Like many of you reading this, animals have been a long time passion of mine. Growing up around birds of prey, many breeds of working dogs, and later in life, reptiles of all different shapes and sizes; Reptiles being what got me into photography in the first place so many years ago.
Over the course of the last few years, I’ve had a number of opportunities to photograph quite a few different animals. Some pets, some working animals, and some rare individuals that have the honour of being part of only a handful of examples that exist in captivity (or in the world). The more I’ve shot, the more the opportunities have arisen.
Photographing animals can present many unique challenges. No matter whether the animals are wild, captive or domesticated, how tame or well trained they may be, on location or in the studio, there is always one constant; Animals are unpredictable.
That being said, you’ll find no horror stories here today.
Our primary aim when working with animals is the safety and comfort of the animal. A safe and relaxed animal is much easier to work with, and often far easier to photograph. Sometimes this happens almost immediately, but sometimes it can take several days or weeks working with an animal and slowly introducing it to the photographer and their equipment over time to prevent it from feeling scared and intimidated (the most potentially dangerous kind of animal), which leads nicely along to the second point.
The safety of the people and crew working around the animals.
Having worked around various species of cobra, rattlesnakes, mambas and other venomous snakes for several years, you very quickly learn that there’s no such thing as being too careful or too cautious when working around animals, especially dangerous ones.
Given how dangerous or intimidating some of these animals can potentially become, why is this second on my list? Well, as mentioned above, a scared animal is a dangerous animal, and having an animal that feels safe and secure alleviates many of the potential risks to the people working around them. Making the animals feel safe is the first step toward making the humans around those animals safe as well.
Which brings us to the actual photography. The stage is set and the lights are lit long before the animals enter to be photographed.
Again, this is all about safety, of both the animals and the people working around them. While there are often inevitable delays, due to the unpredictability behaviour of animals, having them in front of the camera for as short a time as possible helps to reduce stress on the animal.
Our animal shoots so far have been privately commissioned sessions by existing clients, however we are now opening up this service to the general public, zoos, and centres around the country.
We don’t just work in Lancaster, either, we are more than happy to travel to you. While it is preferred to shoot at the animal’s location, a studio can be requested, at an extra cost, if there is one suitable and available near to you.
We specialise in the exotic, rare, unusual, and just plain weird, although we don’t have anything against cats or dogs!
Contact us today for more information or a quote.