Category Archives: photoshoots
“We feel like we’ve won the doggy lottery.”
That was one of the first things that Zooey’s Mom, Kate, said to me when I asked her how the love story between her and her sweet pup began. Kate and her husband Chris stumbled upon sweet Zooey’s presence in their life in the most unlikely way. Kate and Chris – both young professionals living in Boston – were in communications with an animal rescue organization about the potential of adopting a dog. They described their lifestyle, and exactly what type of dog they thought would best fit into it. The rescue organization, after listening carefully, said ‘Yes. We think we have the perfect dog for you. And she’s in Tennessee.’ So, never having met miss Zooey, Kate and Chris made the long trek from Boston to Tennessee to meet their new dog. It was love at first sight. And the rest is history.
Zooey’s photo session took place on the most perfect Spring day. (I know, I knowww! I’ve been meaning to get Zooey’s post up here for months. Bad blogger!) The sunlight on the day of our session was absolutely magical. We spent our time together tromping through the over 250 acres of breathtaking grounds at Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum. Yellow light was sparkling and glinting through the spaces between the trees and the new Spring flowers were wild and abundant sending fragrance spinning into the air with each tap of Zooey’s paw to the ground.
Oh, what a lucky afternoon surrounded by so much beauty…
This is Zooey’s trademark look. She calls it ‘The Point’.
Using this very same face, over and over again, Zooey scored an absurd amount of treats off of me.
(C’mon! You know there’s no way you could deny it!)
Zooey shows us her impressive levitating skills..
Zooey and Kate. Six legs. One heart.
She’s a beauty in black and white. (okaaaay, she’s a beauty all the time.)
Uh oh! Zooey’s up to no good. Whatever wonderfully delicious goodness you got into – Mom says spit it out!…
And here’s Zooey the action movie star! She was proud to show us her fancy feet moves!
‘She is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are her life, her love, her leader.
She will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of her heart. You owe it to her to be worthy of such devotion.’
Here’s to the story of Zooey. Of every rescue dog. The story of a lonely little heart sitting patiently in a cage waiting for the type of love with the potential to change her life. Kate and Chris gave Zooey exactly that. I am so blessed to have spent a perfect afternoon witnessing the joy, love and loyalty that one lucky dog has to give so selflessly to the world.
Kate – thank you for giving me the opportunity to photograph your sweet Zooey. I had the best time chasing the sunlight through the Arboretum with you two beautiful girls. I hope these photographs serve to tell her story and spread her infectious joy for so many years to come. And, may they allow you to keep a few Zooey smiles in your pocket with you wherever you go.
Until next time,
If you’d like to have a photo adventure with your own sweet dog – don’t hesitate to contact me! email@example.com I have a few spots still available through the end of October. I look so forward to hearing from you!
It’s Friday once again and I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be back in the Project 52 ring. Summer is by far the busiest season for Dog Breath Photography – and for the past 3 weeks I have been so outrageously busy with events, shoots, editing and ordering that my head is spinning! (No complaints though. Busy is wonderful.) The only negative side effect of my wacky schedule is that I haven’t been able to devote time to participating in the Project 52 blog ring posts. (Bummer!) But this week, I made it a point to put aside a few moments to reconnect with my fellow pet photographers and with you all and share some of my most recent work!
This week’s theme for Project 52 was ‘Selective Focus’. The goal of selective focus is to isolate the subject in an image so that it is the only thing in sharp focus within the frame.
Well, this past week, I had the lucky opportunity to shoot with Miss Lily the 4lb Chihuahua. It was one of the most unique and beautiful photo locations I’ve ever shot at - on Rattlesnake Island in the middle of New Hampshire’s gorgeous Lake Winnipesaukee. An incredible thunderstorm was brewing in the clouds above the island and Lily and I wrapped up our photo session just as the first raindrops were falling. The dewey atmosphere allowed for the most brilliant color tones. And when shooting wide open (stopped all the way down at f/1.4) the warm, wet colors created the dreamiest blur and depth of field, thus isolating Lily as the sharp subject in the foreground. All in all, it was a perfect day…
(Don’t let Lily’s small size fool you! She is the sassiest, spunkiest little fuzzbutt I’ve ever met. And she fits nicely into a shirt pocket.) :P
Now don’t forget this is a blog ring! Click on over to to see what Kelly Ladouceur (Fort McMurray Pet Photographer KLAD Photography) focused on this week! Click all the way around and end up right back here with Miss Lily and I!
