Why Pet Photography?

My photography started as a way to capture some of the locations I visited on roadtrips. I was inspired by photographic artists like Thomas Mangelsen, he photographs animals and landscapes in their natural environment. When I would look at his photography, I would start to learn composition and lighting. I started to learn photography by trial and error. I bought my very first camera and quickly had to upgrade. My first photos were terrible, images taken of a ghost town in Nevada. I then started taking roadtrips to national parks, and attempting to photograph wildlife. I have photographs of hummingbirds, bison, bighorn sheep and a few bears. I would also photograph landscapes at sunrise or sunset. 

 Southern California Sunset

Southern California Sunset

I started to learn more about lighting and the golden hours for photography. I had my photographs entered into contests and sold some limited edition prints. I started to learn studio lighting from a friend. I spent all of my free time learning retouching and portrait studio lighting. One day I was photographing someone and they said can we add my dog into the photo? I have always loved animals and I thought YES of course.  So this seemed like the best way to combine my love of animals and photography. It's a lot easier to photograph domesticated pets than a wild deer. 

 Studio Portrait.

Studio Portrait.

I realized that pet photography was something that just came natural for me. I often have to remember to greet the humans when I meet a new person. I wanted to read a bit more about animal behavior and I did some research on dog training. This would be the building blocks for me to capture wonderful portraits of family pets. Dogs are currently the family pet that I photograph the most. I have photographed hundreds of dogs over the years. I am able to quickly get the dogs attention to the camera. I prefer the dog to have attention towards the camera unless he is chasing a ball or toy.

 Rescue Portrait

Rescue Portrait

Pet Photography takes a lot of patience and animal behavior knowledge.  I also have a love for all animals so that helps with getting great photos. I often donate Bark sessions, and my time to various animal rescues in Las Vegas.  When photographing rescues I am trying to get as many done as possible. So my knowledge of pet behavior helps with getting the shots needed for advertising the available pets. Rescue portraits is also a time for me to try a few ideas. 

 Outdoor Natural light Portrait

Outdoor Natural light Portrait

 I started photographing a lot of pets in natural settings. I started with action photos of dogs running at a local park. I started thinking of other scenic locations in the Las Vegas area, Red Rock Canyon came to mind. I started scouting locations out there, I listed it as one of my favorite places to photograph pets (Favorite Locations for photographing Pets).  It's a personal choice if you like the scenic photos with a beautiful background, or a nice clean studio portrait.  Some people choose two sessions, outdoor and indoor.

 Red Rock

Red Rock

The one consistent thing with pet photography is it's always new, engaging, and always different. Every time I meet a new dog, cat, or other family pet, I have to quickly socialize with them to be able to engage them. This process is really a lot of fun. Dogs are usually the best greeters as they are excited for people to come over (maybe they sense the squeakers and smell of treats?). When I do studio to you sessions the dogs get some time to investigate me, and my photo equipment. This makes the process for me a lot easier as they are more comfortable and curious about looking towards the camera. 

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Woofs,

Rick Vierkandt- Bark Gallery