When photographing pets I'm all about getting those shots that show the personal connection between the dog and their human. But, when photographing dogs separately from their two-legged friends, action shots are hands down my favorite. When they're dock diving, playing ball, or just running around in the yard, the joy they feel shows in their every move.
I've been a bit scarce on social media lately, but I have a good reason... I became a gramma! It's so much fun for me, but one of the grand-dogs is not sure about it all yet.
This is Birdie. She's a one year old Greater Swiss Mountain dog and not only does she have lots of energy, she's also been a little pouty since she's no longer getting 100% of the attention, 100% of the time. (The baby may have toppled her princess crown just a bit.)
During my latest visit we took Birdie to the park and she had a ball. Since this week's prompt for the blog circle is action, I thought Birdie's pictures from our little trek would fit perfectly.
Here's a series from what she would probably call the best play date ever. When she saw this particular dog, it was like she'd spotted her long lost buddy. They had so much fun!
I love seeing such unbridled joy in dogs. And yes, I'm usually grinning from ear to ear watching them, and I may end up saying their thoughts out loud to whoever is near. (Come on, I know you talk for your dogs, too.) ;O)
Have a great weekend!
This is a blog circle post so if you'd like to see action captured by other pet photographers, just continue around the circle starting with Linda Perdue of VPShoots Photography serving the Tampa Bay Area in Florida.
The months of June through August are usually a time when people are hanging out together at summer events. Families gather at the lake and friends hang out downtown. This year is a bit different. We see smaller groups at the local parks in lawn chairs, 6 feet apart doing their best to observe social distancing while still staying connected.
During the past few months I've been able to document dogs with their family from a distance while the images never let on that anything has changed in our world.
I met Vinnie four years ago at the Cinco de Mayo Fiesta Chihuahua Fashion Show. He was all decked out in his poncho and tiny sombrero and was just so adorable.
This time I got to hang out with Vinnie and his big personality (and even bigger heart when he looks at his dog mom) while we all had a nice evening at the park.
Vinnie's mom describes him as a "feisty old man." He likes to go after squirrels, rabbits, and bigger dogs! This tiny little guy loves to go for walks, but they need to be long walks... and ok, car rides will work, too. ;O)
He loves McDonald's fries, and going for coffee with mom is a favorite for Vinnie as he gets his own cup of cream from the barista. He might be a bit spoiled when he stays at Grand-paw's, too, but then that's what grandparents are for right?
It was a different kind of summer this year, but I don't think Vinnie even noticed. He got to hang out with his favorite people, and a picnic at the park is always a fun treat.
Ever wonder what the world looks like from the vantage point of a dog? It's no wonder tiny dogs like to be carried around. They get to play king of the mountain without breaking a sweat!
Enjoy the rest of your summer Vinnie. And, good luck with your Cinco de Mayo fashion career!
This post is part of a circle blog. If you'd like to see the summer fun had by other pet photographers start with Nicole Hrustyk of Pawtraits by Nicole serving the Las Vegas, Nevada area.
Since Grace was released from commercial breeding she has been getting healthy and enjoying the life every dog should know with a wonderful foster family. She's a beautiful black merle Great Dane and she's in need of a family to call her own.
To try and help let people know that Grace is searching for her forever family, we wanted to get some pictures of her that would show not only her gorgeous physical traits, but how beautiful she is on the inside as well.
We took some pictures first in her open backyard and then on the deck and I felt pleased with what we got. Then we moved to the front yard where there was more color and those images won out over the others. The flowers helped show Grace's softer side (since she's such a big girl). Just having the flowers in the frame with her helps to show that this XL dog is meant for family more than a lot of other large breeds who's job is more of that of a guard dog.
If you want images that have a sense of calm to them, bring in some flowers. Not only will they brighten the scene, the color will brighten the viewers day, too. It always does mine. ;O)
Grace is available for adoption through B-Squad Dog Rescue in Brandon, SD.
If you'd like to see what others have blooming in their area, start with Pet Love Photography and continue around the blog circle.
People sometimes ask, "Do you have a favorite place that you like to photograph dogs?" My answer is, yes!
