By now, it’s probably not a secret that I’m a dog lover. I’ve been wanting to write up every dog article that comes across my desk lately and who can blame me? (I promise, I’ll take a short break after this one, which I couldn’t pass up). Dogs are a man’s best friend for a reason. I’m in love with mine and I am sure you dog owners know just what I’m talking about.
Fellow dog lover and German photographer Elke Vogelsang discovered her passion for pet photography only a few years ago, when she adopted her dog, Noodles. Her and her family now have 3 dogs, (Noodles, Scout and Loli) and she could “spend all day taking photos of…dogs. [She] never gets tired of their beauty, energy and patience.”
Elke also specializes in people portraits, but dogs are a favorite…and who can blame her? With these cute faces and boundless love and energy, what’s not to love?
For her, the most rewarding part of pet photography is “being outside and being able to behave like a child again. During an outdoor photo session, I lie on the ground, in the grass, or on the beach. I stand in a river or lake with my camera just above the water. It’s lots of fun and I love the activity. It’s interesting to get to know so many individual characters among my animal models. Each and every one of them is so unique and amazing. Every photo session is unpredictable, just like children. I love the surprises and challenges.”
She shares some tips for people trying to breaking into the pet photography market, and the tips can easily be applied to working with children as well. I guess that’s why there’s the old Hollywood trope, “Never work with children or animals.” Challenging, but oh so rewarding!
Elke Vogelsang’s Tips for Pet Photography
- Always have an assistant because not all pets are trained.
- Some animals react to food or toys. Try getting their attention by having your assistant hold the treat or toy behind your head.
- Try whistling or humming, but don’t scare them off.
- Be patient.
- To get interesting pet photos, you should be willing to get your clothes dirty.
- Understand the behavior of the species you are trying to photograph.
- Meet with other pet photographers and learn from each other.
- Practice, practice, practice. Check out your local animal shelter and volunteer. They have endless subjects to practice on.
Elke’s Gear List
- Canon EOS 5D Mark III
- Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS USM II
- Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8
- Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro
- Canon EF 85mm f/1.8
- Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
- Fujifilm X-20 (all pictures of the series “Nice nosing you” were shot with this)
- Fujifilm X-M1 (my private camera, I take everywhere with me)
- Fujinon 18 mm 2.0
- Fujinon 35 mm 1.4
- Studio flash: Elinchrome D-Lite 4