Something that new photographers often times are told to do is, fill the frame. Fill the frame means just that... fill the frame with your subject. If you like the details of a flower, then fill the frame with that flower rather than the flower with it's stem, leaves, ground and background since all of that other stuff can be distracting.
Filling the frame is very useful when you want to show detail, get rid of background clutter, or show emotion.
This first image shows one of Hermes' favorite toys. How do I know it's a favorite? Because it's been around awhile and I haven't found it's innards all over the floor.
This next picture of Hermes was taken on the same couch, but I moved in close so that the other furniture and the color from the walls wouldn't be so distracting. Now, we can easily see those beautiful, big, brown eyes.
Dash has been under the weather this past week and just hasn't been himself. (He's even let Hermes sit in my lap while we're watching Netflix!) He's on antibiotics now and will hopefully be back to his bossy self soon, but it's kind of pitiful to see him like this.
If you'd like an up close look at more of the stars of this blog ring, start with Ann Bridges of Ann Bridges Photography - The Critter Pawtographer located in North East Texas.
Enjoy you weekend!
There are rules to follow in photography just like every other craft, and the rule of thirds is one of the basics that every new photographer learns. It has to do with the composition of an image and can help draw the viewers eye to what the photographer wants them to see. The image is divided into three equal section both vertically and horizontally. The "rule" is that when placing your subject in the frame, placing them on the intersection points of these division lines has the most impact with the lines themselves coming in second. This does help new photographers to see the impact of the rule of thirds on an image, but ..... rules are made to be broken. Lets just say, if every image followed the rule of thirds, things could get boring very quickly.
For me, the rule of thirds is not something I think about when I aim my camera. However, there are certain scenarios that I find work beautifully for this composition technique; landscape images with a person in them for instance. If the person is in the middle of the image then the image is about that person using a "look at me" frame of mind. If the person is placed using the rule of thirds, then that person now becomes part of a "story" rather than being the main character. You see the person and then you see where they are or what might be going on around them.
The rule of thirds also works nicely if the scene is quite simple. Placing the subject using the rule of thirds can be very pleasing and actually relaxing to the viewer. (Here's Hermes helping me demonstrate "relaxing.")
Then there are times when you want to emphasize something in your image without making it seem quite as intrusive (or caloric). Using the rule of thirds can make something seem a little less "over the top" than if you put it right smack in the middle of the scene... Ok, this one might be a little over the top anyway, but you get the idea. ;O)
Want to see more about this week's theme? Head over to St. Cloud, Twin Cities and central MN About A Dog Photography to continue the blog circle and have a great weekend! (I think I need a little snack.)
It's January - a new year, a new beginning and I'm participating in a brand new Project 52. This project is a round robin of sorts that will take place once a week, and there are pet photographers from around the world who will be taking part throughout the year. At the end of each of our Project 52 blog posts will be a link to another participating photographer's blog so that you can click through and see how they interpreted the theme as well.
The theme this week is Blank Slate and there are so many ways to interpret this prompt:
Dash considers it a blank slate every time he sees a squirrel (and it's usually the same squirrel, too). The score is even between them and this time he just might win. Dash, you will always win for being the loudest, but that squirrel will always be able to climb the highest. If it makes you feel any better, I could get you a blue ribbon for "most voicetrous."
Opposite Dash, is Hermes who never seems to start with a blank slate. He remembers everything (and I'm pretty sure he keeps score)... Treats are behind that door... Wednesdays mean doggie playdates (I swear he knows when it's Wednesday)... and, when the vacuum cleaner comes out that means someone's coming over and we might get treats to stop jumping on them!
I explored all the ins and outs of blank slate (I might take these prompts a little too seriously), but it wasn't until I searched for quotes that I realized how perfectly this prompt fits my pet sessions.
Life is just a blank slate,
what matters most is what you write on it.
- Christine Frankland
"I am a blank slate - Therefore I can create anything I want."
Having a blank slate is sometimes as daunting as it is exciting.
It was this last quote that made that cartoon light bulb go off over my head. Every session that I schedule starts with a blank slate. It's not something I intended to do because everything I read before starting my business said that photographers need to have a plan (or at least a list) in order for sessions to run smoothly. While this might be great for classic wedding or portrait photographers, I quickly discovered that this would not work for me and my photography objectives. With the exception of finding out what my client's goals are and learning as much as I can about their pet, my sessions are rarely ever planned (and this both scares and excites me). With a "blank slate" each session literally creates itself... with a little help from the pet of course.
To see the words, wisdom, and works of other photographers in this project start with Elaine Tweedy of I Got The Shot Photography located in Northeastern PA.
Have a great weekend!
