Need your help!

Blessing of the Animals - 2004

I know that, as a whole, bloggers are pretty shy about stating their opinions online. So I’m going to ask you to take a step outside your comfort zone for a few minutes and let me know what you think. Uh, yeah. Shy. That’s it. Right.

But seriously, I do need your help. In a month or so, J.P. and I will be the official photographers at “our” rescue’s Blessing of the Animals. We’ve done it before. The picture you see above is from 2004, when we still had our old camera. My question is:

What should we do for a backdrop?

We’ve always done some sort of autumn theme, and the event will be held on November 4, so that’s fitting. But I want to keep it interesting so we get repeat business. Who wants a picture of the exact same thing three years in a row? Plus, now that my photography skills have advanced a little, I would like them to look a little more . . . well, advanced.

The facts:

  • The event will be held in our church’s fellowship hall, and there will be all kinds of people, kids, pets, and commotion around us. Also, fluorescent light (but I do have one strobe flash).
  • We print the images on-site and people take theirΒ 5 x 7’s home with them–no time for Photoshopping.
  • As of last week, I have actual backdrop equipment (two stands, and a crossbar over which we could drape a backdrop).
  • Sometimes there are just pets, sometimes there are kids and pets, and still other times there are entire families and their pets.
  • Pet size ranges from German shepherd (and sometimes bigger!) to eight-week-old pups.

So yeah, there are a lot of variations, and of course people are standing around waiting for us, so it’s good if we don’t have to do a lot of adjusting in between each shot.

If you have photography advice for me, that’s great (please comment!). But even if you’re not into photography, what kind of photo/backdrop (possibly autumn-themed, though that definitely isn’t a requirement) would convince you to spend 20-30 minutes and ten bucks? All suggestions welcome!


11 Responses to “Need your help!”

  1. undercovermutha Says:


  2. Sharkey Says:

    Really? It’s posted on Flickr just like my others. Does this link work for you?

  3. undercovermutha Says:

    Alrighty then. I think the straw bale works. Pumpkins are cheap, and so are fake fall leaves. Can you find an off white or brown cloth or fleece as a backdrop? Actually, with pets around, you may want a darker background given the hair shedding factor. You could safety pin some fake leaves to the backdrop. A big clear jar of treats may be a nice addition, too. Props are nice, but sometimes simple is better and less distracting visually.

  4. Suzie Says:

    You know me and you also know my lack of photographic talent, that being said…here’s what I think:

    I agree with UCM in that “less is more” (for my tastes). Sheesh, I’m going to spend my entire comment saying “in my opinion” since you MADE me step outside my comfort zone πŸ˜‰

    I also think a plain “autumn-ish” backdrop (pale orange, light brown or offwhite) might look nice. Since you’re dealing with a plethora of variations (the critters that is) you might just keep it clean and simple. The backdrop might look better with some coat colors vs. others, but such is life. I would almost think a brown or orange would be ok with most coat colors, dark or light.

    I sort of think a neutral backdrop would make the pets/people *pop* more. We all know that everyone loves to see themselves and probably could care less about the surroundings πŸ˜‰

    Some props I think would be cute though….to tie in the Autumn theme (like you have: a bale of straw, a pumpkin, whatnot).

    I’m 100% sure this year’s photos are going to blow the socks off last year’s photos because of how much you’ve grown with your skills….or is that skillz? πŸ˜‰

  5. Karen Says:

    I echo what other people say, but, since you did ask for different ideas I’ll suggest something for you — not so you’ll use it, but just so you have some different ideas to consider and it might spark something better in someone else’s or your own mind.

    What about a “celestial” theme. That would make me stop and wait and put down money (assuming I had a pet, which I don’t). I’m talking about navy blue and gold (or silver) with stylized sun and moon shapes with faces. For sitting on I was thinking boxes draped in dark fabric or painted a dark colour. (Don’t know about pet hair though.)

    Well, hopefully that will inspire someone to go off on another tangent and come up with something else.

  6. dashababy Says:

    I’m a big fan of the fall colored leaves. Like a harvest type theme. I agree, keep it simple. Dress em all up like pumpkins……..ok I’m kidding there.

  7. Susie Says:

    This might not work indoors, but, like Karen, I’ll just throw it out there, maybe it’ll spark another tangent. I like hayride photos. A backdrop that looks like a haywagon, or an actual or facsimile haywagon with hay on it? It says Fall, but not Thanksgiving or Halloweenie. Sounds like a FUN project πŸ™‚

  8. william Says:

    I think you should do thanksgiving pictures. With the animal on the table like a turkey. πŸ™‚

  9. eclectic Says:

    William made me laugh out loud!!!

    What about a “Harvest Moon” -type theme? A dark backdrop, like the autumn night-sky, with a mirror on the floor in the back reflecting a glowing moon, and maybe some cornstalks off to one side? I agree with Sooze that people will be far more interested in the people being photographed than in the setting, but if it’s a little different, it might make me want to drop cash.

  10. undercovermutha Says:

    Shit, William. I needed a full bladder alert before reading that. You know what, you want creativity, that just may be your ticket. Seriously. Although some would not share in our humor.

  11. Peanutt Says:

    Maybe instead of something fall-like, you could reach into the future and shoot some christmas shots? Maybe that will spark people to pay so they can have their christmas card photo already done in advance!

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