Welcome to 500px ISO, the home of the best photo stories on the web. ISO will feature the unique, crazy, and beautiful stories inspired by the photos you see on 500px. From tutorials to collections, ISO is your go-to source for everything photography.

To celebrate ISO’s launch, we asked some of our good friends in the 500px community to shoot an exclusive photo for us. We started with Oleg Oprisco‘s stunning image and interview. Yesterday, we unveiled a new photo and Q&A with Elena Shumilova.

Today, we’re revealing our last collaboration:
This never-before-seen photo by Elke Vogelsang — a natural whiz at capturing both humor and tenderness in pet portraits.

Get the scoop on Elke’s exclusive image, what her dogs are like, and her upcoming plans in the Q&A below!

Hi Elke! Thanks for coming to chat with us. Can you walk us through the story behind this shot?
I let my dog Noodles sit on a stool to be able to get an eye-level position on him. My equipment consists of a DSLR and one studio flash. I positioned the studio flash in front of Noodles, slightly tilted down from above. Noodles was able to get something to eat while I took pictures of her as she was chewing. The picture is a collage of two images, which I stitched together in Photoshop.

It looks amazing and adorable! What camera and gear did you use to shoot this photo?
The camera is a Canon EOS 5D Mark III. This was shot with Canon EF 24-70mm/2.8 at 24mm lens. The studio flash is one of the two flashes of an Elinchrome D-Lite 4 set.

During our previous interview with you, you mentioned that you were a big film fan! Are there any movies that inspires your work?
I once did a series called, “Movie Pupsters”. One of my favorite films is Les Miserables. So I did a small homage to this film by letting my dogs pose like the actors on the movie posters. I also like comedies. My weakness for British comedies might be an influence from time to time. I just love funny films, and that is why I love funny, whimsical pictures!

What are some qualities that a good portrait photographer must have to be able to succeed?
Intuition and empathy. I won’t try to get decent pictures of something I’m not interested in. I think you have to know and like your subjects, or at least be interested in it. To me, that is the basis for a good picture. I’m a people and pet photographer, because I love interacting with people and pets. I love trying to make people laugh, to get them to feel comfortable in front of the camera, and just have fun.

Your beautiful dogs are the heart of your photos. Can you describe each of your dogs’ personalities to us?

ELKE: Noodles often acts like a pup. She is a 7-year-old Galgo Español mix. She is the clown, sometimes overly motivated and clumsy, the “Eager Beaver”, curious, friendly, open-minded, and extremely funny if not unintentionally comic sometimes.

ELKE: Scout is my metropolitan girl. She is 5 years old, and a Galgo Español mix from Madrid. She is a hunter, single-dog wannabe, sensitive, cautious, gracile, very polite, affectionate, cuddly, and my treasure.

ELKE: Loli is the “rooster in the henhouse”. She is one-eyed, but not handicapped. She is a two-and-a-half-year-old Spanish promenade mix. She is a little rascal, super cute, super funny, always happy, and possessive—just ask my heart.

Do you have a helpful tip on how to train dogs to become more photogenic and not camera-shy?
Some dogs find it difficult to be photographed. You point a massive lens at them, which makes them feel like they’re being stared at. Dogs that stare at each other are usually not having a “polite” conversation. Staring means trouble in dog language. Fortunately, dogs are very adaptable. Most are used to human beings behaving strangely. But some dogs might feel very uncomfortable with this situation. The key lies in a slow training. My dog Scout used to hate being photographed indoors. So I trained with her. First, I just took my camera but did not point it at her. I just sat there, holding the camera and feeding her treats. The training sessions should always be short, and lots of fun for the dog. After a few training sessions, I lifted up the camera and started pointing it at her, but did not actually take a picture. Again, I gave her lots of treats, lots of fun. And so on. Now, she is the most eager dog in the studio. She loves it, and always wants to be photographed first. So the key is patience, and short and fun training sessions.

What’s the most rewarding thing about being a pet portrait photographer?
I love meeting so many beautiful and different pets! I could spend all day being among dogs, so my job is a real pleasure. Lots of people think that it’s not possible to get a decent picture of their dog, but that’s not true. With patience, intuition, and some tricks, you can get beautiful pictures of nearly all dogs. Some really insecure dogs can often still be photographed in a more open-spaced setting, where they don’t feel locked-in. To get positive reactions from your clients is a very rewarding thing too, of course.

What’s next for you in your career? Are you working on any new projects?
Currently, I’m working on a book of all my photographs. That’s my first priority. The publisher has not been decided yet, but keep your fingers crossed. I get lots of requests about photo sessions from the United States and Great Britain. So when I finish my book, I would love to do some tours in England and the US.

Sounds exciting! We’ll keep our eyes posted for that new book! Thank you so much for being a part of our ISO launch.

Want to see more of Elke and her adorable photographs? Get some handy pet portraiture tips here, or browse more of her work!

We can’t wait to bring you more stories about the photos and people of 500px!

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