This post is by Jaron Schneider from PetaPixel
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Audrey Bellot is a French dog portrait photographer who turned her hobby into a profession. Spurred by an experience at a dog shelter, Bellot mixes an understanding of canine behavior with photography to achieve wildly successful results.
Bellot’s interest in photography began in 2012, but in 2018 photography became her main profession.
“I started photography by photographing mainly horses, sometimes dogs,” she tells PetaPixel. “Then I discovered that dog photography fascinated me more. I became more sensitive to their expressions and the moments we can share with them. I was fascinated by many breeds, I liked to spend my free
learning about dog breeds in school books. I grew up with dogs since I was a child, and I think the loss of one of our dogs when I was a teenager made me want to continue capturing memories of them. The connection you can have with dogs can be really deep, and with each new dog you meet, it is always a special moment.”
Today most of her clients or models come from Facebook and Instagram.
“Many people have an Instagram account for their pets these days, making it easy to find models all over the world,” Bellot says.
Bellot’s images look expertly posed, and that is not by accident. Not only does she work with the dog’s owner, but she also spends time carefully considering the environment in which each dog is placed.
“Most of the time, the owners are guided in order to lead the dog to a precise pose or a place in the place where the whole becomes harmonious. Sometimes I simply suggest a place and let the dog interact with their environment,” she explains. “In these conditions, most dogs reveal their full potential because they are completely free to move and can relax. Some poses are more complex, so the dog needs more time to understand what is being asked of them. We always use positive reinforcement to reward good attitudes. I often encourage owners when they do a good work with their dogs, it motivates them and brings a positive atmosphere to the session.”
Bellot says that ahead of a shoot, she decides how she wants to create an image through a combination of a location and the dog’s coloration.
“I look for sets of colors and tones to associate. These can be tones on tones, but also strong contrasts between the color of the dog and its environment. A very dark-colored dog will associate well with a lighter background and in specific light conditions, such as a soft light for example. The breed of the dog greatly affects the image and the emotion that emanates from it, so I carefully choose the breeds that I wish to highlight for a project,” she explains.
“I have a preference for medium to large dogs as I can capture more of the surrounding landscape without drowning the subject in it,” Bellot says.
For Bellot, hearing her explain how she chose this profession is as much about her ability to create great images as it is about spiritual fulfillment.
“For a long time, I had been looking for what I wanted to achieve, what I wanted to say through my images,” she says. “In 2018, I decided to offer my help to a shelter in Romania, this passage of my life is an experience that nobody could forget. Having always been very attached to the animal cause, it seemed normal to me to give my time to a cause that is close to my heart, and I think we should all do it.”
Bellot shared the two images below from that experience.
“It doesn’t matter if your cause is different, but this kind of experience brings you a lot, both humanly and photographically, in fact, I think the two are intrinsically linked. When you change as a person, your vision changes and you aspire to new things. I think I can say that this particular journey has changed my life and it is partly thanks to it that I have become the person and the photographer I am today.”
Image credits: Photos by Audrey Bellot and used with permission.