Thursday, April 15, 2010

By Defininition

I've been struggling with the 52 Weeks Challenge this year.  I think I've been struggling for a couple of reasons:

  1. I started off with some photos that I LOVED and as a result, I've set my personal bar high and I am disappointed if I don't get that every week.
  2. Now that I'm officially a "professional", I feel like they need to be better than before.
  3. Part of the challenge is supposed to be to plan to take a specific photo, and then to go out and capture that. 

It is this third point that has been giving me the most grief lately. I consider myself a candid pet photographer.   By definition, candid is informal and unposed. I RARELY plan my photos and even less frequently do I give either of the girls a command like sit, stay or look.  I think last year I had one picture that I actually invisioned, and then posed (and by posed I just pointed a toy in the direction of where I wanted Coulee to stand and she did - ironically it was one of my most popular and one of my favourites.  But that could be a whole other blog post!).

I've noticed lots of pet photographers say that they are "candid pet photographers" but by candid, I think they mean "not studio".  And that is fine. They take amazing pictures, the dogs look fabulous and are much more natural looking than if they were sitting in a studio.

I just shoot what the dog presents me.  For the most part, I don't try and make the dog do anything special beyond interact with toys and occasionally look at me.  And it is hard to have a plan, if you don't know what the dog is going to do.  With Lacey there are certain behaviours I'd like to capture for the 52 Weeks Challenge.  Things like: flying through the air, biting Vito's tail, running flat out with her big goofy grin, etc., but I can't go out and say I'm going to get a flying picture today because she doesn't always fly.

I can use the 52 Weeks Challenge as a way to further my photography repetoire and to practice doing more pictures that are composed and planned, but I am also going to stop stressing over fitting a square peg into a round hole and just go with the flow.  I enjoy candid photography.  I don't enjoy posing my dogs.  I'm going to focus instead on things I want to do.  Things like enjoying a snow day.


Sarah said...

if it helps at all, you could try new locations for inspiration ... indoor vs outdoor etc., look for events, urban places. look for interesting architecture, colours, textures, scenery, different times of day, cool odd compositions and get candid from there, you might get some neat reactions from lacey.

i understand the struggle, especially doing the project 2 years in a row.

i too shoot what the dog presents me 90% of the time. i think it is looking out for the special little moments that nobody else sees, and the camera captures it ... for everyone else to see. like lacey's teeth and tongue curled back in her mouth!

don't be discouraged by it though ... you might just need to make the round hole bigger for the square peg to fit. LOL ... or take a sledgehammer and MAKE it fit ...

Stephanie V said...

It takes a brave woman to say she's going to do what she likes. I would say you're doing exactly the right thing. Your photos are amazing and because they are in your own style it makes them unique. There must be some sort of artist's expression and satisfaction in what you're doing. If not, why bother? I love the photos your way. Keep 'em coming.