Photo Compositing in Pet Photography
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Friday, May 11, 2018
By Diana Lundin
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Quite often when I say I do pet photography composites I'm met with a blank stare. It's just simply that a lot of people don't really know what a composite is. What seems like such a natural word in my world may as well be another language to someone else. So I'm going to break it down a bit.

In general, with compositing, you are creating a scene with with at least two elements that weren't photographed together. Now the end results can be for different things. Say I did a pet photography shoot with three dogs. Two are looking at the camera, one isn't. Or there is a family of a large number of animals but it's pretty difficult to wrangle them all together. In this case, I can swap out heads or bodies to make them all look at the camera at once or I can make one photo with all of the animals together.

When you swap heads, the best bet is that the camera hasn't moved much and the dog hasn't moved much and you find an image of that one wayward dog looking at the camera. Those are usually spontaneous composites. You want everyone to look their best, you probably aren't shooting with a tripod. Photographing animals individually to make a composite is generally more deliberative. I might use a tripod for that, I keep the lighting all the same, I have a pretty easy background to work with -- crossing my fingers that it's a solid color. 

And then there is another type of composite -- often called digital art. I call these my Storytelling Sessions and you can see some of them here but I have an entirely different site just for them... The Secret World of Pets. This is where the magic happens. This is where we imagine an entirely different world for your dog or cat.

I like to say, You know how how your dog or cat’s legs look like they’re running or their nose twitches when they’re sleeping? You think they’re dreaming of chasing rabbits or squirrels or birds. But they are on an adventure and my special skills show you what their secret world is so you can share it together. I bring to life the secret worlds inhabited by your mild-mannered dog or cat when you aren’t watching.

Now, I don't know if that's effective or not, lol, but I like to work with my clients to create that world. In fact, I have a design questionnaire on the Secret World website that helps you hone your interests for what world you'd like your pet to inhabit. 

My latest composite is of Georgie in London. It has my trademark "air of mystery" to it. That is, you don't really know what's going on. You have to fill in the blanks. Why is Georgie at the banks of the Thames? Why is a taxi there and why does it have the door open? Is Georgie the driver? Or is there a cabby? What is she looking at? What?

If you're interested in a composite, let's pow-wow. What story can your pet tell? I'm Diana Lundin, a Los Angeles pet photographer. Hit that contact button or give me a call, 818.481.5214.


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