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Beautiful Beasties: A Creative Guide to Modern Pet Photography Paperback – September 11, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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  • Beautiful Beasties: A Creative Guide to Modern Pet Photography
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

5 Pet Photography Tips from Beautiful Beasties

1. Have fun with it!

Make it a game. Be upbeat. Bring out the toys, participate in an activity your pet finds fun. For cats this may be a game involving tinfoil balls or a feather toy, for dogs this may be a squeaky toy. For horses, rodents and other pets, this is whatever puts them in the best mood--whatever their 'favorite' thing is.

2. Get on their level

Scoot, crouch, bend, scuffle, lay, twist, roll- whatever you need to to do get down and create photographs on the pet's level. Wear dirty clothes. No pet photographer ever worse expensive jeans and sneakers to a photo shoot.

Animals experience the world on a different plane than we do, and being able to create photographs captured on their level makes them more emotional, more engaging, and more connected, to the person that views the images.

3. Pay your model

You wouldn't expect a human model to work for you without payment right? So why should you expect an animal to work without getting paid? Figure out what's the most appreciate item for payment. A toy, a treat, an old rag, a carrot- whatever it takes to keep them engaged and motivated.

4. Pay attention to backgrounds

Nothing can ruin a perfectly good photo better than ugly, cluttered backgrounds. Nobody needs to see that old garden hose, or your dirty sock on the floor, in an otherwise beautiful photo of Rupert the cat.

Spend a few minutes before your photo session eyeballing the scene behind the animal. A few quick pickups of distracting 'junk' can mean you never having to say "Oh man, I wish that ____ wasn't in the photo" again, or spending unnecessary time in Photoshop or Lightroom. (Unless of course the offending object is something like a house or someone else's car, in which case--just move the animal).

5. Focus on expressions

Forget technical skill. Any pet owner will respond to an expressive, 'aww-inducing,' 'laugh-inspiring' photo over a technically perfect yet emotionally lacking photo any day of the week.

Capture a pet in the moment where it is expressing the essence of its personality, showing you it's true colors (whatever those may happen to be!), and the owner of the pet will forgive all manner of exposure, composition and other issues. All they really want is to say "You got him, you really got him!".

If you hear "squeals", "oohs," or "ohhhs" coming from the pet's owner upon seeing your images, you know you've done something right.

Featured Photos from the Book:

Taz Playing
I was laying on the floor on my belly playing with Taz the kitty, swishing his toy back and forth with my left hand, as my right hand controlled the camera. He didn't seem to mind me sticking my lens in his face, as long as we kept playing.
Technical information: 1/640 second at f/2.8, ISO 400, evaluative metering, 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM lens
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Fergie Flies
I had fleeting light here in which to capture Fergie launching herself into the air to catch a frisbee on the Pacific Coast in Washington. I metered off the sky and opened up my aperture to f/2.8 so I could make sure I had a fast enough shutter speed in the dying light to capture the action.
Technical information: 1/1250 second at f/2.8, ISO 400, evaluative metering, 20mm f/2.8 lens
View larger
.
Skylark Flowers
When I spotted the flowers at the nearby flower stall, I just knew I needed to have Skylark the puppy surrounded by them. Luckily she was an easygoing, mellow little girl who happily let me place her wherever I pleased. Here she looks out inquisitively at people and children passing by pointing and making "awwww" sounds at her.
Technical information: 1/60 second at f/5.0, ISO 125, evaluative metering, 20mm f/2.8 lens
View larger
.

Review

Tells you everything you could possible need to know about pet photography the book is great for those looking at, or are already involved in pet photography. (ePhotozine.com, November 2012) A very comprehensive guide to all elements of pet photography fun and enlightening. (What Digital Camera?, May 2013)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (September 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470932279
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470932278
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #345,511 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Charles M. Nobles VINE VOICE on September 29, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is one of those niche books that is a must have if you are into pet photography either as a hobbyist or professional. The recent increase in the popularity of pet photography has produced a small but growing list of books dealing with the subject which is, admittedly, a rather specialized branch of photography. This is one of the better books issued so far on the subject and warrants the readers consideration.

