Go to the Dallas Zoo with Photillustrator

If you’ve ever been to the zoo then you know it’s an amazing place where imaginations are free to roam, and whether you’re young or old, the zoo brings out the kid in all of us. Every turn you make and everywhere you look, there are new adventures to experience giving you the opportunity to escape from the confines of work and city.

Come with me to the Dallas Zoo for the BIG Reveal of my newest Portrait called, “A Day at the Zoo”.

Partly inspired by my own kids and partly inspired by my love of animals, I reached out to the Dallas Zoo to see if there was an opportunity to bring the Zoo Experience to life in an Amazing Portrait by Photillustrator.

This is what I created…

composite photography of the dallas zoo and cesare family by dallas portrait photographer jason ulsrud

Overcoming Unexpected Problems

Bringing a Composited Portrait from a mere thought to life in a piece that’s BIG Reveal will be at Safari Nights at the Dallas Zoo comes with some unique challenges.

Challenge #1: The first obvious challenge is how do I get access to the Dallas Zoo and more importantly access to the animals to photograph them?

Admittedly, I love these types of challenges and I’ve always been really good at gaining access to people and places, so this first challenge was really about “time”. Taking the time to go through the proper channels, speak with the right people, and present a concept they couldn’t refuse.

Challenge #2: With concept now in hand, my next challenge is where do I even start with all the photography?

Surprising enough, even after creating a lot of Signature Family Portraits, I still have a hard time starting the photography. What’s the first photo I should get? How will these photos all piece together into one amazing scene? What if I don’t get all the photos I need?

I have found the best way to start is to just start!

Challenge #3: Now that I’m starting to piece together the scene for the portrait, my next challenge was how do I photograph all the animals at the right angles I need?

You may not realize this, but the animals at the zoo are rarely up at eye level. Instead, and for safety reasons, all the animal displays are down below viewer eye level, which creates a significant challenge when trying to photograph them in a scene where everyone is at the same level.

With a lot of trips to the Dallas Zoo and a lot of hard photography work, I nailed this challenge.

Challenge #4: With the Dallas Zoo completed with all the animals and elements, my next challenge was where do I find the perfect family for my portrait?

Of course, I could have pieced together individuals to create a family, or just hired talent for my family, but I wanted a real family with a real connection. My challenge, however, was where do I find a real family, with a real connection, who has 2 kids, and one baby?

Fortunately, thanks to a client I just delivered a portrait to (Our New Home), their architect fit the bill and more. Not only did they meet all my criteria, but they also had a very diverse look with dad being Italian and mom being a blond.

Family Challenge? Check!

Challenge #5: With the Dallas Zoo Portrait completed and revealed, my next and current challenge is how do I capitalize on all that hard work and turn this Portrait into more business for Photillustrator?

Of course, this challenge has not yet been met, but I’m happy to say I’m meeting with the CEO and President of the Dallas Zoo this week to discuss possibilities, and I also have another idea I think would be super fun to work with the Dallas Zoo on.

Stay tuned for the outcome of this challenge.

That’s a Wrap

After spending hours and hours of hard work and time creating an Amazing Portrait like this, the best part is seeing the faces of people when they see it for the first time. Or, in this case, getting to talk with people about the portrait on display in the VIP section of the Dallas Zoo Safari Nights.

Life is Amazing. It all just depends on how we look at it.

What’s your favorite animal in “A Day at the Zoo”, and what kind of animals would you put in your Amazing Portrait?

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