Animal Photos make a Nice Change

It was an absolute privilege to work with the Chandlers Ford and Boyatt Wood Veterinary Surgery teams last week to help update their website with some staff headshots, procedures and animal photos.

My job was to take head shots of all the staff members (with their pets) and then to capture other images of the vet practices and some procedures (all the animal photos I captured belonged to the staff members, so there was no issue with patient / animal consent or confidentiality).

So many people feel nervous or uncomfortable in front of the camera (including me), so it was lovely that they were positively encouraged to bring their pets in for the day and have their photos taken together. Plus I think that a vets website should be filled with animal pictures – that is their speciality after all and it would be strange if there were no animals featured. It was also lovely to see all the staff interacting with the animals – it was so clear to see that they have such an empathy for animals and a caring nature. I know this is part of their job, but to see it first hand was just lovely.

Having spent many many hours photographing families in natural surroundings, it was quite a revelation to me to enjoy capturing animal photos for a change, including a number of dogs, cats, chickens and even a snake! And I loved every second of it (well maybe not the snake, but I loved the non-slithery creatures)! As lovely as she was, I think i’ll always prefer fur to scales. Sorry Effie the Snake!

How to Take the Best Animal Photos

By no means was this an easy job. There’s a reason that the famous saying states ‘Never  work with children or animals!’ Well, it turns out that animals can be just as fickle for the camera as children can. We had dogs sticking their tongues out, running away from me, turning their heads away from the camera and then cats climbing into mummy’s arms. But then you offer them a treat and they turn to putty in your hands. Well, almost!

One top tip for you if you want to capture some lovely animal photos – have someone with you holding a squeaky toy. Get your glamorous assistant to stand right next to you, or behind you if possible (so the animal looks directly at the camera) and then get the camera ready for when your assistant squeaks! This is a far more reliable technique than calling their name, because 9 times out of 10, the animal (normally dogs) will run towards you! I learned this the hard way!

Behind the Scenes at the Vets

I’ve only ever seen a vets from the patient / mummy side of things when I’ve taken my own dog in for treatment (normally quaking in her boots) and had obviously never been behind the scenes at a vets practise before. I can honestly say that both practises were so lovely and I feel so much more comfortable taking Josie back in for future treatments. The staff were so lovely and friendly and you could see that they genuinely cared about the animals who came in. Many went out of their way to keep visiting the animals in the kennels to reassure them and have a chat.

Apparantly the job of Animal Photographer / Chief Animal-Cuddler at a vets does not exist, yet! But if it ever comes up – I am there and I am more than qualified with my camera and lap for cuddles!

I loved taking all the images of the staff with their animals – they were lucky that they could bring them in for the day and know that they’d be ok staying in the kennels in the back. Now I always (wrongly) assumed that the animals would hate the kennels, but actually having spent a long time around that area, it seems that the animals feel quite safe and happy there and were very quiet and chilled. This is nice to know from a dog Mummy perspective. I never doubted that the animals weren’t well looked after, but the fact that the animals were so calm and relaxed when they were in their kennels was very reassuring!

I also got to go to the home of the directors to photograph their 4 dogs, chickens, guinea fowl and quail! It was quite the experience crouching down and trying to capture a chicken whilst it was pecking around looking for its lunch!  Turns out chickens don’t respond in the same way as dogs (or children for that matter) when you cluck at them. Luckily they were very photogenic and responded well to my random noises and babble.

Not something I ever pictured myself doing when I made the decision to becomer a Family Photographer! Great fun all the same though.

So it just leads me to say thank you very much to the Vets for having  me around for a couple of days and making the headshots and animal photos so much fun. And remember – if the job of Animal Photographer / Chief Animal-Cuddler ever comes up, then you have my number!

If anybody would like more information about these veterinary surgeries please look at the links below: