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Tell Me Again Why I Need Those Props!?

“Cat’s don’t like change without their consent.”

~ Roger Caras

Last time I wrote about the importance of collecting props and how easy it is to find them in the stores during Halloween.

Ok. Got ‘em. Now what?

Now we need to work on one of the key concepts of making good images with our props. It involves where the animal or person is looking when we use them. Because as important as using a prop is to get the ears up and a good arch to the neck, if the animal or person is looking off into never-never land a lot of the impact of the photograph will be lost. We want the viewer to have an emotional connection with the subjects in our pictures and the best way to accomplish that is to be sure the subject is staring right at you.

As always, it’s much easier to see what works by studying our photographs.

 In the above photo, the dog is obviously not looking at the camera because the prop person is rattling a squeaky toy off to the side.

Now the prop person has moved directly behind the photographer so that the pet is looking into the lens of the camera. Much better!

Same problem, different shoot, but in this case the lack of eye contact with the camera is a lot more subtle. As an animal photographer it’s your job to pick up the difference between the above image, and this…

Not only is there good eye contact, but notice how the ears and the alert expression are much better in this image because the prop person is holding the prop in just the right spot behind the photographer to engage the puppy’s interest.

Remember that this technique works with people as well…you don’t need a prop, but you do need to play movie director and keep asking the people in your images to look directly at you.

So your assignment for this week is to get out those new props, find a friend to be your prop person and go to work.

Good shooting!

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