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Beautiful Beasties: A Creative Guide to Modern Pet Photography

ISBN: 978-0-470-93227-8
352 pages
September 2012
Beautiful Beasties: A Creative Guide to Modern Pet Photography (0470932279) cover image
The book pet lovers have been waiting for: professional advice on pet photography

Every pet parent knows how difficult it is to get that calendar-quality photo of a beloved cat or dog. This guide to pet photography is long overdue! Pet lovers will find terrific tips to help them capture their pets personalities in photos, while professional photographers who want to extend their business opportunities will value advice on the unique challenges of working with animals and creating the portraits their clients want.

  • With pet owners comprising more than 62 percent of Americans, there is an eager amateur market for a book that reveals how to get great photos of those furry family members
  • Zeroes in on pet photography as a growing specialty among professional photographers, and this book offers advice for creating great pet portraits as well as tips on working with animals and their owners
  • Explains how to capture expressions, avoid spooky eyes, edit for better images, work with multiple animals, and much more

As the first serious guide to pet photography on the market, Beautiful Beasties has what pet parents and professional photographers need to capture memorable pet photos.

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Introduction x

Chapter One: The History of Pet Photography 2

The Backstory on Pet Photography 4

The True Value of Pet Photos 8

The Pet Photography Industry  14

Classes, Schools, and Workshops  17

Forums  17

Chapter Two: Equipment 20

Cameras, Lenses, Bags, and Accessories 22

Computers, Software, and Computer Accessories  46

Chapter Three: Working with Pets as Models 54

Animal Behavior, Body Language, and Communication  56

Working with Dogs  56

Working with Cats  67

Working with Other Animals  71

Learning About the Individual  77

Photographing Your Pets  78

Chapter Four: Pre-Session Checklists 84

Checking Your Gear and Accessories  86

Shot Lists  89

Defining Session Goals  92

Twenty-Five Tips to Keep in Mind, Before and During a Shoot  94

Chapter Five: Photography Basics 96

Exposure: ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed  98

Exposure Modes 108

Focusing 121

White Balance 124

RAW vs JPEG 126

Quick-and-Dirty Pet Photography Settings 129

Chapter Six: Lighting 134

Natural vs Auxiliary Lighting 136

Lighting Tools 140

Studio Lighting 144

Lighting Safety 150

Lighting Pet Peeves 154

Chapter Seven: Composition 156

The Rule of Thirds 158

Negative Space 159

Pet-Level Photography 160

PLP in Motion 164

Capturing Expressions 167

General Ideas173

Using Lenses for Variety in Composition 181

Photographing Pets with Their Owners 183

Photographing Multiple Pets 185

Location Ideas 189

Ten Ideas for Getting Variety in Every Session 192

Capturing the Stages in a Pet’s Life 193

Pet Photography Don’ts 194

Chapter Eight: Pet Photography Challenge 196

Common Challenges 198

Behavior Challenges 203

Lighting Challenges 208

Weather Issues 212

Location Challenges 215

Elderly or Sick Pets 216

“Stage-Mom” Owners 218

Working in a Studio 221

Legal Considerations 223

Chapter Nine: Post-Production 226

Establishing Your Workflow 228

Archiving and Naming Conventions 232

Editing Basics 238

Culling and Processing in Lightroom 239

Editing in Photoshop 253

Alternative Editing Software 264

Common Novice Photography and Editing Errors 265

Chapter Ten: Developing Personal Style 276

Defining Your Photodogstyle 278

Processing Techniques to Help You Attain Different Styles 281

Expressing Your Artistic Voice 286

Finding Inspiration 288

Chapter Eleven: Going Pro 292

Self-Evaluation Questionnaire: Should I Turn Professional? 294

The Start-Up Process: Getting Started, from A to Z 297

Portfolio Building 300

Expenses 303

Working with Clients 306

Post-Shoot Client Process 308

Chapter Twelve: Business Essentials 310

Pricing 312

Products 317

Branding 322

Marketing 324

Strategies to Increase Revenue 330

Competition and Colleagues 332

The Top-Five Biggest Keys to Success 334

Index 336

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Jamie Pflughoeft became addicted to photographing pets while studying animal behavior in college and working as a dog-walker and pet-sitter. She started Cowbelly Pet Photography in 2003, and today she serves commercial, editorial, and private clients as well as teaching photographers around the world about the exciting field of pet photography. Jamie also runs the Beautiful Beasties Network, an online community for pet photographers.

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