Does your job require you to sometimes have a pet rat climb on your head? Jean M. Fogle’s does. Well, not every day. “The first time I did a shoot with rats, one ran from the owner, scooted up my leg and ended up on top of my head,” Fogle said. “I found out just how quick rats are.”
Fogle is a freelance photographer who specializes in pets and gardens. She got her start doing photo essays for gardening magazines. When her Jack Russell terrier Molly entered her life, Fogle branched out into photographing and writing about dogs. She even created Salty Dogs, a photo book about dogs at the beach published by Wiley.
Although dogs are Fogle’s main pet focus, she also photographs more unique small animal pets. Her first small animal subject was the pet rabbit Anjelka, owned by a friend. Fogle tried out her new studio lights on this new pet. “I quickly found out that rabbits don’t work when they don’t want to! Also when Anjelka was finished she gave her owner a tiny nip, as if to say, enough is enough.”
This experience was a definite change from Fogle’s typical dog photo shoots. “Most of the dogs I photograph are performance dogs, so they are highly trained. When asked to sit and stay, most comply. Small animal pets aren’t trained, so I quickly had to come up with a way to get them where I wanted them for the photos. Food helps!”
A small animal photo shoot typically runs from 1 to 2 hours long. “The pets usually tell us when they are finished with all the nonsense.”
Fogle is open to photographing any pet, although she has a soft spot for rabbits after rescuing four orphaned wild rabbits years ago. “We managed to raise three to an age where we could release them, hence the love of bunnies.”
One pet species that she hasn’t had a chance to photograph yet but would like to is hedgehogs. “I think they would be fun, and I love the way they look.”
For any pet owners aspiring to capture great shots of their furry friend, Fogle offers this advice: “Get down, get dirty and get in close to get the images you want of your small pets. Often owners take a picture then have to crop most of the picture away to get their pet to show up.”
Catch some of Fogle’s photo work in the 2010 issue of Critters USA.