Think about this... If your high school senior is active in debate club and wants to study law, creating senior pictures for them on the football field wouldn't say much about their personality. In fact, it would be a little confusing to look at. Likewise, if your senior is goth, senior pictures taken in a botanical garden wouldn't let their unique personality shine like a more industrial setting or even wooded area would.
These examples show that sessions need to represent the subject and not just be at a location simply because the photographer likes to shoot there.
With dogs, the location first needs to be safe. Second, it needs to compliment their personality. And, third it needs to be comfortable for them.
I did a photoshoot with Downtown Henry a few weeks ago at the Arc of Dreams. Henry is a downtown Sioux Falls dog and he's very comfortable there. If I had taken a dog who isn't use to the downtown area cars, shops, and all the people, there would have been all kinds of distractions as well as anxiety for that dog.
Before a session I always ask a ton of questions about the dog that I'm going to photograph. I also ask questions about things that they do with their pet parents. This helps so much with ideas for creating images, but also about where we might want to go for the session.
If a dog loves to hike with their owner, then I want to be out on the trails. The dog will give me their best self out there. If they're a dock diving dog, there is no place they'd rather be than on the dock (then in the water, then on the dock, then.....you get the idea.) Part of that session definitely needs to be at the dock.
I do have certain places that I think are great for larger dogs and a couple that are perfect for smaller breeds, but honestly, if you ask me,
"Do you have a favorite place to photograph dogs?"
I'm going to tell you
...with their human of course.
Dogs are happiest with their human, and the rest is icing on the cake.
This post is part of a blog circle so if you'd like to see what other pet photographers have to say about favorite locations start with Elaine Tweedy of I Got the Shot Photography, always sniffing out great locations in Northeastern PA and surrounding areas.
What? You haven't heard of dock diving??
It's only the coolest sport around for those hot summer months! When a sport involves you, your dog, toys, a huge pool and lots of hoots and hollers you know it's going to be fun!
After the first half of this year's shenanigans, I couldn't wait to see these dogs. My favorite is the beginner classes. Watching the dogs go from maaaaaybe sticking their paw in the water to full on diving off the dock is what summer is all about for me. I'm not a big fan of the heat so being where there's lots of splashing (and I mean LOTS of splashing sometimes) is a good end to the day.
Look at the pride on Cane's face! He just accomplished something huge - getting that toy out of the water! I think he's most proud of the fact that he did it without even getting wet!
This dog just learned that it's ok to actually get in the water to get her toy. Myra might not be the most graceful of swimmers yet, but she'll get there. (Did I mention there could be a LOT of splashing?!)
Watching these dogs is like watching a two year old. They're so very unsure, but they want so badly to please. Everyone is cheering for them (usually quite loudly) and they'll look up at the source of encouragement, then at their dog mom or dad, and then at the water again. You can see their brain going in all directions wanting to do it, but not knowing exactly how or not quite having the guts yet.
It took three lessons and constant encouragement from her pet parents, but Phoebe finally made it into the water. After that all she wanted to do was swim with her dog dad.
Once the dogs are confident in the water, they head to the dock. This is where the real fun begins. Talk about doggie thoughts firing in all directions. Once they've made that first jump though, they can't get enough.
As much as I love the classic jumps off the docks, for me it's the "behind the scenes" pictures. Even if they aren't technically up to standards as far as photography goes, I love the moments captured between the dog and those encouraging their progress. It makes my heart swim. ;O)
This is the second year that Paws Pet Resort has offered dock diving classes and they fill up fast, so check them out if you're interested. They also have Open Swim days for dogs who are just wanting to practice their skills, and Try It Days for those who just want to try out the dock.
The theme for this week's 52 Weeks blog circle is... you guessed it, water! See what seasonally refreshing stories other pet photographers have to share starting with Terri J Photography, photographing your pet in the Greater Toronto Area.
This summer will mark the one year anniversary of the Arc Of Dreams in Sioux Falls, SD. The downtown sculpture created by artist Dale Lamphere, is 70 feet tall and spans the length of a football field across the Big Sioux River. Modeling his art piece on the 6 ft midwest prairie grasses that bend in the wind, there is a space of about 15 feet in the middle where the two pieces almost touch. Through this space in the sculpture, Lamphere creates a reminder that,
...sometimes all it takes to make a dream come true is a "leap of faith."
