Anyone who knows me personally, will know that I love dogs. In fact, many have probably heard me say that dogs are better people than people. The question I put forth in the title here is do dogs make good photographic subjects from a business stand point, or artistic. A great question for the basis of telling you a few stories.
My family’s current dog is a golden Labrador retriever named Tawny. When my parents adopted her, friends who are in the business of consulting photographers on developing their careers told me to “photograph the hell out of her.” I quickly set about doing so.
Let me tell you, there’s a couple problems with photographing your brand new Labrador puppy. She liked to chew things, so it was rare that I could get a photograph without some particularly ugly looking bit of yard debris hanging from her mouth. The bigger problem was she liked me too much. Whenever I got on her level she’d run over and get in my lap and either try to play or snuggle with me. Now ordinarily I’d love this, but when you are trying to make an interesting image it can be quite annoying.
Given that I felt I had good reason to pursue these images though, I kept at it. Working on every way I could think of to get her to stay put at a distance from me and yet look my way. Her favorite food is eggs, so bribing her with some hard-boiled eggs has worked the best so far.
When I talked to my stock agent discussing signing on with the agency she mentioned that supplying many images of our puppy would be very useful. So again I upped my game of dog photography.
It’s interesting now, I’ll be photographing my dog, thinking “holy cow, the nearly 5000 images I have of her are way too much.” Then I’ll submit some images to my agent and the dog images are accepted at a higher rate than most other subjects I’ve shot. I keep shooting more dog images.
It is now proving to be the case that one particular image I made of her on the first weekend we had her is the most consistently licensed image I’ve ever made.