but as you say meet the owner first find out what they wanting find out what breed of dog owners find out what the character personality is the things they like to do, talk to them whether they want to they want simple a studio portrait or do they want to go on location and do a shoot? We're going to be covering more on location shooting on day, day three of the workshop, but seriously and it's, you just have to just do a research find out about the breed of dog and what's gonna work best with those things, but if you actually come up with an idea, which is a concept you're creating creating for yourself, then you have mohr flexibility is toe which type of breed of cattle, dog or animal you might use to find an elephant to work with something for things that all depends on what you wanting end and the situation with what you're actually working booking with them. So, like I said before, when I said you're animal noises were ridiculous, I meant that in the best possible way because I was almost enjoying them more than watching the puppies. You're so good your puppy bark sounds so realistic this dog over here was having a little bit I'm really excited, but has it taken you twenty years tto learn all those noises and I see that you threw cows and gorillas are you monkey my monkey you know your uncle your great ones I just sort of was like I didn't do this sheep like matt bound like a sheep I could do horses I could do what whatever it is it's just use a practice but he chose not to someone could we get written up and you teach britain howto make an animal noise way should put it on brit don't you have to make a baby a little baby puppy squeak? What do you think brit way we're not we're not joking I must say my husband is brilliant and during a really deep quite ferocious dog noise which is actually sometimes on location works brilliantly to get especially when I was doing the new york dog there was so much destruction on the streets it was I found it really, really challenging as opposed to where I'd normally worked with animal was working in new york was really difficult cause it was just so busy and so much happening and the dogs are actually so used to noise that it was don't pay any attention to the noises and I'ma noises were working hours thinking what's going wrong with me? I've lost my neck but I'm but but my husband's north because he's got a deeper voice and he made this really much deeper and overpowered anything else there was something there like oh my god what was that? So it did get their attention so it depends a czar saying, before you just goto choose the tone and what you want to do, but sometimes my lower high pitched, it'll work just didn't just got drowned out and street noise and things like that. So you need a much deeper, more ferocious sort of noise to come in tow. Yes, you could be good at that one, you know, actually, I actually noticed that when they were up there and they would do something funny, I would laugh on the instant they were looking at me. Yeah, you hear that deeper, deeper noise, exactly, exactly. Yeah, they do respond differently to different tones and that sort of thing.

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