I've always loved the sculpture walk that is showcased on Philips Ave every year, but I hadn't yet made it to see the Arc. When I decided on a whim to go last week, I was in awe of the enormity of the sculpture. As I walked along the river looking at the Arc from different angles, the only thing I could think was,
I need to get a dog down here for some pictures!!!
But, what kind of dog? Hermes and Dash are not the right look for this statue and their personalities are not quite right for it either.
I knew it would need to be a dog who is use to the downtown lifestyle complete with distractions. As soon as the thought entered my head I knew the dog for the job...
Meet Downtown Henry!
I first met Henry when he was taking dock diving classes at Paws Pet Resort last summer. The first day of class Henry was asking his dog dad why in the world those dogs were going in that pool, and why were they crazy enough to jump!!! By the end of the 4 weeks Henry was a star! After finally making his "leap of faith" off the dock, Henry showed up at the dock with his super cape in tow and the smiles went on for days!
In my mind, Henry was perfect for pictures at the Arc. Besides the fact that he's so darn cute, Henry is a downtown dog who loves his city and all that downtown has to offer a dog (even if he was once told that he was too loud for Josiah's). Through his diving journey, Henry took that leap of faith that the Arc of Dreams was created around (pardon the pun). Dogs will do that you know. There is really nothing that they won't do for the family they love.
I told you Henry was adorable. ;O) By the way, you can follow Downtown Henry on Instagram. Yep, he's got his own account!
If you're in Sioux Falls or plan to visit, make sure you take some time to visit the Arc. It does not disappoint.
Thanks for modeling for me, Henry! Those GQ dogs got nothin on you. ;O)
This was a "free for all" post for our pet photographer's blog circle, so feel free to circle around if you'd like. Start with Linda Perdue of VP Shoots Photography in Tampa, Florida.
Everything seems to be black and white these days. Until you get to the heart of it and then it's just gray. The carona virus (COVID 19) has changed everything and every day it's different... but the same.
In fact, every state is different, but the same. People either shelter in place or they don't. People wear masks, or they don't. People go to the store or order out, or they don't. Everything seems to be black or white. But, the thing is everyone is trying to find the "new normal" so everything seems to be more gray than anything.
The best we can do is do what's best for ourselves as far as mental well-being, and think of others whole-heartedly when we're out in our communities.
Our state is starting to slowly open back up. There are so many heated debates that it makes everything seem even more gray (if that's possible). But, I saw something on the internet and for me it added a hint of color to my day. I hope it does yours, too.
(From the internet):
JUST BE KIND
...None of us have the same circumstances (medically high risk child/ family member or a business about to go under, etc.) Let's all stay in our own lanes and keep the judgment down as we begin to reopen.
Just a thought... As governors are trying to figure out how to ease back into normal, please remember:
• Some people don’t agree with the state opening.... that’s okay. Be kind.
• Some people are still planning to stay home.... that’s okay. Be kind.
• Some are scared of getting the virus and a second wave happening....that’s okay. Be kind.
• Some are sighing with relief to go back to work knowing they may not lose their business or their homes....that’s okay. Be kind.
• Some are thankful they can finally have a surgery they have put off....that’s okay. Be kind.
• Some will be able to attend interviews after weeks without a job....that’s okay. Be kind.
• Some will wear masks for weeks....that’s okay. Be kind.
• Some people will rush out to get the hair or nails done.... that’s okay. Be kind.
The point is, everyone has different viewpoints/feelings and that’s okay. Be kind. We each have a different story. If you need to stay home, stay home. But be kind. If you need to go out, just respect others when in public and be kind! Don’t judge fellow humans because you’re not in their story. We all are in different mental states than we were months ago. So remember, be kind!
I hope we can see past the gray as we find our "new normal." And who knows, maybe some new colors will develop through all of this.
