So Many Rules and Bowser Beer
This week's theme for the 52 Weeks Blog Circle is "rule of thirds." Photographers all know this phrase and know that it's a rule that they're suppose to follow when creating an image. Basically, if you divide your image into thirds, your subject should fall on one of the two dividing lines. Well, although an image might turn out this way, I might be considered a rule breaker. I photograph stories I want to tell and the composition is whatever tells that story best or whatever is most pleasing to me.
Some of you may know I work with Dogs On Deployment, an organization that helps military pet owners find boarders willing to watch their pets while they're deployed or on assignment. We recently had a contest for Military Pet Of the Year and not only did I learn about so many prize worthy pets, but I also learned about some wonderful businesses who donated products to our winners.
One of these businesses is Bowser Beer . They donated custom label bottles of dog brew to our top 3 dogs and sent me a sample as well. I'm so impressed with this company and their products. They even have pretzels to go with the beer, "cigar" treats, and gift sets for that hard to buy for canine friend. (You should check them out.)
I took some product pictures, and paid special attention to placement.
First, I wanted the focus to be on the labels so I zoomed in and took this picture showcasing our top 3 dogs from the competition. (They even gave them their own brew names!)
There are 3 bottles here, but this does not show the rules of thirds. This image is centered.
Then, I took a picture of the bottles along with Hermes' bowl and some treats just to make sure the viewer knows that Bowser Beer is for dogs (because even though it says "non-alcoholic treat for dogs," right on the label, well..... you know). ;O)
Even though this image is centered, the bottles are what people will notice first. Partly because they are the most colorful, and partly because since we read from left to right, our eyes tend to scan pictures from left to right seeing the bottles first. However, this does demonstrate the rule of thirds with that 2nd bottle being very close to one of the rule's dividing lines.
Lastly, I wanted to get a picture with Hermes included (because he's a dog and all). This is where I purposefully chose to incorporate the "rule of thirds" for my image. I put the bottles over on the dividing line and placed Hermes in back a little out of focus so that he would be an element that tells more of the story rather than a distraction from the Bowser Beer bottles. (He looks a little jealous of the other dogs' labels.) ;O)
In my opinion, rules in art are made for learning. Once you know why the rule is there, it's up to you if you want to follow it or not. (I sound like such a rebel!)
I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
Pawsitivity Fundraising Sessions
I've started an ongoing project that I've been wanting to put into action for years. Why didn't I do it sooner? Looking back, I think it was the scary details. Aside from photographing dogs, everything about this project would have been brand new to me.
I have been hard at work for several months now planning all the details (the fun creative ones and the not so fun business ones) and Pawsitivity fundraising sessions are now a reality!
These sessions will happen once or twice a year and the goal is to raise money for charities. They'll each have a theme and the sessions will be short and sweet. They'll be a little different from my normal sessions as we'll be photographing inside and the images will have a minimalistic feel.
The first of the Pawsitivity sessions is called World At Your Feet and will take place in March. I'm so excited about this session! The images will focus on your dog and a bit of your own personality, too... your shoes! We'll be raising money to buy new shoes for the kids of Children's Inn and those supported by Mission Haiti.
If you'd like to know more about the fundraiser sessions you'll find all the details here!
I hope you have a wonderful weekend! Spring is right around the corner! ;O)
This post is part of the 52 weeks blog circle so take a look at what other's have to say about "details" starting with Jackie Petersen Pet Photography, serving pet lovers in Northern Utah.
Love and Other Mushy Stuff
It's no secret I love my job. I feel like I get insider access to what makes dogs tick just by hanging out with them. I dare anyone to go to a place where there are dogs interacting and not leave feeling less stressed and slightly sore from smiling.
You dog devotees make it all happen. You love your dogs and they love you. Even just hanging out on the couch feels good enough to be dubbed "mushy."
Here are some images that speak to us about love...and other mushy stuff.
Senior dogs are pure love in my book.
Introducing the newest little sister gets all kinds of awwwwws.
I dare you to look at this next one and not smile. ;O)
And, oh my goodness kids and dogs can melt your heart!
Pictures should make you feel, and when it's love that's shining through you know you've got a good one.
Last but not least here's one more picture that spells L.O.V.E. to me. (I can't really do a post about love without including my own pups now can I.)
Happy Valentine's day! ❤️🐾
This is a Project 52 blog circle post, so follow the links to see more love from other pet photographers around the world. Start with Pawparazzi Pet and Animal Photography presented by Shae Pepper Photography
For those of you who've travelled down that bumpy road of hiring a photographer for your wedding, you'll know that I'm right (hopefully not in hindsight) when I say, there are so many shades of gray when looking for the right photographer.
Whether you're looking for a photographer for your wedding, a new baby, senior portraits, or boudoir, things are not always black and white. There are things you'll want to think about above and beyond price. Here are a few things you'll want to consider in order to find a photographer that's a good fit for you.
