Do you love pets as much as we do? I mean, how can you not? Photographer Belinda Richards loves them too, and they’re the main subjects in her photo studio.
In Belinda’s hilarious series Who Cut the Cheese? she captures the essence of furry friends, particularly their innate ability to make us smile. In these portraits, you’ll see dogs with their facial expressions wondering who cut the cheese… But also the main suspect in the smelly incident.
About the series
The collection features 19 adorable dogs, all and one cat… You can guess who the main suspect is, right? Belinda says that this project was born out of her love for capturing the unique personalities of her canine clients and her desire to infuse each image with humor and joy.
Interestingly enough, these photos weren’t just randomly picked. As you scroll through them, you’ll undoubtedly be amused and delighted as you witness the dogs’ hilarious expressions of disgust. And, of course, the pinnacle of this tale lies in the cat’s unmistakably guilty face, revealing the perpetrator behind the mysterious odor.
Behind the scenes
We asked Belinda what she finds the most challenging when trying to capture a specific facial expression in animals and if she used any tricks to get the photos she imagined. She told us that the most challenging part is also the most rewarding part. “It is quite often that we will have a dog or cat come into the studio who is very hesitant, scared, and/or anxious,” says Belinda. “These poor puppers don’t really know what’s about to happen so it is our job to work with them to make them feel at ease in the studio.”
Luckily, Belinda has rich experience – 22 years of working with difficult and dangerous dogs! So, she knows how to calm the animals down and help them to feel comfortable. This way, not only she ends up with some fabulous images, but both she and her four-legged models also have a great time in the studio! “The most fun part is when you get a ball-crazy pooch in and they go nuts playing,” Belinda tells us. “I get some amazing results and I love to encourage them to be naughty and have as much fun as possible.”
“One thing that I believe sets Frog Dog Studios apart is how we work with our subjects. What me and my handler (who also happens to be my husband) try to do is let them be themselves. We love to play with the dogs and do silly things that they react to. When I am looking through my viewfinder, I am often looking for those quirky moments. The moments that our dogs have when no one else is looking. The moments that crack us up but aren’t as funny when you try to relay the story to someone that wasn’t there.”
Gear and post-production
To bring these enchanting portraits to life, Belinda used modified Profoto D2 flash heads. Their fast flash duration enabled the artist to precisely freeze each comical moment with her subjects in front of the camera. As for the camera, Belinda tells DIYP that 99% of her work is shot on a Sony A7RV paired with a Sigma Art 35mm f/1.2 prime lens.
When the photos were done, Belinda edited the images to emphasize the dogs’ expressions and add a color palette to complement the lighthearted tone of the series perfectly. “These particular images have had a background dropped in during post production to give the series a cohesive look,” Belinda tells DIYP. “I created the background by photographing scrunched up pieces of aluminum foil and overlaying them in Photoshop with different blending modes.”