Three Dog Nightmare, 2018
My father always told me that bad things came in threes, yet there are many examples of good if not great “threes” in history – your Stooges, your Amigos, the Tenors, Musketeers, Bears, Blind Mice and even Three Little Pigs.
All had nothing on Dove, Bullet, and Bliss: three lovely and talented Boykin Spaniels.
Two’s company and three’s a picture I guess. If you follow my work closely enough, I try never to photograph more than one of anything in a picture; it’s safer that way for all those involved.
Yet, it was my brilliant idea to follow a successful session of individual portraits with this trio. Callie and the patient and supportive owner of these pups seemed to think it was a good idea at the time as well.
I am often asked how we get our dogs to remain calm for these photographs. I am often vague and secretive in my responses because much of what I can share is restricted by non-disclosure agreements and other legal nonsense – Essentially it’s proprietary or everyone would be in the lucrative business of photographing dogs.
That said, in the spirit of the #yearofthedogs, I have prepared a few DIY tips for trying this at home.
First, begin with a strong elevator pitch. You must sell the dogs on this idea and never show weakness or self-doubt. Convince them that this will be “great.” Be flexible and humble. This is really not a good time to cry or spout-off about how you used to travel the world as a National Geographic photographer. Also shouting I DON’T NEED THIS ! does not work as a motivational tool at the canine or husband/wife level.
Know when you’re beat. When the dogs and your own wife turn on you, it’s time to put the camera down.
When it does work, take all the credit and write a pithy anecdotal @Instagram post about how you knew it would work the whole time.
Happy Fathers Day.