It’s Friday and I’m back in this week for Project 52! I had to take a break last week because I’ve been swimming in private client work and I needed to grasp onto every available second to catch up! Whew!
But now I’m back in action and that makes me super happy – because that means I get to share more of my favorite images with you!
This week’s theme – ‘The More the Merrier’ – challenged us to include more than one fuzzy subject in our images. In my case, this means three unbelievably, heart-meltingly, cute canines. They are smiley, wagging butts with larger-than-life personalities by the names of Yuki, Alfie and Bella…
When it comes to furry smiles of the pint-sized variety, the more certainly is the merrier!
Photographing more than one dog certainly is challenging. Catering to the attention span of one dog while managing position and expression is difficult enough – not to mention three! Fortunately for me, these three sat like angels for our photo session and did exactly as their Mom said. (If only they were all this easy!) I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to have spent a magical afternoon photographing this trio!
Now don’t forget this is a blog ring! Click on to discover all kinds of joy (in multiples!) Yay! Next up is the incredibly talented Charleston Pet Photographer, Dana Cubbage.
Thanks for stopping by! Until next time!
It’s Friday! And even better than that – it’s a Friday to conclude a wonderful, wonderful week. Things have been busy over in Dog Breath land – but the best kind of busy! I’ve been shooting, editing and printing so many images that I think photos are going to start coming out of my ears!
Anyhow, it’s Project 52 time again and I am so excited about it because it keeps me on track with keeping you all updated on what’s going on over here!
I was super excited about the theme this week — ‘Digital Darkroom’ — a figurative room that I spend copious amounts of time in after photo shoots.
The most important thing to address when talking about the ‘digital darkroom’ or ‘post-processing’ or any of the other number of terms that people refer to when speaking of digital editing – is to do your darndest to get in right in the camera. That is the most important step of all. Because despite all of the fancy editing tools and expensive software that is out there nowadays – there are still certain things that can only be changed within the camera itself. (If you haven’t seen it yet – I have a super relevant post that goes into more detail about this very subject. You can read it here.) The two most important in-camera factors that come to mind are depth of field and point of focus. These two things, combined with good exposure and artful composition are integral to making a solid photograph.
That said, a photographer’s post processing technique can be a major part of their overall trademark and style. And I know when it comes to my work – shooting photos is only the first half the battle. I spent countless hours in programs like Aperture, Camera Raw, Photoshop and Lightroom tweaking color balances, adjusting curves, sharpening, dodging, burning, cropping and cloning. And this post is so super awesome because I am going to give you an inside look at all of those things that go into making a photo beautiful…
Before your heart spontaneously melts all over the ground - I will be kind enough to warn you that you are about to feast your eyes on the cutest thing that has ever existed on four legs. (Okay, okayyyy – I’m a bit partial since the fuzzy model below is my own happy little furchild. But you know what I mean – just beware of the cuteness.)
Recently, Toby and I had an outing to the beach. And I got to photograph him doing his favorite thing on the planet – playing in the water. (Alright, maybe his second favorite thing. He really enjoys a good butt sniff.)
After shooting these photos and unloading them onto my computer, I was pretty darn satisfied. The exposures were generally where I wanted them to be, the depth of field in each image was super shallow as I typically like it to be, and the points of focus were spot on. Great. Now starts everything that’s not so satisfying about them:
1.The white balance is just yuck. Things that are supposed to be white are tinted a grungy yellow.
2. They are the tiniest bit too dark.
3. There are some harsh shadows and bright whites creating overwhelming contrast right smack in the middle of Toby’s best feature (his face). (I could have avoided this by following the one cardinal rule of shooting outdoors – and that is to never shoot at high noon, or anytime while the sun is too blazingly direct. Ideally, the sunrise and sunset are the best times to shoot.)
4. There are some distracting elements such as his leash and the random strangers in the background. (How dare they come play at the public beach that Toby and I were so clearly at first!)
5. The blues in the water that were so gorgeous in reality are looking really dark, dull and ‘blah’.
So, in conclusion – Yay for Photoshop!!
