American Bulldog in Prospect Park

American Bulldog in Prospect Park

It was so hot and humid that evening in Prospect Park that I couldn’t get photos of this beauty with his mouth closed. What you can’t see is that I felt the same way. I hope to get to work with him on another shoot in cooler weather.

American Bulldog in Prospect Park

American Bulldog in Prospect Park

American Bulldog in Prospect Park

American Bulldog in Prospect Park

Alan Barnett, NYC pet photography

Portrait Shoot Crashed by a Vizsla

While a businesswoman was posing for her profile photo for her company website, my studiomate’s hound invited himself onto the set. The photo shoot was fun to begin with, but it ended on a really high note.

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Introducing Watson and Crick, the Cutest Kittens on the Planet

In September, my 11-year-old cat Valrhona died of lymphoma. I’ve had cats for the past 25 years, and while I couldn’t imagine living without them, I wanted to take some time to enjoy life without scooping litter and fur flying everywhere. That period didn’t last as long as I thought it would, because in November I noticed that I felt sad every time I opened my door and was not greeted by a furry friend.

So it was time to adopt, and I decided that it would take two kittens to fill the hole in my heart left by Valrhona. The previous August, I volunteered to photograph a benefit for the rescue organizations The Toby Project and Animal Haven. Remembering that, I headed downtown to Animal Haven and met a lively litter of seven kittens, eight weeks old. I played with them all and found a strong connection with two of them. Later that afternoon my application was approved, and I brought them home the next day.

Well, I couldn’t have asked for better kittens. They’re very social, and they love meeting new people. Best of all, they sleep all night and don’t get up until I’m ready. They’re challenging to photograph, and I hope to keep trying throughout their lives. We had a short session in the studio and made the rest of the photos at home. After about three weeks of waiting, their names presented themselves. As they were wrestling, they appeared intertwined like a double-helix, and being a science geek since high school, I thought to name then after the Nobel-prize-winning team who discovered the molecular structure of DNA, James Watson and Francis Crick. Watson is the black-and-white male, and Crick is the faux-Siamese female.

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Say Goodbye to Valrhona

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Eight years ago I rescued the most beautiful cat, who ended up in a shelter after her first owner died. She was three years old. Her color reminded me of delicious chocolate, so I named her Valrhona. I believe in adopting pets who need homes rather than buying from breeders, and with Valrhona, I got the best of both. She had all the qualities you’d expect in a Siamese. She was a truly affectionate and devoted lap cat, marvelously vocal at all the right times, and she came when I called her name.

About six weeks ago she was diagnosed with lymphoma. I brought her to my studio while she was still looking good hoping to preserve her image for my memory. It turned out that she maintained her good looks until her last breath.

Rest in peace, Valrhona.

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Dog Day Afternoon

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During the December holidays, work tends to slow down around my office. One day, one of my officemates brought her charming mastiff to work. By mid afternoon we had both run out of things to do, so I set up my studio for an impromptu photo shoot. Our model turned out to be not very cooperative, but I was able to score these two shots before she left the set.

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Pet Photography

I had the pleasure of photographing two lively Italian Greyhounds and their owners in my studio. The plan was to photograph just the dogs alone and together, but toward the end of the shoot the owners decided they wanted a family portrait. Luckily the dogs were small, so there was room for everyone in front of the seamless. The owners wanted the photos in black-and-white, which was perfect for the dogs.

Pet photography is most successful when the camera is level with the pets. I spent most of the shoot on the floor on my belly while the owners tried to keep them in place with toys and treats. I feared that a lighting setup with lights on stands would get in my way lying on the floor and could be a tripping hazard for everyone involved. Instead I set up a 6-foot x 3-foot white reflector horizontally on the floor behind me and aimed two remote-controlled Speedlites at it. This flooded the set with even light that matched the exuberant mood of the dogs.