We’ve all seen those adorable children photographers that dress up their subjects in hats and costumes and put them in fun yet highly trendy and somewhat overdone props. Although the trend is vast, it still has clients begging. Now what if the same “prop” stylization was integrated into pet photography? Have you seen a dog in a fur coat? Or a Weiner dog in a wig? Or maybe a Boxer in a stroller? It’s creativity at its finest and its people like Serena Hodson that stand out with her quirky and whimsical animal portraits.
With creative human-like story lines and inventive concepts, Serena portrays her favorite little furry friends in the most friendly and conceptual circumstances. Art is meant to trigger emotions and in this case, joy could be the obvious outcome. I mean, come on. Seeing Ralph, the Weiner dog as the reining hot dog eating champion is bound to brighten anyone’s day.
Based in Brisbane, Australia, Serena has wowed photography fanatics and pet lovers with her intuitive and creative approach. Her International Multi Award Winning work revolves around her own dogs, Rocco, Ralph, Reddells and Simon. Because of the trust and relationship she has with her dogs, it’s apparent that her love of her own pets and personal connection is integrated into her work.
Serena’s favorite gear:
“I’m a Nikon girl. I love my D800e and my back up D700. I have a few lenses in my bag but the one I love and rarely leaves my camera is my 24-70 f/2.8. I love this baby. Its so versatile.”
“My advice first and foremost is to have a passion for what you do. Photograph things you really care about and interests you, not things you feel you ought to. Photograph them in the way you feel is right and not the way you think you ought to. My passion has always been photographing my dogs and animals in general. I was encouraged to step outside of my comfort zone and look at other subjects and styles, but I choose to always follow and stay true to my heart.
Be open to criticism and remember not everyone will love what you do. My favourite quote is ‘To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing’. There will always be haters but never let them stop you. Learn and grow stronger from them. Patience will reward you with your subjects. Working with animal shoots sometimes things never go as planned. It’s always unpredictable what they will give you. This is what makes it wonderful. Use this to make your audience fall in love with your subject.
Learn your gear but don’t let it over shadow your creative side. The most important lesson is understanding light as this is what creates mood.
Have a clear vision with your style. It’s okay to have influence in your photography but be careful what is influence vs copy.
Find a mentor. I was lucky enough to find one who I have a huge amount of respect for. They always tell it to me straight. Sometimes you need that truth to grow and improve.”
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*Photofocus presents the Photographer of the Week as a case study in great photography