I am going to show you the images from Toby’s ocean play day in sequence. First, the photograph straight out of the camera. (SOOC, as photographers like to call it.) No editing, slider bars or processing of any type.
Then, I’ll point out everything that I think needs to be fixed.
Finally – WALAH! The final image. The one I’ll hang on my wall and show to every stranger that walks in my house and rave ‘Isn’t he just the most wonderful thing you’ve ever seen?!’ and ‘He is the best thing that’s ever happened to me!’ and ‘He sometimes likes to dance on two legs with me in the living room while listening to ‘Wings’ hits from the 70′s’, etc. etc. etc. until they run away screaming ‘Crazy Dog Lady!’
ha. anyway. I got a little off track there. So, check it out:
Now don’t tell Toby I let you in on the secrets that make him beautiful!
Haha! But seriously, I hope you enjoyed that inside peek at what goes into creating my final images. The ‘digital darkroom’ and all of it’s intricate algorithms really can be magical sometimes. And hey, who doesn’t need a little magic?
Don’t forget this is a blog ring! If you click forward, you’ll have the wonderful privilege of checking out the work of one my absolute favorite pet photographers in the industry, Anthony Helton of Purple Collar Pet Photography in Sacramento. You won’t be disappointed!
Until next week!
It’s Friday again, which is the best day of the week for both of the following reasons:
1. Tomorrow is Saturday.
2. It’s Project 52 blog post day!
This week’s theme was ‘The Colors of Spring’! And man, I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have these Spring colors back in my life! I think the hardest part of living in New England are the extended periods of dull and drab skies and the general lack of color that the long winters bring.
In case you weren’t already aware, I have the lucky privilege of photographing the adoptable dogs weekly at the MSPCA at Nevins Farm in Methuen. The grounds at Nevins Farm are absolutely beautiful and offer many different serene locations to sit quietly with a canine and enjoy the world. But even there, amongst all that beauty, the colors disappear in the winter. They leave dead brown matted ground and plots of dirt where gorgeous green grass used to thrive.
But, alas! April has rolled back around and with it has come incredible yellow sunlight, warmth and amazing colors!
I took these photos of the beautiful Miss Sky earlier this week. And as soon as I uploaded them into my computer and viewed them full size I squealed with delight at the gorgeous spring colors that are finally making their way back into my images. And this pup just looks so perfect among the pastel green grass and baby blue sky. (ahhhh. who am I kidding? She’d look good anywhere. But nonetheless!)…
Sky is waiting for her forever family and you can learn more about her here.
Don’t forget this is a blog ring! And if you click forward I can promise you all kinds of colorful delights! Now head on over to Skyy Blue Photography in San Diego to see what Spring looks like in her neck of the woods!
Until Next Time!
Yay! It’s Friday! And that can only mean one thing – time for another Project 52 blog post!
This week’s theme was ‘From the Ground Up’. The idea behind it was to shoot up towards our subjects from ground level. The fantastic thing about shooting like this is that it changes up the usual perspective of the way humans typically see dogs. (or animals in general.) Very early in my pet photography career I learned that its not terribly interesting to photograph an animal from a standing position – a vantage point that is pretty consistently 3 to 4 feet above a dog’s head, depending on the size of the dog. In order to make a photograph really special, one must gain an interesting perspective to see something usual in an unusual way. That being said, I take about 80% of my photos lying on my stomach or my back.
Case in point:
(I know, I know … not a very flattering angle for me. But for my fuzzy subject, Maddy – who I shot with just a few weeks ago – it was amazing! In case you missed that session you can find it here.)
This past week has been super exciting and filled with all kinds of waggly, furbutt photoshoots! Here are a few ‘ground up’ shots I took throughout the week while photographing for private clients as well as the MSPCA. I love how the super low vantage point makes the world feel so big.
The best part of this whole Project 52 thang is that you get to experience some of the most wonderfully talented pet photographers from around the globe! So click on over to Charleston Pet Photographer, Dana Cubbage to see the four-leggers of the world from her unique perspective! Ill see you when you come back around!
The theme for Project 52 this week was ‘My Favorite Things’. The instruction was to photograph a fuzzy subject and their favorite thing. And oh boy, do I have a story of favorites for you ….
