Seth Casteel – Little Friends Photo
Seth Casteel from Little Friends Photo shares his amazing photos and incredible journey with jpeg2RAW. Seth’s photo’s of dogs underwater show them in a whole new light, capturing another side of their personality.
Seth spends a considerable amount of effort giving his time and talent to volunteer as a photographer of homeless pets. His efforts have gone a long way to help these pets get adopted pet. As a pet lover myself, thank you Seth for your amazing efforts to this very worth cause!
Seth has developed a career as a Lifestyle Pet Photographer. His work has been published in National Geographic, The New York Times and hundreds of other magazines, newspapers and calendars. He has also appeared on Good Morning America, EXTRA, Jeopardy!, The Insider, Inside Edition and Duck Dynasty.
Brief History: 2002 Started in photography, moved to Australia from California for study abroad and became fascinated. Studying film making while in college. Didn’t realize I would photograph so much wildlife while there. Came back to the USA after seven months and started in movie advertising. Suddenly reintroduced to dogs and cats and started heavy in photography. Found homeless kittens while on Sony Pictures lot and looked to get them adopted and decided to take some pictures to create awareness and this resulted in the kittens getting adopted. The charity work is what brought me into the world of photography.
Was photography always a hobby?
Started as a way of getting homes for homeless kittens.
Did you really think you could make a living at shooting pets
Wasn’t a very stable start…most people would laugh when I stated I was a pet photographer. Pets are now a part of the family and it has grown from around six photographers in the Los Angeles area to over 200.
What made you go in water to take photos?
The dog jumped into the water to chase a tennis ball and I followed. The dog also looked better while wet.
What type of underwater gear are you using
Sony TX5 which goes down to 10 feet.
Graduated from Sony to a camera bag for a DSLR.
Now using a surf housing for dSLR
Are some dogs better than others…age?
Age doesn’t matter…worked with dogs as old as 14 years old. Sometimes you just need to work with them at the beginning and let them get comfortable. Some dogs will not like it at all such as the poodle in the wall behind me…wouldn’t get into the water.
It seems the water brings out another personality of the dog, they seem to really love it
Some people that have looked at the images think the dogs are scary. I tell them to look closer, they are really smiling.
Percentage of water versus land photos?
50 / 50…love both land and water. Depends on the emotions of the dog I am shooting.
February 10, 2012—the day things changed for me?
Good Morning America, Today Show. This has enabled me to go back to the charity work.
Wide angle? Fisheye?
Yes, very close to the action. One of my housings was damaged when a dog jumped right into the housing.
Are you in scuba gear or are you just holding your breath
Holding my breath…no other equipment.
My dog is a Black Lab, does the color of the dog, especially black, present a challenge?
If so, how do you overcome the challenge?
Yes, gets back to the basics of photography. There are challenges but you can overcome it.
I know it’s clean pool water, but do you also have to clean the dog before starting the shoot
Must brush them out…once the dogs go into the water the hair will come off the dog and will make it difficult to get a shot. The water needs to be crystal clear or else the flash will bounce off the particles.
Do you bring the dogs to you pool or does the client need to have a pool
Usually they will have a pool and there are opportunities for Aqua Therapy pools. I have also used the Puget Sound
How do you get them to look at the camera so well
The dogs will usually focus in on the housing which is yellow
Depth in the water?
Most of the time I am not under the water but the housing is. I am in the water in a wetsuit for 10-12 hours. Sometimes I am weighed down and 10 feet under the water.
I assume you have an assistant throwing the ball
Usually it is one on one so that the dog is working with me. If I am ten feet down I will have someone toss a ball, other times the dog will see the ball from 10 feet down and jump anyway.
Trip to Alaska for the New York Times.
What do you do next?
One Picture saves a life
Work shops for pet photography
Kids and animal photography – September 2013
Book – Underwater Puppies; Fall 2014
Tell me about book & calendar
Calendar is available on website
Images from the show – (photographer Seth Casteel – images can be viewed and purchased on his site – Little Friends Photo)
- Second Chance Photos (Seth’s Charity)