Sometimes Things Don't Turn Out As Planned
I take pictures for AARCS to help stray animals find a new home. It is usually a bit of a "run and gun" process as time is limited and the resolution of the pictures on their website is very low. There is never the opportunity to do a preliminary evaluation of the setting and animal. This can be a creative opportunity, challenging one to optimize compositions and lighting on the fly.
But, sometimes the subject decides not to play along. Most cats and dogs are somewhat wary of individuals crawling around on the floor waving cameras around and flashing off strobe lights. With a little patience, care in introduction, and the delivery of treats and toys, most subjects move quickly to wary curiosity allowing for the creation of a suite of pictures that present the subject in a good light.
Unfortunately, this was not the case with Fwooper. She decided that the best approach was to hide under the couch until things returned to normal. Toys and the temptation of treats had no effect. We gave her some time but it soon became apparent that our patience was no match for the patience of a cat. She wasn't moving.
Fortunately, the foster parent had previously taken some very nice pictures and we had managed to capture a few shots before she settled herself under the couch. This gave us what we needed to support her adoption so we called it a day. I bring this up to highlight the importance of having a confident relaxed subject.
One of the ways we normally use to get there is through a "meet and greet". A "meet and greet" is a non-photographic session that introduces the photographer and the subject. It allows the photographer, the pet and the pet's parents to get to know each other, resulting in less stress during the actual photographic session. It also provides an opportunity to evaluate settings, discuss styles, and plan equipment but that is secondary to the need to develop a level of trust and familiarity that fosters more normalized behavior during the actual photo shoot.
A photo shoot will not succeed if the subject and/or the owners are stressed. Everything that can be done to make the actual shoot a relaxing fun experience for all involved will pay dividends in the quality of the final picture.