As most of you do not know since I am horrid at updating my web site, I have been photographing homeless dogs for many years, most recently at county shelters in the southeastern US.
Last night a designer friend that also has a dog walking/ pet sitting business was talking to me about doing pet portraiture for some of their clients. The topic of deliverables resulted in me showing her some before and after production photos, I think taking a peek behind the curtain might be of further interest beyond a friendly neighborhood conversation.
To be clear, photographing dogs in a shelter environment is very difficult. I try to do as much as possible in camera but frankly conditions seldom allow it. The dogs are often ill-behaved, it’s hot, it’s cold, it’s pouring rain, it’s muddy, the lighting conditions are near impossible, the dogs jump all over me and rush me when I’m crouched and vulnerable and we only have a couple of hours for sometimes more than 30 dogs. That said, it is a critical component to animal rescue so I’m grateful for the opportunity to help.
I spent the vast majority of my photography career as a news photographer and as such it is not ethical or legal to alter images so I am by no means a Photoshop expert by trade. But I have been using Photoshop since its early days, way, way back when I was a corporate webmaster and needed to create and modify web images.
These images need to get out quickly and I often only have 2 hours or less to edit 4-500 shots and fully process then Photoshop about 35 of them. I crop, correct color and exposure issues before heading to Photoshop to remove any visual distractions.
I do have my own aesthetic and a trained eye will see most of the shots follow one of 2 compositions and post processing effects while still maintaining the truth of the subject and the surroundings. The point is to present the dogs in the best possible manner to assist with rescue.