Behind the Scenes: Sgt Cleo's First Magazine Shoot

October 16, 2020  •  1 Comment

RNG_SEP-OCT 2020 ISSUE (1)RNG_SEP-OCT 2020 ISSUE (1)Featuring America's VetDog, Sgt Cleo, a Therapy Dog at the Air National Guard Center, Joint Base Andrews, MD.

Have you checked out our cover photo of America's Vet Dog, Sergeant Cleo? We just got his "pawtograph" of the cover in the mail! So what went on behind-the-scenes? Take a peek with out latest blog post from our summer intern, Harrison:

One hot summer day, I had the opportunity to tag along with Trish and be her assistant on a magazine cover photoshoot with an Air National Guard therapy dog. Between carrying her heavy bags and giving the dog belly rubs, I got to witness the behind-the-scenes of this kind of photoshoot. Before we even arrived some prep work was needed. This was just a little bit of research, figuring out how to obtain clearance to get me on Joint Base Andrews, and bringing the right equipment. We brought two bags in case a lens got dirty or scratched or if a long lens was needed. We also brought a cleaner in case the dog licked the camera and a flash in case more lighting was needed. When we arrived, Trish took some establishing shots from the outside of the Air National Guard Readiness Center (ANGRC) to give context on where the dog worked. We then walked up to the building and were immediately greeted by Sergeant Cleo and part of his team. 

Sergeant Cleo is a mix between black lab and golden retriever and was full of energy. He is a therapy dog that is used by the ANGRC’s mental health team. The Reserve and National Guard Magazine wanted to do a cover story featuring him and we were there to take his photos.

As soon as we arrived at the building Trish began taking photos. She took pictures of the building and of the dog right away. The two things we needed today were a cover shot and lots of feature shots for the magazine story. However, the story was not yet written so a wide range of shots would be needed. After taking photos with Sgt. Cleo and his team in the lobby, Trish decided to follow him around for a bit for a day in the life. Walking around the building, Trish found some great lighting spots in the hallways and took some pictures of Cleo with a social distancing sign. In the offices, she slowed the shutter speed on the camera and opened the aperture to allow more light to come in. For the last part of the shoot we went outside to the front of the building during Cleo’s playtime and Trish got a little bit dirty in the grass getting on his level to take shots of him playing with his toys in front of the former Air Force fighter jet out front. 

Since this shoot took place during a pandemic, we had a little more work to ensure the safety of everyone involved. We packed wipes and hand sanitizer in our own bags and of course everyone had masks on with the exception of Sgt Cleo. In the initial photo with the team of about ten people, they spaced out on the stairs all facing the same direction--seconds before the picture they removed their masks for a quick smile. When we walked around the building, one person carried a half-gallon hand sanitizer dispenser. Only two people were allowed in each elevator so we took the stairs everywhere.

However, even with masks, there was something distinctive about the change in a person's demeanor when Sgt Cleo came running up to them. His happy face and lolling tongue combined with an intense tail wag made most people’s eyes light up. And you could just tell they had the biggest grin on their face. Cleo’s job was to boost morale and from what we saw, it was working like a charm. Every single floor had cubicles and offices with Cleo "merch" and many airmen had treats or toys for the lucky dog. Toward the end of the day he ran down the chaplain hall and behind some wall we heard someone yell “CLEO!” in excitement--we found him lying down right next to the chaplain.

With the photoshoot done, Trish began her editing process and I learned exactly what goes into a cover shoot and the intricacies of taking pictures of animals. It was cool to see what goes on behind the camera and the steps taken to help take the best images possible. This behind the scenes is different for every type of photoshoot, and each person has their unique method. To get your own photoshoot with Trish, schedule a consult with us today. 



Alisa Lira(non-registered)
Excellent shoot. Thanks for sharing the behind story.
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