The Making of Group Animal Portraits

Ever wanted to create a family portrait of all of your pets or animals on your hobby farm?

Recently, I was commissioned to create a portrait of nineteen animals on a local farm to collate into one composite image of them all and decided to show you exactly what goes into the making of a portrait of this nature.

This may be my most self-deprecating post to date but this needs to be said before you all go to town and criticise this photo. As a photographer, I’ve always prided myself on the fact that I use Photoshop so little. I like to get the light right in camera or on set, and try to choose flattering angles so that my subjects don’t need nipping or tucking or a Photoshop facelift. My client’s love the fact that they look good naturally. So, what’s this got to do with animals you ask?

I am no master in Photoshop. I’m not a graphic artist. I can remove a blemish or tweak colour or straighten a horizon, but go beyond that and I’m a novice experimenting. If you look closely, you will see the edges aren’t perfect and making this final composite photo has taken me several hours. Add to that the time it took to get the photos in the field in the first place. This is not a gripe - I loved doing it and am always delighted to work with animals, am just saying this is not a 5minute job, it takes hours to arrive at this end product.

BUT, what a wonderful keepsake, to have their beloved pets all displayed in the one family-like photo.

While it may not be perfectly edited, the reality is, even if it was you’d still be able to tell that the image was produced in a digital space. Can you imagine trying to get all the animals lined up looking at the camera at the same time? Impossible!

Go behind the scenes on this animal portrait shoot and see my creative process to make this animal portrait.

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