Photographing Pets and People with Andrea Martin
My name is Andrea Martin. I live in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia with my beautiful family (husband and 3 kids ages 10,6, and 15 weeks). I love my job as a full time photographer! One of the things that I soon realized when I got into this business was that there are a lot of very talented photographers out there!!! I had to find a way to make myself be different and stand out from the rest!! I decided to combine my love for animals with my love for photographing children!
To capture these images I use either my 50 mm 1.4 lens or 85mm 1.4 lens. I use both my Nikon D700 and D750. I really want to get a 35mm lens but I am saving for that!!
There are several things I love about capturing children with animals!
1. It creates a emotional connection between viewer and image.
2. Children can be so difficult to capture their true personality. When you add an animal, their joy and affection or fascination comes out in the image and the result embodies what childhood is to me!
3. Its a distraction!! I usually don’t have to give much instruction!! I just sit quiet and snap away!
Right now my top favorite image is this little girl with the beagle puppy! I had a session lined up with twin girls and as I was brainstorming what I wanted to add for that “wow factor”. I saw my friend had posted about Beagle pups she had for sale. Thats usually how it works. I see something in my Facebook newsfeed like these puppies and think what a great shoot that will make!! I messaged the twins mom and asked if she’d be up for adding pups to her session and she was all for it! I told the little girl to kiss the puppy and this was the result!! I’m so in love with it!!
I have several locations I like to use. I really like to have the right setting and get the right “feel”. I also think clothing is a huge part of creating the look or feel of an image!! I love shooting in the woods or at the lake!
You need to be careful about your state laws when shooting with animals. Each state is different, but using clients pets during a shoot with their child is always ok! Bunnies and ducks can be very fragile and can be frowned upon. Some of my favorite images are with ducklings, however these images were taken with our (very spoiled) pet ducklings and I was not paid for these sessions. They are of my daughter and a friend’s daughter. I just wanted to create pieces of art for myself!
Some things to keep in mind when taking pictures with children and animals are:
1. Patience. Most pets won’t cooperate. Its better to do these sessions as unposed as possible.
2. Be aware of animals temperament. Just because a client brings their dog to you to be in a session doesn’t mean its friendly. Be cautious so you and/or your client doesn’t end up hurt.
3. Make sure wardrobe and location suit the type of shoot you are doing! It can make or break a photo!!
So…how do you get started using animals in your pictures? When a client books a shoot I always ask if they have a pet they would like to bring! I will tell them it doesn’t have to be in all the images but I love to add it for a few! They always end up the favorite image! One time I asked a couple if they had a dog they wanted to bring and the girl said “no, but we have a kitten”. Of course I said BRING HIM! It ended up one of my favorite sessions!!