Lou Bopp, a St. Louis-based lifestyle photographer, captured authentic in-action pet brand images for PetSmart, the largest specialty pet retailer in the world. Lou was commissioned to create a library of photos for the brand to showcase their doggie hotel, grooming, training, and daycare through lifestyle pictures of the animals and their handlers.
Most of the shots were a must-have. But with dogs, there’s always the element of the unknown, even more than usual.
After discovering Lou’s gallery, the pet retailer initiated a zoom call through The Gren Group (the agency that represents Lou) and the creative chemistry flowed from there. Lou specializes in creating content depicting lifestyle, corporate, and pet brand imagery for agency and corporate clients. His images help to reflect the personality present in all the dogs he captures, and while his subjects are tame they don’t feel limited by a studio environment.
My style aligned with their needs and it was a fit because we were shooting authentic lifestyle-like scenes with people and animals.
It was to be expected that this project would be unpredictable due to the nature of animals. Hiring the correct dog wrangler, casting for the dogs, and their backups were crucial components for the success of the shoot.
The project took place in early 2021 in two cities — Kansas City and Phoenix. Lou photographed the animals on-site at PetSmart locations, as well as a rented house for the lifestyle images. As a result of COVID travel restrictions, the agency could not be on-site at either location.
Lou and his team set up multiple cameras to live stream the set, including several fixed camera angles and one roaming camera that followed Lou’s perspective. Wearing AirPods with a hot mic, Lou could communicate with the agency creatives and seamlessly continue to direct the action and shoot as if they were there with him. While it would have been ideal to have them on set, Lou thought this system worked out really well.
My favorite part is the chemistry, being on set with a great team, an awesome client, and creating images…it’s a passion-filled buzz!
Production unfolded as planned and Lou had enough time to get all the images on his shot list, despite a few of the dogs getting tired or not “hitting their marks.” This was to be expected, and the team provided backup dogs to ensure the project went smoothly. Lou also ventured off to get additional photos of the subjects he thought the client might enjoy.
I’m always on the hunt for serendipitous moments and to leverage my time.
After making some basic retouching adjustments, Lou delivered the selects, and the agency ran with it from there.
Throughout the project, Lou ensured that he connected with all involved, both agency and client, and learned as much as he could about the day-to-day operation and culture of PetSmart. He found the entire experience engaging from the get-go and appreciated getting to work with such a large, respected brand alongside their loyal, furry customers.
I’m always learning, especially about a new client and their brand, which is always super cool!