Ever meet one of those dogs when as soon as you say hello you just know he's where he's suppose to be? Cosmo is one of those dogs.
Cosmo's mom scheduled a session so that she could make a little brag book as a surprise for Cosmo's dad when he deploys. As soon as I met Cosmo I could tell that he was such a happy dog and knew that he felt he was truly part of a family. He was rescued by dad and I'm told he is most definitely a daddy's dog, but he's just as keen on mom when it's just the two of them. Cosmo is 11 years old and wasn't in perfect health when we did his session, but he never let on. He smiled and played through the whole thing! (Well, ok, there might have been a piece of McChicken sandwich involved at one point during the session).
We took Cosmo to one of his favorite walking parks. He was so happy to be there and seemed to want to show us all the best spots. He was a little confused when I'd ask him to "pose" though - it was like he was trying to tell me to hurry up, there was more to see just up ahead!
Cosmo, smart dog that he is, helped me get mom into some of the pictures for dad's book, too. She never even knew what he was up to. (wink, wink)
Cosmo, it was great meeting you! I know you're a snuggler so you and mom take care of each other while dad's away. I wish you all the best that 2018 can bring.
These little balls of fun are quite the trio. They are very different from each other, well except for Lilly and Ruthie looking so much alike (or maybe that's just me; ok, probably just me) and their personalities seem to balance each other out in complete harmony.
Sunshine is the older-wiser one. She celebrated her 17th birthday just before these pictures were taken and still, she didn't miss a beat. She may not be as active as her sisters, but that doesn't mean that she isn't right in the middle of what's going on (even if "the middle" means on the sidelines somewhere simply because she can't see that well). Sunshine, you are beautiful!
Lilly is the little princess. She prances around showing off her long beautiful hair, but she's a gift giver, too... she likes to share kisses with the other dogs in the house (it doesn't matter that some of them are about 10 times her size).
Ruthie is the baby of the family and is very enthusiastic. She loves to play in the water hose and she'll run around the yard at top speed like it's the best place ever! Want to race? Ruthie will take you on.
I can't decide if it's the playing, or the snuggling, or the outings, that make Sunshine, Lilly, and Ruthie so happy. They are so devoted, and so loving. Honestly, I think these little girls are a perfect example of...
It's not what you're doing,
it's who you're with.
These girls live with three other dogs, and I don't know that I've ever seen a more comfortable group. If they aren't as loving and amicable during their normal day-to-day life, then they sure have great manners when strangers come in with a camera. :)
It was so fun to get to know these three. They don't say much and they don't take center stage, so I've found myself wondering, what makes them tick... and is it the same thing that makes them so sweet?
It's tough to keep up with the energy of a golden retriever, much less three of them. But, oh my gosh the fun! ... and, the connection that these girls have with their owner and their housemates is so wonderful to witness.
Lola, Maya and Bea are three of six dogs who share a home. At first you might think, six dogs in one family? But, after spending a few hours with them, I can tell you that they are one big happy family, and if even one were absent for a night the others would notice and miss her. (Oh, and did I mention they are all girls?)
Lola got her name from the phrase, Lots Of Love Always... and, it shows. She is pure and she is golden and I'm pretty sure she will never run out of love for anyone and everyone who becomes part of her family. She's a social butterfly and will make you feel welcome simply by being near you. (and oh, that smile!)
Maya is the younger of the three girls and can be a loner of sorts, taking her toy off to her bed away from the others. Don't let this fool you though, she has lots of energy and is an amazing frisbee player (ok, catcher... for you more literal people like my husband). Maya is that kid who would rather explore by herself than play cards with the rest of the family, but she's right there with them when it matters. (Honestly, I think it's more that she doesn't have time to wait on anyone else once she gets it in her head that she wants to see or do something. I get it, Maya!)
Then there's Bea. Bea is the older-wiser sister who was not sure about me being in her house at first. She would lay on the couch with her favorite blankets and watch as I introduced myself to the other girls. When we went outside Bea seemed a little more comfortable, but once we hopped in the truck to go for a ride, her spirits came alive. It was all good times from then on.
These girls are so beautiful and fun. Just look at those faces!
I had such fun getting to know these three and I'm pretty sure they had fun, too. This was the last image that I took before I left their house and I think it confirms "the fun." ;O)
There once was a little princess. Like any other one year old, this princess rules the house, but only under the watchful eyes of her royal canine playmates, Sir Maverick and Dame Ally. These two love the princess. She reads to them and serves them tea!
To show their gratitude, Sir Maverick and Dame Ally play with the little princess, protect her, and do their best to keep her clean (well, mostly clean).
