Furry Faces – my first photo shoot at the SPCA

I just did my first photo shoot at the Pennsylvania SPCA in Philadelphia.  I’m not a pet photographer but after doing this, I might consider becoming one! Especially for a first timer, I’ve very happy with how these turned out.

My equipment: my trusty Canon 5D Mark II camera with my workhorse Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM lens.  All photos were taken with a Canon Speedlite 430EX II flash with an inexpensive bounce reflector attached. I considered bringing a less expensive flash, but the 430EX II has a foot that locks onto the hotshoe. I thought this might be advantageous since I didn’t want to take a chance of it getting knocked off.

The photos were taken in the SPCA’s large meeting room because the weather outside was just dreadful. Ideally, the dogs would have been walked outside for awhile to help them wear off some energy and get out of the “prison inmate” mode. Taking the photos outside is also better than inside, but the weather doesn’t always cooperate.

I photographed 18 dogs in roughly 2 hours and I took just over 600 photos. I anticipated taking a lot of photos  since these poor dogs have lots of pent-up energy and are under stress so it definitely takes some time for them to settle down enough for me to get some good pics.

With the help of two wonderful volunteers, we brought the dogs up one at a time, let them sniff, wander and run around for a bit.  This was important to help get them relaxed.  Just like people, dogs take the best photos when they’re relaxed and happy!

I have to say, I’m very impressed with how happy so many of these dogs were given their circumstances.

Of the 600+ photos I took, these are the ones I consider the winners. I hope these wonderful dogs all end up being winners as well, by finding loving forever homes where they will be loved for the rest of their precious lives!

Goddess bless the doggies and kitties!!

All photos © Colleen D. Gjefle



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