Yes, I know, I resisted the obvious slap and tickle headline here but I do have standards ya know!
Yesterday was an early start to get to the Studio on time and make sure that we had everything we needed. My ‘Assistant’ for the day, Ian, arrived ahead of schedule and we set off at 7am along the M4. Why do so many people have to be somewhere so early in the day in this technological age? Anyway, the dreaded jam only started just as we were about to leave the motorway so any hassles were duly avoided.
The studio was already open at 8.20am so we duly entered and made ourselves a lovely cup of Earl Grey. Refreshed we set about organising the lighting for the first shoot. We were shooting tethered so we tested that out and as I suspected, the 5D and Lightroom 3 don’t gel on the cable front. So, we switched to Capture One as our RAW capture software for the day and all was pretty seamless.
The guests and the animals arrived right on schedule at 10am and we immediately began shooting for the main and most important ‘Hero’ image. Our cat model was an absolutely gorgeous ‘blue’ fluff ball that was startled every time by the flash head recycling ‘beep’. Having turned them off we attempted to reduce the noise in the studio despite there being quite a throng developing with video producer, animal handlers, models, end clients and agency personnel. However, all were well behaved and realised the need for slow movement and quiet while we were shooting. The ‘Hero’ took a while to settle and then began to get into his stride (so to speak). What is required is a great deal of patience and gentle coaxing from a brilliant handler, Liz. The shot we were after was a cat looking very chilled out and relaxed having received wonderful treatment at the vets, and meaning it can lead a happy, contented life again. After a while, we began to get the shots we needed. The lights were great and on quite low power as we needed a tight depth of field for the shot itself. It was great to work with top ‘profoto’ heads and quality modifiers. The quality of light is consistent and very honest, meaning little messing in between shots when a sitting is taking place.
We then introduced the two models to a different cat for some Vet/Owner/Pet shots and these worked very well indeed. Eve and Ruth were very willing and able models giving us exactly the scenario, looks and style we were after. We ran through quite a few poses, cats and dress to achieve a look and style the client and agency were happy with. We took loads of shots as the animals were quite skitty (to be expected) and moved heads, bodies and eyes very very quickly making each shot much more likely to fail on one count or another.
The old saying of ‘never work with animals or children’ may well be true in most cases but in this one, whilst we had to be more patient than normal, we were just as successful.
The day went really well and we had some spare time so we decided to shoot some other more spontaneous shots with the models and the cats themselves. Ending up with some cat portraits which was quite good fun and a little less intense towards the end of the day. We stopped shooting at around 5pm meaning a full day in the studio. We were however very productive producing about 1,100 images and over 24gb in total. Of course, of those images a huge number are ‘binners’ due to the fact the cat blinked, moved its head, body, paws etc into a strange or non-photogenic position. Looking and reviewing the images there are many that are very good quality indeed and we are delighted with the outcome from this shoot. We think the clients will be too and that at the end of the day is the very important factor in all of this.
The day was enjoyable and we hope those present enjoyed the shoot too. We look forward to seeing the video when it has been produced!