Photographing, or more accurately, creating silly pet pics, is one of my specialties. I create these pictures of cats, dogs, mice, elephants, cows and other animals by combining photography with digital compositing and manipulation. I use Photoshop to combine numerous photos and create anthropomorphic scenes and situations of our animal friends. The whole idea is to bring a bit more humor and fun into the world by treating others to the unexpected delights of LOL pet pics.
For example, in this photograph of three cats zooming down a walkway on razor scooters, I first found a location that featured a meandering path alongside some rolling hills green with spring grass. Next I arranged to have an animal trainer bring several "professional" cats to my photography studio. I worked from a layout, that is a drawing, of what the final image should look like. I might add here that the image was originally created for a greeting card company. Using the layout I made sure I photographed each part of each cat in the position and lighting that I would need to put the final photograph together. When we do our shoots for these images, part of my Animal Antics collection, we make sure we also have on hand any props and or wardrobe apparel that we might need. In this case that was only the scooter. After photographing the cats, the scooters, and the location, I use Photoshop to put all the images together into one final photograph. There are a lot of cat and dog lovers out there that not only enjoy these silly photos, but also appreciate the images used on a variety of gifts products such as coffee mugs, calendars, journals, tote bags, mouse pads and more at CafePress.com. The images are also available for licensing for advertising, editorial, corporate and promotional uses. I love photographing cats, they are such amazing athletes...though the only thing that motivates them is food! I am always impressed with how a good animal trainer can get the most out of an animal without stressing them. A stressed pet is not a good model! As it is it takes a tremendous amount of patience to work with animals, particularly when you need to get all the very specific angles and parts that I need to get in order to complete one of these pictures. A good trainer, a professional animal (one who is used to these environments and is chosen for their tolerance of such things) and lots of time can usually be counted on to produce the results we need. But not always...so we tend to arrange, whenever possible, to have back-up animals on hand. An important point about a good animal trainer (we use Bow Wow Productions), is that they usually have back-up animals. That is, they can bring two or three cats that have a very similar appearance, so if one cat just doesn't feel like working on a given day, they have one or more that can be substituted. As you might imagine, this all doesn't come cheaply. We try to make our dollars go further by ganging up our animal shoots. We try and shoot enough animals at once to provide for a dozen or more images. Usually this means about three consecutive days of photographing animals, two days for shooting props and wardrobe, and a day or so for shooting locations...and that doesn't even account for location scouting, finding props and wardrobe, and casting for the right animal talent. On top of that, it takes me at least a day of digital imaging for each of our photos. We now have over 200 hundred of these silly animal pics in our collection...and we are still adding more. Recently we have added a number of elephant and cow photos. As you can imagine, they are much more difficult to photograph than cats and dogs. Cows are harder than elephants. You can have an elephant sit, stand, lift its feet, etc. Cows, well, they just stand there and look at you like you are an idiot! Mice are also difficult to photograph. They are so small that you have to much in tightly to get a good image to work with. If you need to have them holding something then it is necessary to get a tight shot of their little hands…and as cute as those little hands are, they are very difficult to get in focus and in the correct position, The mice don’t exactly pay attention to our requests…and they have this habit of moving quickly and unexpectedly. Trainers don’t like to work with them either…they have nasty little bites!