1. What's their specialty?
Does the photographer specialize in something? If you're looking for a photographer for your newborn session, you don't really want to hire someone who specializes in business headshots. Likewise, a newborn photographer is probably not your best choice for a boudoir session. When a photographer specializes in a specific type of photography, you are almost always guaranteed a great session because they love the work they're doing (not to mention they've got a lot of experience in their niche).
2. What's their style?
Take a look at their gallery. Do the images appeal to you? Are you wanting an indoor studio session or do you want your session to be outdoors? Do you like classically posed pictures or more candid lifestyle type photos? Do you prefer bright colorful action shots or light and airy romantic images? When you look at a photographer's portfolio, you should feel something. If you don't you should probably keep searching.
3. Are they a people person? (or a dog person?) ;O)
Would you enjoy hanging out with this person? Not necessarily for years, but can you see yourself enjoying their company? Your photographer needs to be someone that you like. Your session should be fun and if your photographer's personality clashes with yours the outcome will be less than desirable. Personality is a necessity, especially when it comes to a wedding photographer. You'll be with them for hours during one of the most important events of your life, so you'll want someone that you'd be happy to put on your invite list. If you want some lifestyle images of your kids to hang in the play room, you're going to be disappointed if the photographer is not someone who enjoys being around rambunctious little ones.
4. What services do they provide?
Does the photographer listen to your story? Do they offer advice? Some photographers meet you at a location, take the pictures, upload them to an on-line gallery and from there you choose and order prints to be delivered through the mail. Others are very hands on from beginning to end. They will learn about you and your vision before the session, find the best location, provide hair and makeup, help with the ordering process, and even hang artwork in your home. You'll want to determine what level of service you'd be most comfortable with.
5. What products do they offer?
Are you wanting art for your walls, an album that tells your story, or are you looking for digital files? Not all photographers offer all products. Some only offer digital files and you'll need to find a place to print on your own. Other photographers offer prints for you home, but not albums; or prints and albums, but not digital files. You'll want to make sure that the photographer actually offers what you are most interested in.
6. Do they fit your budget?
When it comes to photography, the old saying, "you get what you pay for" is actually something to pay attention to. Depending on the level of service and the products that you want, can you afford the photographer? If not, then is a session with them something that you think is worth saving up for?
For each person, there are things that they're willing to pay for and things they're not. Some people are willing to pay more for something that someone else wouldn't pay the price of a burger for. This is why when looking for a photographer you need to do a little research. Make sure you are a good fit. When you find the right one you'll be so happy you put in the work.
For this weeks blog circle, see what other pet photographers have to say about shades of gray starting with Pawparazzi Pet and Animal Photography presented by Shae Pepper Photography and continue around the circle.
All The Feels Of Photography
Texture is the topic for this week's Blog Circle post and one of the things I find artistic about photography. I am a very tactile person and have to feel the fabric of things like clothing, blankets or furniture before I buy them. When I have a sewing, needlepoint, or quilting project, texture is everything.
When incorporating texture into photographs I find that nature can sometimes provide the perfect mix for a feel good image. The different sizes and shapes as well as textures of the leaves in this image are a great example.
However, winter provides the most satisfying textures of all for this photographer. I love contrast in my images. I love dark and light together, smooth and ruff, and most of all color on white. (See where I'm going here?) ;O)
Take a look at this picture. Because Willow's coloring is the same as the grasses, the texture is what makes this image great. (Well, besides that cute smile.) You have the snow that is white and smooth, the grasses that are all over the place, and Willow's plush curly fur all in one image.
This next one has the texture of her fur and the crispness of the snow on her face, but the blurred background also adds contrast to the sharpness of the image. Now, try to imagine Willow with smooth fur like that of a lab. Because her coloring matches the grasses this image would lose some of its spark without the texture of her wavy fur.
What do you see as far as texture in this next one?
The two things that stand out the most are the smoothness of the ground with the blurred grasses in front, and the sharper rough trees in the background. They are contrasting textures. If you look at Willow's mom's coat, you can see horizontal stitching that also adds texture to the overall image. And, it adds a bit of uniformity to an image that is mostly chaotic within its different textures.
I could talk about texture forever... but I won't. I will say that it's a big part of those images that really stand out. Just like you can feel different textures with your fingers, textures in an image also make you feel. You can feel the coldness of the snow on Willow's face when you see it in the picture. It's not because you know it's snow because it could be a drawing in a coloring book and you might not "feel" that. You feel it because you can see the texture of the snow. You can also feel the softness of Willow's wavy fur as well as the sharpness of the trees. You don't have to think about it, you just feel it because you can see the texture in the image.
Want to see what textures others in the blog circle have captured or created? Start with Tracy Allard of Penny Whistle Photography fetching portraits in Coppell and surrounding communities in the Dallas - Fort Worth metroplex.
Get Lit - Lighting Tips For Pet Pictures
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.
Telling Your Story Through Photography
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.
52 Weeks - Funny, Not Funny
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!
52 Weeks - Looking Good
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.
I can't really get them to say "cheese," but I can almost always make them smile. -Kelly