As a pet photographer, my normal client is a dog or cat. Never would I expect to photograph Foxes!
Pet foxes are not a normal thing in the UK so this was a once in a lifetime opportunity and it was hard to resist putting fox cuddles before taking the photographs.
I got lucky to work with Joy’s Pets, based in Gloucestershire, UK. Amongst your more exotic animals like reptiles, owls and hedgehogs they now house a small family of foxes. Of course, I took up the challenge of shooting these beautiful but wild creatures and I was so thrilled with the result of the images.
I met two of their foxes and we covered two shoots over a year. Both foxes live outdoors whilst interacting with humans and their owners so they are mostly domesticated but I was headed into uncharted water with this shoot, I had no idea what to expect from them.
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Ruda is the adolescent cinnamon fox. She was a bit shy in the studio but made herself at home on the sofas. She much prefered to lounge on the sofa, where she wanted to chill rather than model! She was curious about the camera and I managed to get some amazing wide-angle shots of her. This wasn’t her first shoot at the studio so it was easier that she was familiar with the space already.
Is this not the happiest fox you’ve ever seen?!
These shots may look like easy ones to capture but as well as making sure the fox was comfortable with myself and my equipment I was also continually thinking about how I was lighting my subject and what my next shot was gonna be.
The fox, the composition, the lighting, the pose, the focus, the timing. My brain was working overtime!!
Jaeger is the Silver Fox. I first met him when he was 6 weeks old. He adapted extremely well to the studio space. He was very curious, sniffing out every nook and cranny, figuring out his surroundings. He was also wanting to cuddle and bury himself into your chest and whilst I was taking photos he fell asleep on set! So cute!!
I then met him again for a second shoot when he was around 8 months old. At this time he had human interaction every day and also learned a few tricks like sit and give paw. Not to be mistaken for a dog though, his behaviour was still something I had to figure out. At times I was able to ask him to sit for a piece of chorizo and I forgot I was even photographing a fox and rewarding him like a dog. He still had wild tendencies, when he found a toy it was a challenge to get it off him and he would get a bit over excited when taking a treat.
6 weeks to 8 months
Here are some more foxy images…
Plenty of treats = Happy Fox
Falling asleep on the job!
Foxes grow at an incredible rate, faster than puppies so little Jaeger didn’t stay this small for long!
When he came back for his second shoot I couldn’t believe how fast he had grown and also how different he was.
Foxes like fake snow.. who knew!
Working with wild animals is always a challenge and none more than introducing them to a foreign, confined space. Even though brought up as pets, these foxes will always retain wild habits and you can only predict, to a certain level, what any animal will do. Whether it’s domesticated or wild, every animal deserves patience, space and respect when being photographed.
If anyone is thinking of giving this a go, here are some fun fox tips for the studio (well, certainly tips I’ll remember for next time):
– They act neither like a cat nor a dog, remember they are a fox.
– Raw meat is the perfect treat, if you run out there’s always the chorizo you had planned for lunch.
– When rewarding with a treat, make sure to be swift and count all fingers are still there once the food is given… ‘Gentle’ doesn’t exist to foxes!
– Once they have a toy, don’t ever expect to get it back… at least not in one piece!
– Make sure you have a super comfy sofa on hand, they love this.
– If you talk on for too long before you start the shoot, they will fall asleep on your lap.
Thanks for reading!!
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