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I see them every spring! Spring time mini sessions offered with live bunnies, chicks, goats, even cows. And they’re so cute! It’s hard to imagine why some photographers don’t offer spring mini sessions with live animals.
Animals- and toddlers, let’s be honest- are unpredictable. At best. Inviting live animals onto a set invites trouble and potential injuries with it. This has to be the most common sense reason. Beyond liability, insurance, and fault lies the most important aspect- the safety of all involved. Even the most well-trained animals and calm children have their days. There are documented cases ranging from minor scratches to animal asphyxiation.
Staying on topic of animals and children being unpredictable, if the animal(s) get a little spooked and hurt a child, or if the child gets a little too rambunctious and hurts the animal that I’m renting from someone else- who is at fault? Who is liable for this? Which insurance covers medical bills and so on? My business insurance, for sure. But more than that, does the photographer themselves become liable beyond what the business insurance covers?
Photoshoots have electronics and wires. Between the camera equipment and lighting and more, that’s a lot to watch and keep away from animals that like to chew. If they do chew through wiring, there is now a safety hazard and potentially injured animal on set. The sessions are of course done for the day, and the foreseeable future while insurance is sorted out and gear replaced. Most barn yard animals are not potty trained! Accidents on set/props also stops sessions for that day while messes are cleaned and sanitized.
The USDA requires that photographers have the proper licensing to ensure both their clients and the animals safety when working with live animals. This can include inspections of studio/location to ensure the safety and well-being of all involved. Even for just ONE animal, a USDA license must be obtained. (Licensing and Registration Under the Animal Welfare Act.) Beyond USDA requirements, local state authorities have their own that vary from state to state. To see if your photographer has a legal license to perform such sessions, click HERE to access the USDA-APHIS databank.
Baby rabbits and chicks have been known to carry and pass along Salmonella. This could be potentially devastating to small children! Please click this link to see the signs and symptoms of SALMONELLA. Tularemia is another dangerous disease that can be passed from rabbits to children.
I know I already covered this earlier, but I have to say it again! Animals poop when and where they want. On studio floors, wires and cables, props, your children’s outfits, your children…. Enough said? Yeah, I think so!
So how do you get those super cute and snuggly images with animals if you don’t have them around the actual children?? Photoshop. I didn’t REALLY snuggle Alfredo against a momma bear and her cubs. Jax isn’t really nestled in around a deer, Sehaj isn’t dangling over the water, and (further below in this article) sweet Kori isn’t sitting inside a can of peaches. These are all captured with photoshop magic, and one of the things I love to do!
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