Ok, when I heard that the theme for this week's blog circle was "Git Lit," I got this huge grin on my face from a memory from a few months ago. Of course the theme is referring to photography, but all I could think about was a little trouble that Hermes got himself into a few months back. ;O)
I had friends visiting from out of state and at one point, my friend came upstairs and asked, "Kelly, if Hermes got in our room would he get into things he shouldn't?" I just laughed and said, "Yes, what did he do?" She looked at me and said, "You might want to call the vet" as she held up what looked like a treat bag. When I asked what it was she said, "CBD dog chews." I smiled and asked how many were in the bag to start with. She said twenty. When I asked how many were left she said, four. (Good grief, Hermes! lol)
Of course this happened on a weekend so my vet was out of the office, and the girl at the desk told me I should probably call poison control. Instead I just googled it and found that every single site said, "...is not fatal." That was good enough for me. I looked at Hermes and said, "You're on your own, buddy" and decided we would just watch him for a bit and make sure that he was ok.
After about 15 minutes or so Hermes was, well... he was "lit." He was laying in front of the sliding glass doors with his head tilted back sloooooowwly inspecting every inch of the ceiling from one corner to the next and back again. (Can you picture it?!! Ha!)
I do wish that I had taken a picture now, but at the time we figured it wasn't going to look like anything out of the ordinary without a tie dyed t-shirt and some Doritos. ;O)
As it's in the single digits outside, the only thing these two are concerned about getting lit right now is... the fireplace. 🐾
If you struggle to get good pictures of your dog,
here are a few tips about lighting that can help.
Whether you're using a cell phone or a camera, turn off your flash!
The flash will almost always give your dog "alien eyes." This is due to a special layer of cells that help them see better at night. The flash can also make them uncomfortable and not want to look at you again if you have that "scary thing" in your hand. So, unless it is absolutely necessary, turn the flash OFF.
When you are outside you want your dog to be facing the light.
This is especially important if your dog has black fur. When the light is behind your dog, it can create shadows on their face and chest causing them to look very dark.
Find some shade.
Most people think that a bright sunny day is perfect for pictures. It's beautiful outside so the pictures are going to be beautiful, too, right? Not always. In fact, unless you are manually applying your camera settings you're probably not going to be happy without some editing. Bright sun, especially in the middle of the day will cast harsh shadows. These shadows will be unavoidable and in most cases your dog will be half really, really bright and half really, really dark. The best thing to do is to find some shade. On days with no clouds, tons of sun, and very little shade you'll find that early morning or early evening are the best times to take pictures because the sun is much lower and not as harsh.
Overcast days are great for photographing your dog (and perfect for black dogs).
Don't let the absence of blue in the sky fool you into thinking your pictures won't be nice. On overcast days everything will be evenly lit with no bright spots or harsh shadows. For the best results (especially with black dogs) you still want to have your dog facing the light (or where the sun would be if there were no clouds). This will insure that you will be able to see their awesome expression in every shot.
When you're indoors (again, turn off that flash), you want to get your dog in the best natural light available. If you have lots of windows you will probably be ok in the majority of the room. If you have limited light, get your dog close to the window. Ideally, you'll want to try and be between your dog and the window so that the light is not behind your dog. (Make sure that your body is not casting a shadow on your model.) The part that's different about photographing indoors is that mid-day is usually a good time to take pictures as the sun is not coming directly in the window.
I hope these tips help. With a little practice you'll soon be able to spot perfect lighting scenarios to compliment your dog. 🐾
As this is a blog circle post, you can check out lighting tips from others as well! Start with Linda Perdue of VP Shoots Photography, serving pet lovers in the Tampa Bay area of Florida to continue around the circle.
Through the years I have made scrapbooks filled with pictures and stories for each of my kids as well as for my husband and I. When I found Designer Digitals digital scrapbooking site I was instantly hooked on the journaling part that I could incorporate so easily. Going back through the pages that I had created I was surprised to find one page in particular. It sums up my photography business perfectly. The interesting thing is, this was written years before I even considered starting a business!
The journaling reads:
If I could...
I would visit the troops and take candid photos. I would give them to the men and women in the military so they could see what I see. That they make a difference. That they are appreciated. That it’s not a small thing that they do.
I would take candid photos of the participants and workers of the Special Olympics. I would give them to them so that they could see what I see. That they are wonderful. That they are cherished. That they are winners.
I would go to nursing homes and take candid photos (and some posed ones, too because they love that) of the residents. I would give them to the residents so that they could see what I see. That they are not forgotten. That they are valuable. That they are loved.
I would go to the streets and take candid photos of the homeless. I would give them to the men, women and children so that they could see what I see. That they are people. That they are worth as much as the next person. That they are seen.
I would go to the schools and take candid photos of the teens. I would give them to the students so that they could see what I see. That they are unique. That they are interesting. That they are attractive and important.
