When you are photographing animals, you never know for sure what pictures you're gonna get. But that's part of the charm.
Combining her love for dogs and everything vintage, photographer Lynn Terry has invited a colorful pack to pose in her custom-made photo booth.
"I had these old curtains that looked like old photo booth curtains [so] I tested the idea out while working on a calendar for the local rescue featuring their pit bulls," Terry told Fashion Life. "I wasn't sure it would work sort of boxing them in. So my first plan was to take the photos and apply a vintage look with some antique frames that I had."
The first two pups who modeled for her were living together and were comfortable being in each other's "dog space." During the shoot, they spontaneously started kissing and it immediately rolled out into a sequence where Terry could see their little thought bubbles: "First let's look at the camera and smile, then let's look at each other, ok, now quick, make out!"
The photographer absolutely loved it, so she kept playing around with the concept. Eventually, the images went viral and she even published a book called Tails from the Booth.
You could say Terry's journey toward this project started a while ago. After graduating college, she got a Fine Arts degree with a photography emphasis. After that, she got a job at a commercial/advertising photography studio to start off her career.
"I didn't have pets as a child," Terry said. "I was given a dog for my birthday in college. I started using my pet as my subject a lot. I was so smitten with her and wanted to start doing more for rescue dogs. I began fostering for a small local rescue group and taking photos. This was back when neither taking photos for rescue groups nor iPhones were a thing."
"They saw the uptick in adoptions with the help of the photos. It slowly evolved into people asking me to take photos of their dogs. It was a slow climb into a full-fledged business. Back then, people laughed often at people spending money to take photos of their pets. When clients would reach out, it was almost with a whispered request and a 'please don't laugh at me.' I am thrilled that the general acceptance of including and valuing our pets as family has changed over the years."
Once Terry started the book, she was trying to focus on all the different breeds, as well as mutts. At this point she had been working with animal rescue and was able to make casting calls and get lots of volunteers. "I tried to work with siblings who lived in the same home. It's sort of a big ask to put two strangers in a space together—human or four-legged," Terry explained. "Most often if I tried that, there was no real chemistry."
A typical photo session of one group would take about an hour or so. Terry started by putting them in the booth and rewarding them. If they were like "OK, this is cool," she might've started taking photos right away. But if the dogs were confused, they got more treats and were able to sniff around and calm themselves down. Then, Terry would try again.
"I would do this until they thought 'OK, this is fun, I get a treat each time I am here.' Most dog photo sessions are training exercises. Set them up for success. If a dog isn't having it, don't force it."
Once on set, Terry would do three or four rounds. First, she tried to achieve a shot of the dogs smiling at the camera. Then, after a break, the dogs might've made a funny face (usually seen as an outtake or mistake shot because they aren't that flattering). Another break. During round three, Terry tried something different. Like a serious or skeptical look. "I might make noises that confuse them to get this," she said. One more break. Round four. Maybe the dog has a special talent? What about if Terry breaks out the peanut butter or throws treats and tries to get kissing images or crazy faces? Success? Finished!