When the princess has had her fill of fun for the afternoon, it's time for a little nap so she can dream about adventures with her royal playmates. (Although, on this particular day that part may very well have happened on the car ride home.) Take care of her, royal canines, for little princesses grow up way too fast.
Judging by my wet clothes, this year's dog swim had a record number of dog paddlers. Some of the dogs were in their glory and others were a little intimidated (and I don't blame them) - that'a a lot of splashing when you are down at splashing level with 4 paws per splash!
Because of the enthusiasm of the furry attendees, there was a little less in the way of story-telling images this year, but I was able to capture these single frame "short stories" if you will. (I live for this stuff). ;O)
Then there was Charlie. She wins the title of "most improved" from one dog swim to the next. Last year her human was trying to teach her to fetch in the water. She was a little hesitant.
This year was a different story. Charlie, you've got style.
You can see more images from this year's swim on the Events page (and even more on our Facebook page).
You would never know it by watching her, but this golden girl was not always a happy go lucky pup.
Molly is a dog who was passed from one shelter to the next until she ended up in Garden City where her mom found her. She was told at the shelter that Molly was one of Michael Vick's dogs, and that the scars on her face are the result of her life as a bait dog. But, for some reason when you're around Molly, you really don't notice them. They seem to just be part of who she is... a senior dog with the most infectious smile who really does enjoy life.
Molly is almost 15 years old now. She was diagnosed with cancer over a year ago, and still, she smiles, she runs (sometimes showing her affection for tall men by chasing them, ehem) and most of all she's happy. Molly loves to be around people and even watches movies with her family. What's her favorite? The Secret Life of Pets, of course.
You know how some dogs will plant their paw on you whenever you're near? They like you! Well, look at Molly's tail in this next picture....
"because every picture tells a story"
Molly is such an inspiration. Despite many obstacles (starting with being born a pitbull) she has been through a lot, but still it's obvious that she loves being a dog. She loves to play ball, she thinks rolling in the grass is the next best thing to sliced bacon, and she loves being with her family (and two doggie siblings). They love you, too Molly... and I'm honored to have met you.
August 17th is Hermes' birthday and he will be 11 years old! Where does the time go??? This is the day that I let him pick out something fun from Woofs and Waves and then try and come up with a gift for my clients and future clients as well.
This year it's a Win-Win!
Some of you might know that I have been working with Dogs on Deployment for a few years now. Being in an active military family for 30+ years I feel that what they provide to military pet owners is something that you can not put a price on. Dogs on Deployment provides a database of fosters who are willing to board military pets while their owners are fulfilling military obligations, deployments being one of those situations. Because of Dogs on Deployment, military pet owners now have options other than having to give up their pet when duty calls.
Dogs on Deployment is sponsoring a "virtual race." Their 1st Annual Pet and Family Trot can be done with your dog, your family or friends or even your co-workers during lunch. You can run, walk, use the treadmill, bike, skate, pogo stick... whatever you want, wherever you want. (There will also be fun challenges for you and your dog throughout the month with prizes from two of their sponsors.)
During the month of August, when you and your dog both sign up to participate in the Pet and Family Trot you will both receive a medal from Dogs on Deployment, AND . . . You will also receive a free 8x10 (or smaller) desk print from me as a gift for your support. If you are a past client, you can choose an image from your previous session. If you are a new client, then an 8x10 will be complimentary with your booked session.
(If you are not able to participate in a virtual race, but would like to donate, that option is available as well and would result in the same gift of an image of your choice.)
To make things simple, Hermes has his own fundraising page where you can register or donate. If you'd like to create your own team, please do so! You can just let me know the name of your team.
Hermes (and Dash) and I look forward to running with you! (Ok, truthfully, there will be no running on our end, only walking... but then you won't really know that will you?) ;O)
*This birthday special is good for sessions that take place at any time, but they must be booked during the month of August.
This little princess is described as a "diva" by her humans and she does her best to live up to the title. She loves her kennel, loves her humans' bed (and I'm guessing she steals the covers), loves every one of her toys, and has her own little seat on the couch. She will only eat out of white bowls, she's a big fan of cheese and peanut butter, and she feels quite special in her little diva hair bows.
Billie has such a fun personality. She's so very interested in being part of the action and the camera didn't bother her a bit. A couple of times I thought I might have to talk to her about personal space with my camera, but she just smiled and trotted off to mom whenever I said, "Billie, you're too cloooose!" She seemed to get a kick out of running up and back actually. ;O)
Billie Jean turned 10 this year and to celebrate she was given a new tutu that Grandma made and a special doggie birthday cake. She didn't react quite like we had expected (I swear they are just like little kids). We thought she would rip into that cake, but instead she acted very lady like. ;O)
Billie is such a sweet, sweet girl and I think she's the perfect little princess. Enjoy every day, Billie Jean. Ten looks good on you!