I would take candid photos of the ordinary, everyday people. I would give them to them so that they could see what I see. I would do this so that the teachers and the bus drivers, the taxi drivers and the mail people, the painters and the dancers, the stay at home moms, the janitors, animal control officers, truck drivers, cafeteria workers, hospital lab runners, and pizza delivery people. . . could all see what I see. That they are needed. That they are important. That they are part of the big picture . . . and can be proud of who they are.
"We can't all be heroes because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by." -Will Rogers
So I will take pictures of the people who clap... and I will give them to them.
I've always loved candid photography and think everyone should have pictures of themselves and their loved ones that show the inside as well as the outside.
Pictures that tell a story.
If you're not ready for professional images quite yet, keep taking pictures on your own, but have someone else get some shots with you and your dog together, too. Frame a couple so that you will be reminded on a daily basis what it looks AND feels like to have such a great relationship with your dog. 🐾
As part of a Blog Circle, this post leads to another pet photographer's "tell a story" post and can be followed link by link around the circle starting with Pawparazzi Pet and Animal Photography presented by Shae Pepper.
First let me say, Happy new year!!! I hope you have all recuperated from the holidays and are ready for whatever 2020 has in store. (All good, fingers crossed!)
Second, I am participating in a world-wide blog circle of pet photographers again this year. Those of you who have been around for a while might have realized (or not) that I went missing from the circle in September of 2016 and then again in May of 2018, but THIS year is going to be different! (She says with all the certainty of...well, she's certain that she would like to give it her best shot.) I'm starting with a clean slate. Well, would you look at that! The theme for the first post is Blank Slate. ;O)
I'm not one who makes new year resolutions. It's just toooooo stressful for me! But, I do look forward to starting something new at the beginning of each year be that making a new quilt, creating a new scrapbook, or starting a new photography project. (I've always had multiple hobbies and think they are good for the soul.)
At the end of each year I basically start with a clean slate when it comes to my business. I update my web-site and add some of the new furry faces and pet parents that I became friends with over the year. It's always so fun to relive those sessions! After I've stretched this out to last as long as possible, I get myself up to date on the administrative aspects of the business. (Who am I kidding, this is a constant battle, 2 miles, uphill both ways, in the snow!) This is all stuff that I need to keep up with, but it's not the most glamorous part of owning a business.
With all of the not-so-fun parts, I'm very well aware that my personality needs creativity and change, so I've also been hard at work on a new project. This will involve a new type of session that I'll be offering focused on fundraising for charities.
For twenty, no thirty, (ok, let's just say many) years now I've often referred to myself as a "professional volunteer." Several of the opportunities that I've had have led to insight about just how many non-profits there are that no one even knows about. So many organizations go completely un-noticed because the bigger ones are always the first to mind. A perfect example is when a business does a food drive or fundraiser for a local charity, (and, thank you!) they usually just go with the well-known places in town and call it good.
The hope is that these new sessions will not only help charities monetarily, but in a more impactful way by bringing awareness to their cause.
I hope I've intrigued you and I promise to let you know as soon as I've gotten everything set for the sessions. But, for now I hope that you are able to create something fun with your own blank slate. Happy New Year!! 🐾
If this is your first time with a blog circle just continue on and see what other pet photographers have created for the blank slate theme. Start here with Elaine Tweedy of I Got the Shot Photography, capturing moments and memories for pets and their people in Northeastern PA.
The theme for this week's challenge was "humorous." I secretly hope that all of my clients laugh out loud at some point during their session. I don't care if the cause is their dog or me, I just love it when something unexpected happens causing more fun memories. Here are a few outtakes from some past sessions. Sometimes you just have to be there, but these make me smile simply because I remember what was going on at the time.
When my boys were little, they would run down the isle of the store when trying on new shoes. They said they had to make sure the shoes were "fast." ;O) I guess the same holds true for dogs and capes. When I put a simple red cape on Hermes, he apparently felt the need to make sure that he could fly. And, he did... right into my camera. (Funny, not funny... ok, funny. At least my husband sure thought so.)
He was so happy, too! Right up till the end. ;O)
The challenge this week will hopefully make you smile (if not laugh out loud), so continue around the circle with Danyel with Wag to My Heart serving the Portland OR metro area. Have a great week!
This 52 Weeks project is just for fun, but it gets us pet photographers thinking in ways we might not have before, as well as trying things we might not have tried before. This week's challenge was "headshots." I don't have a formal studio so I've never done a traditional headshot, but with treats in hand I gave it a go.
Why would you use a headshot for a dog you ask? For his dating profile, of course!
My name is Hermes
I was named after a Greek god who I'm pretty sure was faster than Superman. I wear a white and brown coat and have big brown eyes. I'm 77 years old (that's 11 in people years), 19" tall, and a huggable 17 pounds.
