Thursday 6 November 2014

Daily Menu Outtakes

Every now and again one of the team asks me to make them a poster for an event or whatever. This fills me with dread for two reasons:

  • I suck at doing "on demand" photo's.
  • I suck at doing posters.

My photography is somewhat opportunistic. I go chat with some bunnies, they hang out, they do some stuff, I take a picture of whatever they do. Sometimes they don't want to do anything and I don't take a picture. My contribution to what goes in the pictures is deciding which bunnies to chat to, I let them decide on where to stand, the poses they strike and what have you.

Then there's the poster part. Having no graphic design skills, training or in fact any sort of clue in this area, I really don't know what I'm doing when it comes to making posters. Sure, I used to do simple posters for my band back in the '90s, but in the '90s excessive clip-art use was considered perfectly acceptable. Especially if all your text and backgrounds had a gaudy gradient fill to make them look "professional".

[Note to self - if feeling brave, insert old band poster here. No? OK, fair enough, probably for the best.]

But unfortunately we don't live in the '90s anymore and pretty much everyone over the age of seven who has used it has a better grasp of Photoshop than me.

So guess how enthusiastic I was when Cat asked me to knock up a poster showing a bunny next to appropriate portion sizes of their daily feed?! "Some chance THAT'S gonna work out!" I thought to myself (and "Of course I can!" I said to Cat).

With no real idea how I was going to do the thing, I sought the help of my good friend Sushi. Having lived in my house for many months during 2012 he trusts me enough to just go along with the unusual activities of a staged photo-shoot. On top of which, he knows me well enough that he will quickly tell me if I'm annoying him in any way, often through the medium of educational nips and stern looks. But things went pretty well, the end result was a reasonably looking picture for the purpose, so I knocked it up into a simple poster which Cat was able to use.

When they saw the poster, a number of people were surprised at how I'd managed to get the picture - how on earth had I convinced a bunny to sit calmly surrounded by an assortment of snacks while his picture was taken? So I figured this might make for a simple photo tip. And here it is.

When staging a shot of bunnies, there is one skill you need over and above all others: Patience.

Because that perfect moment you see in the picture is just that - a moment. All you need to capture it is the patience to sit through all the chaotic ones that preceded it calmly waiting for it to arrive. (And because we love our bunnies, to always put their needs first, spot when they've had enough, be prepared to let them be and do something else instead.)

Well anyway, it's a pretty basic and obvious tip. Sushi didn't seem to understand where I wanted him to stand, or which way to face, or any of the other instructions I tried to give him, but he is a good sport and didn't mind hanging out with me while we figured it out. After setting up the props, the whole thing took about 10 minutes of Sushi's time with the shot I wanted happening right at the end. Below are some of the less perfect moments leading up to it - as you can see, they don't quite work as an illustration of how much to feed your bunny as much as they demonstrate how bunnies just like to do their own thing!

"Well if you want me to sit on this hay I'm going to have to re-arrange it first..."

"Oh, you didn't want it flattened or me sat on it? Well why didn't you say?!"

"Here right? OK, how about this - this is my pouting James Dean good?"

If you want to see the final poster it is up on our Facebook and Instagram pages.


  1. I am always just amazed whenever A film crew shows what goes on behind the scenes.

  2. (If this appears twice, my apologies, it appears Blogger ate my first reply!)

    It probably helps that your subject matter is as cute as the Dickens. (I never really understood that saying, the human writer Dickens never struck me as all that cute.)

    I had a friend who set up a HD video camera and then took still shots out of it, but always said that it was a good thing she wasn't using the (profanity laden) sound track. She probably did 50 times as much work than your method. :)

    Your patience and skill with wabbits appears in your art (photography) every time. :) They're always so fantastic!