Late last year my wife and I had to say goodbye to one of our beloved dogs Sophie. She was far too young and her loss was devastating. After several months one of my breeder clients (Kristen from Zero Gravity Australian Shepherds) announced a litter coming. I have photographed many of her litters and have used her dogs as models in many of my concept shoots. We have always admired her dogs so we decided it was time to add a puppy to our home.
Kristen was amazingly gracious and decided to have a photography theme to the names for this litter, partly because I was going to be getting one from this litter. To add to the entire thrilling experience I was invited to be at the birthing! Witnessing and photographing the puppies arrival was an experience I will never forget. I was then also given the amazing honor of naming the pups!!! Click, Bokeh, Nikon, Sensor, Skrim & Gobo came into the world on Boxing Day 2017. Of course, having a vested interest in the pups I have been taking every opportunity to visit the litter.
It was during a visit at just over 3 weeks old I had the idea that the pups were just the right size to fit into the various slots in my camera bag. I had seen images before with a single pup or kitten and thought that the whole litter would be so much fun to try. I quickly removed all the lenses, sound makers, flashes, batteries, memory cards, etc from my ThinkTank Airport International bag and moved the dividers to best fit the pups. We had momma give the pups a good feeding, let them all pee and poop (litter shoots are a lot of pee and poop!). They quickly settled in for a milk coma nap. We carefully picked each pup up and placed them in the bag, let them settle in, and shot the images.
This was a very spur of the moment idea, so I had to improvise background, composition, and lighting. I chose the wood floor to add some texture and visual contrast. I only had my speed light with me so I set it up to bounce off the white roof to create an even light source to ensure the entire scene was well lit. Once on my computer I used Lightroom and Nik Color Efex Pro to enhance the colors and textures.
The resulting images I have titled “Pet Photography Starter Kit” Beginner, Intermediate, and advanced versions!