I'm really good at
Head tilts, wagging my tail like a conductor, and knowing when it's Wednesday
The first thing people usually notice about me
My ears. It's all about the ears.
The most private thing I'm willing to admit
My falsetto rivals that of Adam Levine.
The four things I could never do without
treats, my blanket, treats and treats.
I spend a lot of time thinking about
Food. Since the kids have all grown up and left the house I don't get many hand offs anymore. I get the occasion empty yogurt cup or raw vegetable when someone's making dinner, but I really miss the challenge of grabbing that pizza slice or running with a whole corn dog in my mouth. Those were the days. sigh
My idea of a great date
Playing frisbee in the field, then sharing a cool water bowl before taking a little snooze together in the sunshine.
They call me Dash and I have lived up to my name. I have brown fur with a mature frosted face and brown saucer eyes. I'm 84 years young, 17" tall, and a lean, mean 8 pounds.
I'm really good at
Elvis impressions (oh, and holding it for a really, really, really long time when it's cold outside)
The first thing people usually notice about me
I'm told that I have legs that go on forever.
The most private thing I'm willing to admit
I've always wanted a sleeve tattoo, but I was told that the up-keep with shaving would be too much for me. Ok, they really said I lack the muscle tone for pulling off a good tattoo.
The four things I could never do without
squirrels, my blanket, squirrels and squirrels. Oh, and squirrels.
I spend a lot of time thinking about
Squirrels... and how to keep people off my lawn...oh, and squirrels
My idea of a great date
Going on a walk with our humans and making them carry us home in their jackets for any reason we can think of.... (full disclosure, this is where we part because I really just want to be by myself. The dating stuff is just so Hermes doesn't think he's better than me.) Call me!
Well, I thought it was kind of fun. ;) I have a feeling there will be a lot more profiles if one of these heart throbs doesn't suit your dog's fancy. Start with Lisa's blog Pet Photography Columbus Ohio.
This was going to be a fun challenge where I could take Hermes to a bridge or a dirt road, or, or, or... but, when it snows and the wind blows at the same time there is just no way I can ask Hermes to go out in it. So, this week we're back indoors.
Leading lines was the challenge for this week. Leading lines in an image usually require space and a wide angle lens. The idea is to use lines to draw your viewer into the part of the image that you want them to focus on.
I had no idea what I was going to do to show leading lines indoors, and then this happened... Hermes had wrapped himself in the throw just like he always does, but this time he didn't quite make it underneath before turning circles to settle. I tip-toed to my camera and silently whispered over and over, please don't wake up, please don't wake up. I knew I wouldn't get a second chance at this one. He was completely worn out. Poor guy.
Setting up the shot at just the right angle showed wonderful leading lines. Not exactly the standard shot you would get with a bridge or a road, but I think it's kind of cool. Thanks for helping, Hermes! ;)
If you are enjoying our Friday blog circle posts, follow along this week starting with Lynda from Heartstrings Photography, Based in Hamilton New Zealand.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Does your dog have a daily schedule that they routinely follow? This is often dictated by families who work outside the home or have kids who go to school. There is a routine that is always in place and the dog usually adapts nicely. Hermes knows when it's Wednesday (every time!) and anxiously waits for me to get to the part where I pick up my keys so that he can go out the door with me headed to doggie daycare. Any other time he goes to his bed when I get my keys and looks at me as if to say, "See you later." Other than that, his days could be described as, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-days. We go for walks, we sit outside, we play "where's the rabbit." We just do what we want, when we want.
Dash on the other hand, could care less what day it is. He has the same routine day in and day out. It doesn't matter what you have planned, his plans are always the same. It goes something like this:
He wakes up bright and early (cough) around 9am.
He goes outside to do his business, runs back in, checks the dog bowl to make sure there is food in it for later, then heads back to his kennel. When he is alerted that there might be something outside, he runs to the front door and barks like mad. (Most of the time it's a false alarm, but by gosh he's ready!)
Towards the afternoon hours Dash leaves the front room for better sun bathing options in the kitchen and a good view of the back yard.
This is the time of day when the squirrels are out and thus, this is when Dash's
"work day" truly begins. He sees a squirrel, runs to the door and barks his little head off telling that squirrel to "GET OFF MY LAWN!" (He's such a crotchety old man sometimes.)
Dash sprints out the door into the yard, kicking grass and dirt, (or snow) everywhere, runs the track around the tree, then jumps repeatedly at the squirrel who is now perched in the tree spewing a string of obscenities in Dash's direction.
When Dash has ended the conversation, he trots back inside and plops down on the couch or in front of the fire if it's cold out.
This is the first of about 15 or more "Let me out...let me in" rotations that last for about an hour or so until Dash has worn himself out. Honestly, sometimes I'm worn out before he is.
