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Integrating Animal Photography into your Business

Lesson 11 of 31

Live Family Shoot: Standing & Chair Set Up

Norah Levine

Integrating Animal Photography into your Business

Norah Levine

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Lesson Info

11. Live Family Shoot: Standing & Chair Set Up

Lesson Info

Live Family Shoot: Standing & Chair Set Up

So, what I was thinking of, for this one, it might be fun to have a detail shot of your legs and Saul sitting next to you and Grant next to you, I don't know. Yeah With the lights, so I'm gonna set up the light for that, I'm gonna, yeah. Do you want it right behind you again? Hmm? Do you want it right behind you again? Yeah, yeah that'd be great. (child talking) You would love him to... To loose the balloon I know, it's so risky it's like... I know, do you know what I could do to replace it? Or would that be, like, small? Yeah, I could see if I have something in my bag that's not super loud. Oh, do you want to hold my pipe cleaner? What's this magical item? Oh my goodness, this is a magical pipe cleaner. It's a trade though, bud. It's a trade, you wanna trade it? You have to give up the balloon for the pipe cleaner. Yeah, look at this, boing! Can you give Miss Nora the balloon? Give Miss Nora the balloon for the pipe cleaner. We'll trade it? (child murmu...

rs) Here you go, oh! Good job! Oh, that's pretty neat, okay, nice trade. Good trade So, I'm just gonna set up, so we've been switching gears from working with studio light and now natural light and now studio light again, it's not ideal for me to switch back and forth, but sometimes that happens and that's okay, so just give me one second to set this up. So, I'm gonna have you stand right here just so I can shoot test and maybe not so close to that wall, maybe about here in the center area, yeah, that's good, awesome, so, yeah, I'll just shoot a test, put our light on, that's actually pretty good, so let's get, we've got some treats for Saul, right? Yeah So, Saul's gonna be right next to Meg. Do you know what side? Nope, I think either side would be okay. That's good. You're being risky, you're being risky. (child talking) Here, maybe hold it close to camera. And if you can put your hand, I know you're taller than, but if you can touch the top of her head, that would be great. Hey, squeaker! Sit, sit, oh, sit Yeah, that's great Good girl, stay. And come over right here Yeah Oh, that's good. That's sweet, nice, you wanna, here he comes. Wanna hold my hand, can you hold my hand? Achoo, achoo, Saul, look wanna treat, wanna treat? See, uh, that was good, awesome, that was really cute. So, I might switch, let's bring that green chair if you would, so I love how Saul gives you shake, so I was thinking it would be cute, right there is perfect, oh, you're such a big help, um maybe backed up a little bit, yeah, that's good, so I was thinking it would be cute, I'm gonna just be you for a second, is if we can have Saul sitting in front of you and then you guys having that interaction of shaking, yeah, just keep your hair kinda pulled away, so it doesn't fall in your face, yeah, let's do that. He's taking a water break, so it's all good. And if you need a treat, I will give you one. Come here, baby. Yeah, that's one of her tricks for a treat is a shake or a high five. Okay. Hey, Sauly Bear, can you come this way? And sit, oh, shake. Oh, that's sweet. I get the whole thing, she gave me the whole thing. (laughs) Let me give you another one. That's cute. I'm gonna go to some natural light here. Okay, yeah, and so for the next couple moments if she'll do shake or anything that you guys interacting, I'm gonna try to just capture that. Can you do touch? Touch, touch, touch, shake. A little bit dark Good girl, what about the other paw? Oh, she's kind of, oh, that's good! Shake, good girl. Aw, that's great. How about high five, high five, boom. Oh, boom! High five, oh I know that was hard. That's cute, and then if she wants to come in front of you here, we could get a couple of shots here. Ready? (dog barking) Oh, my goodness, turn around. Will she go up on that chair next to you? Yeah, let's see if she'll do that, kind of in the background, so you guys would be side-by-side. Ready? (dog barking) Oh my goodness, get up here, you get up here. (dog barking) Can you come here? You're a talker! (child talking) What? (laughing) He's like, I'll get up. Maybe she comes around this way, yeah. I'd like you to get up, can I get a treat? Sure. Ready, all the way, all the way, all the way, thank you. Good, yeah and then you sit right next to her, yeah that's good, perfect, and I would say just kind of give her some love and, yeah. Where's Grant? Hey Grant... And you can just look at Saul, yeah, oh baby girl. Maybe, oh that's cute. So, get in real close with her if you could get kind of your face right next to hers, like kind of cheek to cheek there, I know she's interested 'cause you've got the treats, so... Should we look at you, or... Yeah, that'd be great, I'll have you look at me. Hey, look, wanna treat, wanna treat? That's good, oh, sweetness, make sure my exposure's are okay, I'm gonna come in a little closer. And let's pull your hair back just a little bit, awesome, thank you. (child yelling) Oh my goodness. (laughs) You're fine. (child crying) Shake it off. What happened? You're fine. (laughing) Aw, so you've had Saul for a long time? Yeah, mhmm. So, she was your first baby. She was our first baby. Yeah, that's great. And at this point, she's kind of a shared dog with my in-laws Oh really? Yeah, she loves to go over there so much. (panting) Want a treat? That's good, maybe let's have her down here, I'll put her in between your legs, I'm gonna turn the chair, oh if she's gonna lay down, that's fine, that's cute, yeah, or not (laughs), so I'm gonna turn that chair around for you, have you sit here, okay, good. Can you sit in between there? And you'll be kind of blurry in the background. Hmm, hmm, you're silly Grant. Can you do a spin, hey, Sauly, can you spin? (dog barking) Yes, okay, stay. You got a monkey on your back over there. Look, where's Grant, anybody seen Grant? Where's Grant? Peek-a-boo, where's Grant?! I don't see him, I think he's gone! Look, treat, hi! Hello, can you stand up, oh my gosh (laughs). Okay, good, I think you did awesome, we got a lot of great shots, yeah, so I think we'll switch it up just a little bit, so we can keep onto some different learning topics, but yeah, thank you, so excited. Thank you so much! You did such a good job, Saul. Yeah, hey Sauly, you ready, can you stand? Thanks, birthday boy. Thank you, can you say thank you to Miss Nora? Thank you You're welcome. (camera clicks) That was great, thank you, awesome. Nora, that was once again so fantastic to watch you go through all of the stages of the craziness that happens in these photo shoots. Tell us what worked, what didn't work, what your advice would be for folks. Yeah, so I mean, I think the biggest challenge for me in this shoot is the age range, so Grant was in a really good mood, so that was great, and we had the biggest challenge is getting him connecting with Saul, it's pretty typical that, like, most kiddos like two years and younger, they're not necessarily really, they're not aware at a level that they would be when they're older, and so they're not engaging as much, and so at this age, it's more about getting them in the frame and getting them present and engaged and looking happy for the images, it's a little bit less of kind of having them engage with the dogs as much as maybe an older five or six year old would, so yeah, so that part was a little bit challenging, but he was in a great mood and Saul was really patient and really willing to participate, so that was on our side for sure, and I was glad I tried some different things, and I haven't had a chance to look at them yet, but I'm gonna do that now. Let's look at 'em! Let's see what we got. So, at the end it, I kinda feel like, in a normal situation, it's almost like when you decide the shoot's over, that's when everything changes, and so in that situation, I would have kind of hung out and I actually think I would have been able to get some more shots of Saul and Grant together, just the two of them, but, yeah, so and using the light kind of, it was a totally different look and that's not something that I might do too much, if I decide to shoot with a strobe, I might typically stick with a strobe throughout the shoot, but we got some interesting, you know, some shots where everybody's kind of engaged and looking at the camera, and that was a big goal for me, initially, so, we did have the red balloon in there, but I feel like it it'll be a good memory for Meg to remember and it's kind of, like I said in the beginning, a priority issue, you know, choosing his happiness over the idea of having a red balloon in the shot, so it was a little bit dark on some of these exposures, so sometimes when I work quickly, I'm not quite where I wanna be, but I feel like some of these exposures are a little bit off, but, yeah, so we got a lot of options here, and, like I said, Saul was pretty tolerant, and whenever I have the opportunity to get a solo shot, I'm gonna take it, you know, so sometimes, my intention might be the group shot and if that's not happening in that particular moment, and I notice something else happening, I'm gonna take advantage of it, so yeah, and then we moved on, I did some, like, turned the light, the strobes off and gave me the opportunity to work with just the natural light, and I was focused mostly, when Meg was looking at Saul, I was focusing directly on Saul, and that's kind of an approach that I have in general is when people are looking at animals, I like to keep the focus centered on the animal, so there's some sweet moments, and then it was like, well, let's see what Grant does in the background and then we tried this movement series which I appreciate Meg for trying, and it's kind of fun, so yeah, I mean even that shot to me is kinda fun, like, it's not perfect, but it's kind of a fun element to have the movement there, so I was glad I did that, and I think that would actually look really nice in black and white too, so yeah it was good, hard but good.