I have been hogging all the fun lately and decided that it was time to share. :O)
This is Phoebe - or Phoebes, or Phoebette, depending on who you ask. She had her mom fooled thinking that she only walked around with her head down checking out everything that was at her feet. Well, just look at that face!
Phoebe is only 2 years old and already she's a silent poser. She might let you think she doesn't know what she's doing, but... well, take a look for yourself.
Phoebe is a joy to her family. She is so appreciative, too. When she gets a new toy, it's her favorite for days. She is a mama's girl and a bit of a clinger, but her mom doesn't mind at all. She is sweet and loving and playful; what more could one ask for.
Enjoy the summer Phoebe, green is a good look for you. ;O)
This year marked the 10th anniversary for the Cinco de Mayo Fiesta in Sioux Falls. There was great fun for the whole family including a kid's zone, tons of food, great music and dancing, hoola-hooping by young and old alike, and the 3rd Annual Chihuahua Fashion Show. It all took place this past weekend at Falls Park.
We saw some new faces in the fashion show this year along with some familiar ones that have become crowd favorites.
If you were at the fiesta and were able to see the show then you might recognize some of the contestants from past years. If you weren't able to join in the fun then we hope you'll enjoy the pictures from it. Take a look at the Events page to see this year's participants as well as past shows and events and we hope to see you at next year's celebration!
How do we know when it's time to let our family pet go? It's a tough decision and almost impossible for some, but I feel like it's something we can give in return for all that they've given us.
Our pets are often very stoic when they aren't feeling well. They don't have a "poor me" attitude. Instead they just figure out on their own how to do what they want to do with this new hiccup in their life.
When we start to notice something isn't right with our pet we set out to try and fix whatever it is and hope that it will work. So, what if it doesn't work or what if it isn't fixable? What then?
As our dog, Zoe got older the typical things started happening - her eyesight was getting worse, and her hearing wasn't so great anymore, but she never stopped running the fence when the kids were out at recess (she was a border collie and herding kids was her life). During her last 6 months or so something told me that she might not be with us for much longer. I would come down the stairs every morning, see her laying on her bed and think to myself, 'It's ok if you don't wake up, Zoe'. That might sound harsh, but I wanted her to go as peacefully as possible. Maybe it was a little selfish, too... I wouldn't have to make any decisions as to the timing of things.
Zoe was one of those tough dogs who never ever complained. During her last visit to the vet I told him that I did not want Zoe to ever suffer and I asked him how I would know when it was time to let her go. He told me simply that I would know. The day came when Zoe let me know that she was ready. There was no mistaking it and all I could do was thank her for that final gift.
Last week a good friend of mine had to go through this process with her own dog. Unlike Zoe, her dog was one of those dogs who throughout her life had one thing happen after another - allergies, diabetes, that wicked eating glasses, socks and cell phones syndrome... But, Jersey was one of the happiest dogs who ever lived. Always smiling, always giving kisses, always wanting to be with you (and on you!). She was Hermes' best dog park buddy when they were youngsters and Hermes even had a sleepover once with Jersey. Jersey loved everyone and if you aren't afraid of big dogs I guarantee you would have loved her, too.
It's never easy, but sometimes the best thing we can do is to let them go. We tell them we love them, say our goodbyes (and some people feed them 3 hot dogs - can you see the smile on Jersey's face? ) Then we picture them as we want to remember them... happy and healthy and goofy and tirelessly loyal... and carry them in our hearts forever.
Do you have a chihuahua who likes to dress up? This is my 3rd year photographing the Chihuahua Fashion Show at the Cinco de Mayo Fiesta at Falls Park. This is always a fun time for both those who are in the fashion show and those who are watching... and I have to say it's a blast for me, too. There are so many fun personalities on that stage each year!
There are 6 different categories in which each participant can enter. Every dog receives a gift bag with lots of fun goodies donated by local pet businesses such as Woofs & Waves, Pawsatively Sweet, DooGooders, Mini Critters Sioux Falls, Shop Dog Boutique, and Wags N' Whiskers. This year there will also be gift certificates to Wacko's Comedy Club and area restaurants given as grand prizes in each category!
The Fiesta is on May 13th at Falls Park with the fashion show starting at 2pm. Carl V. Carlson Company and Cemcast are sponsoring the show again this year and along with them I hope to see you there!
For more information about the show and how to sign up visit:
www.cincofiesta.com or contact Jen Rothenbuehler at 605.360.2457 or email@example.com.
I can't really get them to say "cheese," but I can almost always make them smile. -Kelly
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