At the end of the day, Dash likes to lay on the couch beside me while I watch Netflix, whine a little to let me know that I should be scratching him, and then finally goes to his kennel when it's time for everyone to be in bed.
Yep, that's his whole day unless I convince him that it is warm enough for him to go for a walk with Hermes and I. It's a dog's life for sure.
This post is part of a blog circle, so to see what other pet photographers' dogs in might be doing with their day, start with KME Photography in Minneapolis, MN. Have a great weekend!
This week's challenge was to "Revisit and Re-Edit" so I decided to go back to the beginning for this one. Back to the shelter...
I started volunteering at a shelter over 10 years ago. When that shelter closed a few years later, it was sad and I missed it, but I was also busy with my kids and other volunteer work so I just accepted it. I loved and admired the people that I worked with and am grateful for their encouragement towards my photography. Never in a million years did it even occur to me that it might lead to a job that I love so much.
So, for the challenge, here are some re-edits and I have to say the "revisit" part was sooooo much fun for me. :O)
The challenge this week was a fun look at the past, but it didn't stop there. I have been so inspired this year with the number of people taking part in this challenge who work with rescues on a regular basis. I've been missing that connection for awhile now and decided that I'd like to change that. Today I was notified that I have been accepted as a HeARTs Speak Artist. HeARTs Speak is a 501c3 international nonprofit organization who's mission is to unite art and advocacy to increase the visibility of shelter animals.
HeARTs Speak artists provide their services pro bono or donate their work to animal shelters, rescues, and advocacy groups. I know the difference a good photo makes for a shelter animal when needing a new home. I love being part of that process and am looking forward to working with these animals (and the people who work so hard for them) again.
You can see more from other photographers in this blog circle each time there is a challenge post. This week start with Pet Love Photography, author of "Rescue Dogs: Portraits and Stories," serving Greater Cincinnati and the San Francisco Bay Area. Have a great weekend!
I was a "collector" in my younger years. I was very sentimental about things even as a teenager. My dad traveled the world with his job and would bring gifts home for us kids. One time he brought me 3 unique, spiny sea shells that he picked up off the beach (I can't even remember which country now) and I still have those shells simply because my dad picked them up for me and carried them home from a place I'd never seen. (Ok, so maybe I'm still sentimental). I collected so many things through the years, but the constant moves that come from being married to an Air Force pilot and having 3 little boys with all the things that go along with having 3 little boys brought a new way of seeing things for me... it was all stuff and it was a pain to pack and un-pack year after year.
I soon became a minimalist....NOT! Ha! Honestly, I'd love to be one, but it's just not in me. I like things that make me smile when I see them, whether from their beauty or from a memory associated with them. So, let's face it, my house will always lean towards the word, clutter rather than, tidy.
Minimalism has a place in art and we see it in photography as well. This image of a leaf in the snow would be considered minimalist. There is very little (if anything) to compete with the subject of the photograph.
I consider my Sioux View images to be minimalist photography. These images have what we call "negative space," (the background is void of clutter), they are for the most part linear in nature, and I remove the color from these images so that the viewer "feels" more of the textures, contrasts, and even emotions presented in the images.
Since the purpose of this 52 Weeks project is to think outside the box when it comes to pet photography, I needed to come up with something that would be considered minimalist with Hermes as my model. I knew the snow would be perfect for this week's challenge, but I also knew that Hermes and snow don't always play nice together. In the end, he was kind enough to take about a minute and a half out of his day for this shot out the back door.
Once back in the warmth of the house he told me to take all the time I needed for this shot on the couch. :D
To continue around the blog circle and see what other pet photographers and their models have come up with for this challenge, start with Tracy Allard of Penny Whistle Photography fetching family portraits in Coppell Texas and surrounding communities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
This week's challenge was to photograph using a wide angle lens, so on the first nice(ish) day Hermes and I headed out with my 17-50mm lens. Using a wide angle lens can let you show more of an area rather than just a portion of it. Landscape photography is perfect for wide angle shots. With a wide angle lens you can take a picture of a lake, but you can also get mountains behind it and the shore in front of it instead of just the lake.
In this first image I wanted to show the new snow that we got and how perfect it was before all the kids got out of class to play and build forts and snowmen. My wide angle lens was perfect for this. The snow was up to Hermes's knees, but he'll do almost anything for a treat. ;)
A wide angle lens will "open up" places that are "walled," so to speak, making it a great lens for things like paths and bridges. The stairs and railing on the playground equipment fan out in this image inviting us to "come and play" with Hermes.
With a wide angle lens I'm able to include Hermes's ears and Dash's long legs in the picture! And, if you get really close you can create some fun images. ;)
If you'd like to see more from the pet photographers in this blog circle, start with Lynda Mowat from Heartstrings Photography, based in the Waikato New Zealand. Have a great weekend!