Welcome to another Behind the Lens from Topaz Labs! Today we’ll be learning more about photographer Ann Geier and pet portraits. Learn how Anne got started and how she finds inspiration, how she finds great locations for pet photography, and see a gallery of breathtaking images! Read more of Behind the Lens with Anne Geier now!
500px is one of the best websites where you can admire the work of thousands great artists. Generally, I find creative enlightenment everywhere, especially in nature. One of my favourite dog photographers is Kathrin Kantöpp, known as “Hundeknipserei”. Her work is amazing and her photographs are always a big inspiration for me. In 2015 I was lucky enough to meet Kathrin and her dogs personally! She was so kind to photograph my own dogs, Cindy and Finn, and satisfied a big wish of mine. I know of no one else who puts the dogs more loving in a scene than she does.
For the Love of Cindy
Photography was an important part of my life from early on. As a small child I had an analog camera which I recorded everything photographically. But the real passion developed about 7 years ago. My first dog, Cindy, was the reason why I started to deepen my knowledge in photography, especially dog photography.
I pursued one main goal-I wanted to create moments of Cindy for eternity. This year in august, I lost Cindy. She left a big emptiness inside of me. I miss her every day and now I appreciate it more than ever that I have made so many different pictures of her. In 2013 I made my hobby into my sideline next to my study, Sustainable Regional and Urban Development.
What Inspires Anne
I find the most inspiration in my own dogs. Cindy and Finn are very eager models. This makes it very easy to try different things and implement ideas.
I also get inspiration from the different dogs during a photo shoot. Every dog offers different skills. But, sometimes I also get inspired by different landscapes. Often, while I am going for a walk with my own dogs, I see places and create a completed picture in my mind. At this time I know how I want to place the dog, where the dog has to look, what weather mood I would prefer and so on.
I think the main thing why I focused on animal photography is that animals have been my passion since I am a little child. I am a very patient and caring person and I think it is very easy for me to work with animals. Photographing pets brings me so much joy. I love the challenge to capture the real character and soul of the dog.
Anne’s Advice on Crafting a Beautiful Pet Portrait
I am very lucky because I think I am living in one the most beautiful regions in Austria. It is a paradise for every photographer. Therefore, it is not really difficult to find awesome places for taking breathtaking photographs. Often we are deceived by our perception, because there are very many places that we spontaneously do not determine as particularly attractive. It’s a bit of an exercise but in the course of time, one develops more and more a view for special places.
However, first of all two things should be noted: Avoid disturbing elements in the background. My main focus in the selection of the location is concentrated on a relatively quiet background. In my opinion, a too restless background simply distract too much from the motive. Therefore, when looking through the viewfinder always make sure that there are not too many interfering objects in the background or in the direction of the dog. In the forest I look mostly for places which are relatively wide open and where not much disturbing scrub is. It is also important to make sure that there is not a tree etc. behind the dog, because this often looks as if the strain would grow directly from the head of the dog.
Just follow the rule: put the dog as far away from the background as possible, use a large focal length and a large aperture to show the background very blurry and to remove any disturbing trees or branches. The foreground plays an important role for the image effect. A restless foreground, e.g. individual blades of grass, can already destroy a harmonic image. So, lay on the floor or get the camera just close to the blades of grass or branches.Then they will be directly in front of the lens creating a beautiful blur range and you get a really great relief of the foreground!
Tips from Anne on Catching Great Pet Portraits
I think the most challenging thing in dog photography is to capture the real character and soul of the dog to create a living photo. Therefore, it is really important to get involved with the dog to create the perfect picture of him. Each dog has his own emotions and expressions. Some of them are ridiculous, others are very concentrated.
Always consider some things while taking photos of dogs:
– Be patient and let the dog explore the location.
– Shoot at eye level.
– The dogs stance should appear natural.
– Catch their attention! Dogs are easily distracted so for static shots use toys, treats, or funny noises to keep their attention.
– Capture catchlights in the eyes: ensuring you get light reflected in the dogs eyes helps show their expression.
– Use a large aperture to make the background blurry and keep the focus on the dog.
– Light is the most important point in photography. Depending on the weather, the season, and the time of the day, the most varied light moods are created. With the light, one creates certain moods and arouses emotions. The light determines the colors of the image.
Anne’s Other Interests
Right now I have to spend all my energy on writing my Master Thesis. I hope I can start new projects with dog photography in 2017.
Beside the photography, I love hiking. It is always a small challenge, you can forget everything around you and you are proud of yourself when you have reached the summit. There is nothing nicer than to enjoy the wonderful view after a strenuous hike on over 2000m. This would be also the reason why I wanted to improve my skills in landscape photography.
Furthermore I love to be creative. The right side of my brain is working the whole day. Drawing plays a major role in my life. It is the best thing to calm down after a stressful day.
For the future, I want to pursue traveling again much more. I want to see more of the beauty of the different landscapes all over the world. Particularly I want to explore the northern countries like Norway, Sweden, Ireland… My next destination will be Island and after I finished my studies I would like to fulfill a long-awaited dream to travel with Finn to Norway by car.
Accolades and Charity
I won several awards in international photo contests like I shot it and heartbeat of nature. Furthermore I am working together with an animal photography agency and many of my pictures get published in books, magazines, and calendars. The British Magazine “Dog’s Today” also uses my photography in the category “the best dog photographs in the world” in each edition.
The last two years I had two “calendar projects” for a good cause which was very important for me. Half of the revenue of the calendar sales was transferred to an animal help organization. They financed vaccinations for the dogs so they could leave the shelter and start their new life!
Animal protection is a very important issue to me since my two own dogs, Cindy and Finn, are rescued. Cindy was from an animal shelter in Austria and Finn comes from a rescue organization in Rumania. The first calendar stood under the motto “Graffiti Dogs” and the calendar in the year 2015 was called “Season Dogs”.
I also created last years mediation photos for an animal shelter. Good mediation photos are worth a lot.
Anne Geier and Pet Portraits Gallery
A Final Word
Thanks for joining us for Behind the Lens with Anne Geier! If you would like to keep up with Anne and see what new and beautiful creations she’s made, check out her website! Anne is also on 500px and Facebook!
And as always, I want to personally invite you to check out Topaz Labs on social media. We have Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. And did you know we also offer free Webinars and have a great Discussion Forum?
Thanks for checking out another great Behind the Lens! Next month we’ll learn more about Bob Kramer and automotive art!