Working with Pets as Models

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Animal Behavior, Body Language, and Communication

I majored in psychology with an emphasis in animal behavior at the University of Washington. During my studies, I was privileged enough to have professors who allowed me to focus on domestic animals, recording actions at off-leash dog parks and observing behaviors exhibited by my furry pet-sitting charges. I have always felt that this experience has given me a huge advantage in my pet photography career, because I believe that the better you know your subjects, the more accurately you will capture the essence of who they are, and the easier it is to work effectively with them.

Because of the space constraints of this book, an in-depth look at every type of animal you might point your camera at isn’t feasible, but I will attempt to give you a basic overview that will help you to understand what to expect. The focus here is on cats and dogs because they make up the bulk of animals most photographers specialize in, although I do touch a bit on horses, other furry creatures, and reptiles, both in this chapter and throughout the book. I also provide creative shot ideas for different types of animals throughout the book, specifically in Chapter 6.

Every species has a communication all its own. For dogs, ...

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