My interview today is with the inspiring, vastly talented Bernadette Uzcategui of B U P photography.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am obsessed with all things small, cute and/or made of chocolate. I laugh loudly, adore dogs, and secretly wish I could become Ina Garten’s BFF so that I could cook in her kitchen and attend her fabulous parties.
Where is your home?
Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvnia
If you could build your dream home anywhere, where would it be?
The Amalfi coast, definitely
When You are not photographing, what are you up to?
I am usually trying to keep up with my toddler and my little pup, Kia!
Do you twitter?
I do, tweet, tweet! My Twitter.
How about facebook?
Absolutely! My Facebook.
Tell us more about your photography:
I work on-location (meaning outside of a studio) and am constantly in search of that perfect golden creamy light when I am with clients. I look for composition and color when setting up shots, then sit and wait for that moment…that connection, the energy, the SPARK that lights up my subjects. I throw my heart and a dash of humor into my shoots….then I do a little dance.
How long have you been photographing pets and how did you get started?
I have been shooting for myself around 12 years, professionally about 2. My little muse is my very own fluffy Bischon-mix rescue pup, Kia. Her personality and sparkle made me fall in love with capturing pets. I started documenting our lives together when we lived in Manhattan, and I never would have imagined that it would have led me to my dream profession…I love my job!
What kind of pet photography do you do? Do you have a specialty?
I specialize in photographing adorable dogs I seriously have the most amazing clients, and each shoot is completely different because of the personalities involved. I love to set the scene in urban locations….the color and lines of the architecture in the city make for a pretty amazing backdrop.
Do you do anything special to prepare for a photo shoot with a pet?
I typically ask owners to bring along a snack for pets….many times when you see a dog looking soulfully into my lens, I am holding a tasty morsel just above my lens for extra motivation! I also have to warm up my vocal chords…I make all kinds of crazy noises to grab Fido’s attention!
What was the most challenging pet photo shoot you have done? Any funny stories?
The most challenging pet shoot that comes to mind was a recent urban session…with 2 cats. One white, one black (fun for metering!), one blind, the other deaf, one shy, the other adventurous, and both totally UNINTERESTED in me! Picture me, laying in a grubby alley in Philadelphia, barking/meowing/singing at the top of my lungs, while throwing catnip in the air and shooting in manual mode. It was definitely a challenge!
Do you have any tips for readers about how to take better photos of their pets?
There are all sorts of technical things you can do for better photos, but my biggest pet-specific tips would be:
1) Take them outside! Let them run and play and be themselves! Happy dogs = happy photos
2) Shoot plenty and FAST.
3) If you have a high-energy pet, try to take them for a long walk/run before trying to grab those face shots. Chances are, they will move a little more slowly for you afterward, and will be really motivated when that treat comes out and sits on top of your camera!
4) Don’t forget the details…little tail, crinkly nose…those ingredient make for delicious photos!
5) Get low! Get on the ground and roll around with your pups for a fun new perspective…but make sure you check for land-mines if you are kneeling in grass (I have learned that lesson the hard way several times!)
What do you love the most about your job?
I love so many aspects of it, I am not sure I can pick just one. I love seeing even the toughest guys turn into mush when they are cuddling their doggies. I love seeing the way kids and dogs bond almost instinctively. And mostly, I adore hanging out with pets…they are warm and adorable, and are never embarrassed to be SILLY. Can’t beat that!
What is your favorite image in your current portfolio and why?
I think Yorkie on the bike is my current favorite, although it’s tough to choose because I get so emotionally tied to clients and their images! The stars kind of seemed to align for this shoot, and this fun color and composition was just sitting there for the taking in downtown Philly. Bella is a girly-girl, so this photo holds a lot of humor and irony for me as well!
Who are your influences?
For pet photography, I adore Grace Chon, of Shine Pet Photos and Erin Vey. They are truly remarkable photographers.
What is currently in your photography bag?
I am a Canon girl!
- 5D Mk2
- 24-70, 2.8L
- 50, 1.4USM
- 16-35, 2.8L
- 100, 2.8USM
Mac or PC?
I *heart* Mac
How important is Photoshop in your final images?
For me, it is a huge piece of the final images, just as the darkroom was when I used film. I don’t do a lot of “doctoring”, but I do minor adjustments, burning, etc. to bring another level of finesse and excitement to an image after a shoot. Photoshop is definitely a tool to add depth to digital images, but will never take the place of nailing exposure and composition in-camera.
Can you share more of your recent images with us?
With pleasure! Thanks so much!
Thank you Bernadette for your time and sharing your awesome tips and talent with us all!