This time of year we create special memories with the ones we love while keeping those less fortunate in our hearts. For many of us, pets are valued members of our families and play a big part in our lives. There are many opportunities for capturing these memories to enjoy for many years to come- family gatherings, warm nights inside or playing outside in the wintery weather. Professional Photographer, Shannon Locker, specializes in unique animal portraits. Her beautiful work can be seen in this year’s PAWS calendar (currently on sale at phillypaws.org) benefitting the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society’s lifesaving efforts on behalf of Philadelphia’s homeless, abandoned, and unwanted animals. Locker offers some simple tips for photographing your pet.
Let the animal take the lead. Capturing a portrait is more about sharing something with your companion animal and less about realizing what you want to achieve. Be flexible and let your dog or cat’s unselfconscious nature lead the way. Allowing the animal to behave as themselves, engaging in play or simply following your dog or cat around with the camera will give you a greater chance at creating natural looking photographs.
Point of view: try all angles. Move your body with the dog or cat, get down on their level. Playing, running, and lying on the ground will force you to take a different point of view. Your dog or cat will love you for it!
Emphasize features that are unique to your cat or dog: This includes physical characteristics (markings, eye color, paw size etc.) as well as gestural ones (head tilt, a certain way the body curls during sleep, ear response to specific calls etc.) Pinpointing the things that we find endearing about our animals is what makes the resulting portrait meaningful to us. Keeping this in mind will help in making a photograph that displays the specific to the relationship you have with your companion animal.
Photograph in memorable locations. For example: hogging the bed, sitting on your desk or at your feet, fetching in the yard or lounging on the windowsill. Ultimately the resulting photographs will remind you of your dog or cat’s essence and this will be something to cherish for years to come.
About Shannon Locker Shannon Locker is a fine art photographer who resides in Bucks County, PA. She graduated in 2000 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts/Photography from Kutztown University. Shannon currently specializes in creative, unique portraiture of animals as well as humans.
PAWS is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to saving Philadelphia’s homeless, abandoned, and unwanted animals. PAWS is the city’s largest no-kill shelter and operates a high-volume, low-cost clinic serving pet owners and rescue organizations that lack access to affordable basic veterinary care. Through its adoption locations, special events, and foster care network, PAWS finds loving homes for thousands of animals each year. PAWS is working to make Philadelphia a place where every healthy and treatable pet is guaranteed a home.