The author is a self-taught pet photographer that obviously loves her work and is willing to share some hard learned lessons for those interested in the subject for business or pleasure. She is a down to earth writer that provides highly readable material and does so in that rare manner that makes the reader feel they are visiting one on one with the author in a very informal, friendly setting.

The book consists of twelve chapters, an index, copius photo's and is chock full of advice for any aspiring photographer of animals. While she spends most of her time on photographing dogs and cats the basic lessons and suggestions she offers will also help with photographing other animals as well. The chapters cover the subject from the history of pet photography thru lighting, equipment, compositions, animal behavior, and for the professional, becoming a professional pet photographer and business essentials. It is amazing just how much advice and material is covered in the 340 pages. I really liked the section in Chapter 8 dealing with the challenges inherent in photographing Black and White dogs. She calls it the Black Dog and White Dog problem and not only does she discuss the problem and reasons behind it, she also offers some interesting solutions.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When I first heard about this manual on pet photography, I expected things like a camera primer, pet taming techniques, and general advice about working with animals, moving objects and light conditions and such. What I did not expect was a detailed analysis of equipment, suggestions for working with different kinds of pets (and pet owners), how to operate a pet photography business, how to price your services, best practices for selling, advertising and supporting your services, and all the other nitty gritty details of becoming a professional pet photographer. That is to say, if you have never taken a picture of an animal, never used a camera, never owned your own business, never purchased a camera, never made money selling a marginal service like pet photography, this book will tell you all you need to know to do it.

As an experienced photographer who has taken more than a few pictures of his cats over the years, I didn't really appreciate how much there is to consider when taking pictures of animals professionally, from preparing treats and slobber rags, to making considerations for a sick or elderly pet. And as a businessman, while I vitally understand the concept of making money, I certainly had no idea about pricing, packaging, and marketing. And, again, as a photographer, I expected some amount of photography advice, but my assumption was that the author would assume a certain amount of capability on the part of whoever might buy this book. The author, however, makes no assumptions at all and includes detailed discussions of equipment, lenses, lighting, add-ons, editing software, how to use all those things together effectively, and even notes on film cameras and developing. (Who does that anymore?
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Jamie did a wonderful job with this book ... WONDERFUL!! I have bought some books in the past, which were all fine books. But that's it, just 'fine'.
The info in this book is great! As soon as i started reading i thought i better get out a highlighter. And truthfully, i never highlight in ANY book. But i sure used it a lot in this book.
If you are a pet photographer, or thinking of becoming one, you just might want to pick this book up. You will not be disappointed!!
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This book is wonderful! Though simple and basic for the pros, it's great for beginners (I believe that was the author's intended audience). This is not one of those books that talks primarily about the manual camera settings as if you should already know the ins and outs of manual mode shooting. Rather, it explains each step of photography. A nice part of Beautiful Beasties is that Jamie Plughoeft is not at all against point and shoot, affordable cameras (unless you are starting a professional business).
Without a doubt, Beautiful Beasties is the best pet photography book I've found (at least for beginners). The book alone helped me understand photography better (Jamie Plughoeft is great a explaining in simplicity). I also was extremely grateful that this informative book lead me to my dSLR: the Canon EOS Rebel T3i- a camera I'd definitely recommend to anyone interested in SLR photography. Informative, engaging, helpful, gracious: That's how I'd define the author's writing and skill. A MUST HAVE without a doubt.
What this book includes:
Chapter 1: The history of Pet Photography and getting starting your own pet photography
Chapter 2: Talks about different kinds of cameras, camera accessories, and computer photo editing software
Chapter 3: Working with different kinds of animals, animal behavior and different personalities
Chapter 4: Preparing for a photo shoot
Chapter 5: Using manual settings, RAW vs.
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