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Camera House : Better Pictures 9
Feature Pet PORtRAItS See more of Bronwyn’s work at petclix.com.au She suggests that when dealing with animals you need to be “adaptable”. “Cats are usually more difficult to shoot than dogs, mostly because they don’t care what you want from them. Dogs are eager to please...” As for her creative process, Liebke admits that she tends to see “everything around me in frames”. “I think this is a conditioned response from spending so much time behind the lens. On a shoot I evaluate the area I have to work in, what the background is like and I visualise the image I want to take. Then, I do whatever the pet wants. Which may end up being nothing like what I had first imagined!” She describes her photographic style as “shooting by the seat of my pants”. Explaining, “most animals are fairly unpredictable. A successful shoot involves a lot of observation and anticipation. I try to use predominantly natural light and mostly shoot outdoors. I think animals are most beautiful doing what they love: running, swimming, lazing under a tree, cuddling their human!” Her idea of a great photo is one that evokes a mood. “I want to feel something when I look at an image, whether it be glee or sorrow or that fabulous ‘aww’ you get when looking at a puppy. The eyes are very telling, it is important to get the catch-light in them or else the image looks flat. I love to capture the quirkiness, the individuality of an animal. I think what some people class as ‘imperfections’ (like an under bite or lots of drool) are what makes your pet who they are... And utterly beautiful.” Of course, making the moment look perfect also involves some post production work and while Liebke says she is by no means a “a professional retoucher” she does admit that “every image needs to be edited, even if only a little bit”. “I don’t do anything like dropping in a blue sky if it’s a grey day, or in other words, creating something that wasn’t there. I am a bit old- fashioned I guess in that I want the photograph to capture the moment as it was.” She attributes the recent boom in pet photography to the fact that most people “love their pets as part of the family and it is becoming more ‘acceptable’ to express it. Words like ‘fur kids’ are now commonplace.” Apart from that, Liebke thinks animals make a challenging subject for the shooter. “Animals can be extremely difficult to photograph well, especially if they are really active...” ■ “A successful shoot involves Alotof observAtion And AnticipAtion. itrytouse predominAntly nAturAl light And mostly shoot outdoors” top 5 tIPS fOR PeRfect Pet PIctuReS 1. Befriend your pet first and introduce them to the camera. Allow them to get close to it and learn it will not hurt them 2. Get down low – get on their level for a different perspective 3. Bribery. Treats always help... 4. Make sure their eyes are in focus 5. Relax your subjects, make it natural and fun. Capture their personalities 5. Don’t be afraid to roll in anything undesirable. You’re washable! 14 012_Bpics9_Pet_v3_corrected.indd 14 4/06/12 2:58 PM
Better Pictures 8
Better Pictures 10