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Wordless Wednesday Winner – Patrick Nau Photography

January 26, 2011 9 comments

This week I’m combining two of my regular features (well okay, ONE of my regular features and one of my OLD ones) – Wordless Wednesday and Wednesday Winners.

In the Wordless Wednesday portion of this post, I am featuring a photo from Patrick Nau Photography. As always, feel free to add a caption! (You can see more of Patrick’s photos below.)

In the Wednesday Winners portion of this post I am featuring Patrick Nau himself. Patrick has been photographing people for 25 years, and people with their pets pets for over 5 years. His photographs are so good that they actually look like paintings. He is a phenomenal photographer, a genuinely nice person, and the official photographer for Mel’s Pet Pals clients! Check out my interview with him below.

Interview with Patrick Nau of Patrick Nau Photography

How did you get started photographing people and their pets? What motivated you?

I have photographed families with their dogs in a park setting for many years. However, about 6 years ago things changed dramatically when I decided to get into pet photography after reading a story about a pet photographer and seeing his work in one of the professional magazines I receive . The work was shockingly bad and the photographer thought he was great. I got mad and said to myself–I could do better than that. I realized I needed to practice [on several pets] and worked out and arrangement with the vetinarian across the street to photograph her employees with their pet(s). When I was done with that project, I was ready to be a pet photographer.

What are you looking for when you photograph a person’s pet?

The things I look for when photographing dogs are to show (depending on the breed) the cuteness, beauty, dignity, strength, nobility and any other striking feature or reaction, the dog shows that is most complimentary to itself.

How do you know when you’ve gotten that “perfect” shot?

With many dogs it is easy to take great shots–they pose really well and it is easy for me to take nice portraits of them. When it is more of a challenge–that is when there are multiples dogs or if they are high strung, energetic and so on, I use all my bag of tricks and always work so that I can get short blocks of time where everything is just right and I can take a whole series of portraits I like.

What do you find most challenging about photographing pets?

To be honest the most challeng thing about pet photography is when a dog is poorly trained and the owner is really not in charge of his or her dog. This does not happen often but can certainly make for a challenging session.

What are some tips you can give people to better prepare for a photography session with a photographer like yourself? (Are there things they can do to before their appointment to better prepare their pet?)

There are things that owners can do to prepare for a session ahead of time. Dogs that are very active and energetic should be walked or run beforehand to use up some of that boundless energy. A visit to the groomer before the session is always a plus.

Do you have a funny story about photographing a pet?

When I photographed the first vet clinic employee with her dog, I couldn’ find my preparation list ahead of time. I rushed the session and knew we probably did not have many good pictures. The dog was scared and the owner struggled.

After we were done and doing the paper work in my front lobby –she screamed “Oh No!” as the dog went #2 right in the middle of the room. I told her not to worry as that was a fiiting response from her dog regarding the session. Later on I found the list–the first thing on it–give the dog plenty of time to explore and get comfortable BEFORE you start the session!

Okay. Now for the tough question… Which is more difficult? Photographing people or pets?

Which is easier to photograph–dogs or kids? Well, for the most part I would have to say DOGS!

Here are some other great photos taken by Patrick Nau:

By the way, Patrick has a great “Getting Started” page on his website that tells people how to have a successful portrait session. Really helpful information!

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