Class Description

Pets play a large part of every household, be it the best friend or first “child.”  Yet capturing their personalities is often more difficult than just a click of the shutter.  Instructor Norah Levine’s photographs are often defined by her clean compositions and authentic moments shared by people and their pets.  Now you can join Norah as she shows you the basics of pet behavior and how to get animals comfortable with the camera.  After this class, you’ll be able to capture great images of pets AND learn how to incorporate them into your family photography.   

In this class you’ll learn:

  • How to incorporate pets into your family photography.

  • Gain an understanding of animal behavior and key body language cues.

  • Build a business model that allows you to appeal to commercial, private and nonprofit markets.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Norah Levine Book Coupon Code

Norah Levine Resource Guide

Pet Packing List

Pre Shoot Questionnaire

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



Norah is really great and I learned a lot watching her. Even non-pet related things, like how she's continually trying to better herself were really inspiring to me. Since watching this, I've learned to take every shoot as a learning opportunity by evaluating what went right and what didn't, and thinking of what I can do next time to do better. I liked the way she showed interacting with animals in a way that doesn't stress them (well, depending on the animal there may be some level of stress anyway I guess...) too. Great class.

Chelsea Beauchamp

So inspiring! Great information on both family pet photography as a craft as well as the business side. Norah obviously knows what she's doing and has tons of experience, so it's a good chance to hear/see what it's really like to take this on as a specialty whether it's the focus of your work or one of many parts of your work. She focuses not just on the mechanics, but on the personal side of working with people and animals. You can tell she's passionate about what she does, too. It's only been one day of class and I already feel totally inspired!