Commercial Lifestyle Session ~ EzyDog 2012

You might remember a couple of years ago when EzyDog enlisted me to create some lifestyle images for their printed catalogue and other promotional material, here’s the session blogged. Two years later and they required some new shots for their 2013 brochure, so again it was time to put together a big bin of sample products, find some suitable models and get shooting!

I’m now living in Brisbane and we wanted to take advantage of this with some urban shots, so we chose New Farm Park in Brisbane as the location. It’s perfect for this kind of thing, with beautiful established parklands and an inner-city riverfront urban feel. It took a few tries, rescheduling due to inclement weather, but we ended up with a beautiful sunny afternoon. The difference in light is huge to a cloudy day, so it’s definitely worth waiting!

I now have a commercial model database that I can refer to when sourcing talent for these kinds of shoots, with a wide range of dog sizes, breeds, ages and owners. If I have nothing on the books that suits, I can usually find some talent in a few days via my Facebook page and other avenues. For this shoot we decided on Sara Jean and her gorgeous little West Highland Terrier, Yuki.

We also required a larger dog with darker colouring to help show off the products we were featuring. I asked a previous client of mine (see her shoot here), Sharna, to see if she’d be interested in doing a spot of modelling with her stunning black Labrador Dallas. Luckily she agreed!

I just love the personal connection between these two.

New Farm Park offers a variety of shooting spots and backdrops. Like the previous shoot with EzyDog, they required some shots of their products in action, so we moved to the riverside pathway and asked the girls to do some running for us! I love this shot of Sara Jean in midair, with Yuki trotting along beside her.

The fluro orange harness and lead was an instant fave and looked fantastic on the dogs, especially Dallas with her glossy black coat.

EzyDog also had a new tug toy product that they needed product shots of. It was a hit with Dallas!

The new collar design is a clever one, that allows the force from the lead to be exerted on the whole collar rather than just a single d-ring, with no pressure on the connecting clip either. Great idea!

The Powerhouse at New Farm Park is a very popular location for photo shoots of all kinds, and it’s easy to see why. Right on the river and with some very cool historical building style mixed with modern features, it’s a great alternative to shooting in busy city areas.

We dubbed this brand new collar colour the “neapolitan ice cream”, just love the colour combination and it looked fantastic on Yuki.

When shooting lifestyle images, it’s important to create a natural, casual feel. It’s equally important to show off the product though, so we pay lots of attention to positioning the logo and product features where they can be clearly seen.

Dallas is such an attentive model, and the red QuickFit harness looked fantastic on her.

Little Yuki was very patient with us trying to get that perfect shot.

Managing the dogs’ energy levels and keeping them interested and willing to “work” is pretty important throughout the shoot. I caught this shot as Sara Jean was running us through Yuki’s extensive repertoire of tricks. Impressive!

When shooting to create a selection of images that will be utilised for different applications such as brochures, web banners, billboards and various other sizes and formats, it’s always good to leave space around the subject and not crop the shot too tightly. The below shot demonstrates how, if there is space to work with, the image can be cropped to allow room for text or another overlaid image on the left. More about this later!

As the late afternoon sun filtered through the trees, all the joggers and bike riders came out in force! For these kinds of candid shots, it’s good to give a sense of place and mood. The inclusion of these people as blurred out figures in the background works well to set the scene. Just a note though, I was careful not to include recognisable faces, as the people pictured would then be required to sign model releases before the images could be used commercially, just as our models were required to do.

The last location we chose was the big “pink” brick wall that makes up the parkland side of the Powerhouse.

When it comes to commercial lifestyle images for the pet industry, I think it’s important to try and include both a connection between dog and owner, and a snapshot of the personality of the dog itself. This is something I am alway striving to capture during private sessions, so transferring it to this kind of environment was relatively easy.

I mentioned before about leaving room around the subject for various crops to suit a range of applications. This image of Sara Jean and Yuki was shot with that specifically in mind. It’s a much wider view than I would normally take and I’ve left room all around the subject allow for different crops.

To illustrate this, I’ve created a few different crops of this same image. The first is a square crop – nice and balanced but with room for overlaid text or other features if required.

The next version is a “widescreen” or panoramic crop, with the subject to the right and space for other elements over the blurred out background on the left. This could be used for something like a magazine or brochure double page spread or billboard.

A different variant on the same theme, this crop places the subject on the left and a clean wall background on the right. This would also be suitable for a double page spread, suitable for placing text directly on the uncluttered background on the right. Being a much closer crop, it also places more emphasis on the subject and products.

The last crop I’ll demonstrate is a vertical “portrait” crop. As it focuses in on the subject and includes much less of the background, it would be ideal as a stand-alone illustrative shot in publications or online applications.

I really love working with pet related brands, whether they are small start-up businesses or large established companies. I’ll soon be launching some great commercial lifestyle photography packages, so if you’re a brand or business in the pet industry, stay tuned, or get in contact with me to find out more now.

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2 Comments
  • Sarah

    23 April, 2012 at 11:40 pm Reply

    Wow, Charlotte! I’ve been looking forward to seeing these since you posted a sneak peek. All I can say is I’m flying to Australia to use this location, lighting, and models! I’m sure your client is beyond thrilled! I can only imagine what the high-res versions look like. Beautiful work and best of luck in pursuing more commercial work. You will do great!!!

    • admin

      24 April, 2012 at 9:12 am Reply

      Thanks so much Sarah! You’re very welcome to come stay with me. 🙂 It was a fun shoot and the client is happy, smiles all round. I hope I can offer this service to more pet related businesses as I really believe that great photography helps sell brands.

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