Kenny and Debra King help rescue dogs. That’s not all they do with their stellar portrait photography, but they’ve honed their process for animal photography to the big benefit of a local animal shelter, and particularly the animals themselves.
“We are big dog people and we rescue. One of our cocker spaniels passed away about five years ago. We started looking around at the rescue sites and noticing that all the photography was not just poorly taken, but it made all the animals look like you didn’t really want to take them home with you,” explains Kenny King, who with his wife, Debra, owns Dream Copy Photo in downtown Owensboro, Ky. “My wife and I decided that we would look for a local shelter and take more happy pictures, not behind a cage or a screen, or on a leash. Since that time, about four or five years ago, we’ve been photographing about 100-150 animals per year for them.”
Though it’s easy to say they have the process down, Kenny says, “It’s really like we’re doing it for the first time every time; it’s just unpredictable with an animal. They’re not able to adopt animals out until they’re fixed, and once they are they’re immediately able to put them on the website, so sometimes the day of their surgery is when they’ll bring them into the studio. So they’re a little groggy and easier to hold still for a few minutes, but on the bad side they don’t look as playful.”
The dog that garnered a Sunset Print Award, and a perfect 100 score to boot, at the recent PhotoPro Network competition in Owensboro was a little different. In this case, the dog was a little wild and King took about 50 shots until someone came into the room and dog stood at perfect attention for the perfect capture.
“I was on the print crew at the competition, so I was setting the print on the turntable spinning it around and I can hear the judges saying, ‘This has to be a show dog. The pose is just amazing; I don’t know how they got the dog to pose like that,’” Kenny recalls. “You get what you get most of the time, and that’s exactly what happened. I think the judges liked the lighting and how the rim light came down the side of the dog and the back of the legs to create separation from the backdrop. It’s just a two-light setup, but keeping it off the trunk is always a major deal because it has a shiny surface.”
Kenny adds that Debra does a lot of the color schemes for backgrounds and props, and this particular setting was the perfect complement to the dogs coloring. “The white in the dog is cream enough so it works well; it toned just perfect.”
Congratulations to the Kings, who are now automatically entered into the Sunset Print Award national competition. To find out more about a regional or state competition where a Sunset Print Award is being presented go to www.sunsetprint.com. Remember, only winners of each of those competitions are entered into the national competition. Good luck!