Lily is a 2.5 pound, rootin’ tootin’ ball of attitude. She knows what she wants and when she wants it. Lily is fond of all kinds of things including chicken treats, her fluffy pink bed and laying on the heat vent in the kitchen. But above and beyond all that – her very favorite thing on the whole planet is her furry little fox friend that she keeps next to her at all times. We’ve dubbed him Bartleby Jones.
Bartleby was a gift to Lily over 4 years ago from her human Mom. Lily drags him with her anywhere she goes. She enjoys sleeping with him, looking out the window while cuddling him, and smelling his fuzzy little face. (Case in point…)
And that last photo is Lily giving you the stank eye. She’s protective of her best friend and is letting you know that you won’t get away with any funny business while she’s around.
Lily and Bartleby are inseparable. And as long as he is by her side – she’s happy.
Now when I tell you that Bartleby the fox is Lily’s best friend I’m really not joking around. This wasn’t just one of those ‘Oh no! I have to do a blog post so let me take some photos last minute and throw together an idea that fits the theme’ scenarios. Nope. This is real, true love. And it has been for years – Ever since she first laid eyes on him 4 years ago when she was just a little bugger. She has taken extra special care of him each and every day. And when I say they’re in LOVE – I’m not kidding. At the risk of being slightly inappropriate and borderline hilarious – here’s a video I took of Lily and Bartleby last year. You’ll have to forgive the poor video quality as it was filmed on the nearest thing I could find at that surprising moment – which happened to be my cell phone.
Gets me every time.
And don’t forget this is a blog ring made up of wonderfully talented photographers from all over the world! Now that you’ve had more ridiculousness than you can handle for one day – click on over to Central Coast Pet Photographer, Sharon Stokes to check out what kinds of favorites are happening in her neck of the woods.
Until next time!
I’d like to introduce to you the sweet, charming and exponentially fuzzy Miss Maddy.
Facts about Maddy:
1. She is a good kisser.
2. She enjoys long walks and sniffing the rear end(s) of any and every passing canine.
3. She is patient and calm. (Unless you have a camera bag full of Pupperoni.)
4. She enjoys smelling inanimate objects.
5. She loves her rides in the car.
6. She eats pizza like it’s nobody’s business.
7. Despite enjoying our day out in the big city – she is truly a country girl.
8. A nice armchair that used to belong to the humans in her family now belongs to her.
Maddy and I spent a gorgeous afternoon in Boston together just a few weeks back. We explored the Public Gardens at the Boston Common and played on the bridges and docks. It was an unseasonably warm day for Boston and we were both enthralled with it. The yellow light that was pouring in sideways through the spaces between the buildings was an absolute dream. And since Maddy is a ‘live-for-the-moment’ kind of gal – we took advantage of every perfect second while she gave me her best Vogue poses.
At the conclusion of our shoot, we found a dock on the Charles River and watched the sunset together. It was quite the romantic date!
So without further ado, here’s that perfect face …
I hope you enjoy her gorgeous face as much as I did! If everybody in the world was as good-looking as Maddy – it would likely be a better place.
Oh, Friday. Good to have you back.
And in honor of your return to my life – it’s time for another Project 52 blog post!
This week’s theme was ‘Vintage/Retro’. And it couldn’t be more perfect timing because this gives me the opportunity to share some images from a recent shoot I did for a submission to Pinups for Pitbulls. (PFPB is an incredible organization doing a world of good for an AMAZING cause! Take a moment out of your busy life to check them out.)
My stunning pinup model is none other than the beautiful Caitlin Lento – and of course, lets not forget Miss Nala the shining canine star!
Take a moment to feel a little retro and bask in the glory of the 1950′s pinup era. (Oh, and also the glory of that perfect blue-eyed puppy balancing on a pedestal)….
Next up is Chase & Snap Pet Photography by Stephanie Madeline | New Jersey Pet Photographer. Click on over there to see all things retro and vintage in her bright and beautiful world! If you follow the links all the way around the blog ring you’ll end up right back here with me and the two attractive blondes above. (Okay, okay – one is more of a stark white with a few colored spots thrown in.. But, you know what I mean.) :)
I often find myself admiring the work of other photographers and going ‘ahhhh! this is SO good!’ You know the ones – the people who seem so damn talented that you walk away going ‘what am I doing wrong?!’ and ‘why don’t my images look like that?!’ Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret (and it’s something I have to always keep reminding myself) – most photographers’ have to do a whole bunch of work after they click that shutter button to make the final image look as amazing as it does.