If you'd like to see more from other pet photographers on this week's black and white theme, trek around the blog circle with Angela and Bella of Noses & Toes Pet Photography in Spokane, WA, with the perfect spot for black and white dog photos.
"There's no way my dog would ever sit still for photos...."
This is the number one thing I hear from people who inquire about a pet session.
I'm going to let you in on a little secret. My dogs NEVER behave when I try to get photos of them. Part of the reason is because they're our dogs. Just like kids they usually know where our buttons are, and therefore feel the need to push them.
Here's another secret....
The majority of the dogs on my site are photographed with their owner at the other end of a leash. (Yep, the cat's out of the bag.) When it comes to your dog I believe in safety first. Most of the time leaving them on a leash is a no-brainer and best for all involved. No worries though, this photographer doesn't pay big bucks for photoshop just to have it sit there taking up space on her computer. When you see your final images, the leashes will have magically disappeared, and you too will amaze your friends with your dog's modeling abilities!
During sessions we don't always have the perfect weather or the perfect lighting so images need to be tweaked for color and brightness along with leash removals.
Sometimes there are other things in the image that need to come out as well just so things aren't so cluttered.
Then there are events. Event photos are so fast paced that sometimes the one shot of all 3 dogs looking in the same direction happens when mom and dad aren't quite ready.
I've never been a fan of using photoshop to alter reality. But, it's perfect for getting rid of leashes, eye boogers, doggy drool, and making those private parts a little more private when needed.
If you hadn't seen the original images, you might have said, "My dog would never sit still for pictures." Now you know... every dog can be a supermodel. ;O)
This is a post for the 52 Weeks blog circle of pet photographers. If you'd like to see more "before and afters," start with Pawtraits by Nicole serving Las Vegas, NV, and surrounding areas and click your way around the circle.
Isolation is a word we hear all day every day right now. But, as hard as it is on people, isolation is what makes my heart sing when I look through the camera.
Isolation is used in photography in a lot of different ways to bring attention to the subject of the image. The most common way to isolate is to create a very soft background behind the main subject of the image.
I love the look and it's perfect for portraits. But, during sessions I like to use a different technique for the majority of the shoot. I like to isolate the dog to tell the story from their own point of view.
For example, I would describe this first image as a lovely portrait of a "family and their dog."
But, I would describe this second image as a fun loving "dog and his family." This is what I love capturing during each session. The relationship between you and your dog as seen from their perspective.
During local events where there are lots of participants, I love being able to see things that others might miss. I'm able to photograph things in a crowd that happen so quickly that I always feel privileged to have seen them at all much less captured them.
This image is from 2018 at the last end of the season dog swim that I went to. There were so many participants that it was almost impossible to keep track of anyone much less photograph a dog through all the legs in the pool. Isolating this boy and his dog from the crowd shows how they might as well have been the only two in the pool. And, judging from the joy on their faces, they probably felt like they were.
This man was talking to a friend when I noticed his little pup in the middle of all the big dogs running around. Poor little guy doesn't exactly have the best poker face.
Although we may feel isolated (or a bit like this little pup) on and off during these uncertain times of crisis, keep in mind that it's only temporary. I wish you all lots of love, lots of snuggles with your dogs, and lots of snacks and netflix when you need them. ;O)
This is part of a blog circle so if you'd like to see how other photographers in the group isolate, start with Tracy Allard of Penny Whistle Photography fetching portraits in Coppell and surrounding communities in the Dallas - Fort Worth metroplex.
White space in photography is better know as "negative space" and that's the topic of this week's blog circle. An image with negative space is one created with lots of space around the subject so it's isolated.
Negative space doesn't have to be white (and usually isn't), but it will always be "empty space" with no distractions around the subject, and the subject doesn't usually take up a lot of the image.
Negative space doesn't have to be solid either. As long as there is no distraction from the subject it's fulfilled it's purpose.
The Pawsitivity fundraiser session images would be classified as having negative space. Here's an out-take from one of the sessions. (You can't help but smile, can you?!) :O)
If you'd like to take a trip around the blog circle and see what others have to say about negative space in photography, start with Kaylee Doyle Photography, serving the greater Sacramento area.
Have a great weekend!