First I’ll start by saying that it is incredibly important to get your images looking as best as they possibly can SOOC (straight-out-of-camera). While I’m out on location and shooting I’m constantly checking the LCD on the back of my camera to check for things like exposure, shutter speed, sharpness and depth of field. From shot to shot, conditions can change drastically and therefore camera settings need to be adjusted accordingly (and fast!). For example, just recently I had a photoshoot with a beautiful black lab on a bright sunny day in the middle of the afternoon. She was a fast as a bullet (as most young labs are), and therefore she was darting around the park – running in and out of spots of dark shade and patches of bright, direct sunlight. I shoot in manual mode – which means that the camera doesnt make any automatic decisions for me. In order for me to have complete control over my images, I don’t want the camera to choose what to focus on or what to expose for – I want to choose it. So I’m always observing the light and colors around me and turning knobs and clicking different buttons to change settings while I’m shooting. Sure, it’s a lot of extra work but it also ensures that my images will turn out exactly the way I want them to.
That said, even the best SOOC photos can use a little post-processing to help brighten them up, correct colors and make them pop! So I am going to share a few ‘before and after’ photo combinations to give you an idea of what I do in the ‘digital darkroom’ after I load the files into my computer. I use Adobe Camera RAW, Photoshop CS5 and Aperture 3 to process all of my images.
First, check out Boomer! He is a sweet little Corgi mix that I had the pleasure of photographing earlier this winter. I tend to slightly underexpose my images so that I don’t have any blown out highlights or ‘clipping’. Then in Camera RAW I can pull the exposure up just a bit to brighten the photo. I always sharpen the eyes first, and then the overall photo. (Since eyes are the window to the puppy soul – they always need a bit of extra attention!) Another thing I spend alot of my time doing in post-processing is leash removal. Not every one of my clients feels comfortable letting their baby off the leash in a public place – and since their safety is absolutely the most important thing – I rely on my Photoshop skills to take care of leashes after the fact! …
This next photo is of Molly, a gorgeous Fox Terrier Mix who I photographed while volunteering at the MSPCA. She is adoptable and waiting for her forever home so I thought she could use a glamour shot! This edit of Molly is very basic – but my primary focus was pulling out the gorgeous spring colors. In the before, the colors seem drab and dull to me – and her eyes don’t really pop the way they do when you see her perfect face in person. So I sharpened and color corrected to accentuate the true way I saw her when I was there. Also – that bandana of hers was just fantastic so I spent a little bit of time working on the colors there…
Next up are my beautiful niece and nephew, Nala and Simba. This photo was taken deep in the woods in the middle of a New England snowstorm. Shooting in the snow is tricky if you are using automatic mode because when the camera looks around and sees so much white, it is tricked into thinking that the atmosphere is brighter than it really is. Situations like this are another reason why I always shoot in manual mode. It goes to show you – as amazing as the brains of the cameras of today are – they will never ever be as good or as accurate as the human eye.
So, with this photo – I brightened it up quite a bit and removed the green color cast. And since my devious little niece and nephew can be sneaky off of their leashes, I decided it would be safer to take care of the leashes in post-production than risk them getting into trouble off the leash. (Later in this photo session however, I thought Id give them a try off the leash and Simba decided the thing to do was to go swimming in pond that we passed by in the arctic temperatures of the snowstorm. Needless to say, the leashes went right back on and Simba was immediately taken to the parking lot and defrosted by the heat vents in the car before we were able to go back out. Haha!)
So there you have it! It’s always kind of a vulnerable thing as an artist to show work that isn’t 100% absolutely your best (which of course is what the ‘before’s are). But I think if it helps viewers and aspiring photographers perceive and appreciate photography in a different way than it’s gotta do some good! So, keep in mind, when you see a great photographer’s work and you start to get down on your own – it most likely didn’t come straight out of the camera looking like that. When my favorite photographers share tips and tricks about their editing process I get so excited! In a way, it helps me feel closer and more connected to their work.
I’m thinking I may try to share one of my favorite ‘before and after’s with you all once a month or so. What do you think?
Until next time!