Category Archives: Project 52
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!
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 say that because it’s Friday. And Friday of course means time for another Project 52 blog post! Just in case this is your first time tuning in, I’ll give you a quick rundown of exactly what that means. Project 52 is essentially a network of professional pet photographers from around the world coming together each week to photograph and blog about a common pre-chosen theme. I am simultaneously elated and privileged to work with a group of such incredibly talented people! So, when you’re done checking out what’s going on here at the Dog Breath Photography page – I urge you to click on to the next photographer and continue the adventure!
This week’s theme was very different than past ones. This week we were asked to create images based upon Paul Fersen’s beautiful ‘Dogs In Our Lives’ poem:
We aren’t house proud.
If were, we wouldn’t abide the scratches on the door frame, the holes in the screen, the darkened shine of worn spots on the chair.
We would wince at the mottled carpet and fret at the hair clinging to our clothes.
If anything, we lovers of dogs are a tolerant lot, finding greater value in the unabashed affection of our friends than in immaculate sofas.
Shoes can be replaced, but heroic retrievers are timeless.
Without dogs, our houses are cold receptacles for things.
Dogs make a fire warmer with their curled presence.
They wake us, greet us, protect us, and ultimately carve a place in our hearts and our history.
On reflection, our lives are often referenced in parts defined by the all-too-short lives of our dogs.
From the moment I began reading this poem I immediately thought of Toby.
Toby is the one-and-only wagging furbutt of my dreams. He’s my fuzzy child. And without him – Yes, certain parts of my life would be cleaner, simpler and most likely less smelly – but there would also be a gaping hole in my heart the size of North America. Toby makes every day worth living. He eases my pain with one quick swipe of his pink tongue. He makes me smile brighter and bigger than anyone else ever has. Sure, I could do without the itchy white hair all over my furniture and clothes, the dog farts and the occasional dry kibble vomit. And yes, I can only dream of more than the 3 square inches of sleeping space in my bed at night and of a vehicle without puppy snots on all the windows. But, there is nothing more important in the whole world than that goober smile on Toby’s face or the feeling of his cold wet nose pressed into the space between my cheek and my neck. Quite frankly, I am willing to give up anything to be lucky enough to feel his sunshine in my life everyday for as long as he exists. So, if I could say one thing to our poet Mr. Paul Fersen, it would be ‘I understand’.
The biggest challenge this week was the directive to not photograph a dog. We were challenged to show the presence of a dog in our lives without showing the actual dog. So, in order to translate this into a photographic blog for you – I thought I’d share a very common scenario in my life. Here’s an idea of what it looks for me to go out somewhere nice. So here I am on a Friday night. I’ll spend what seems like an eternity getting dressed up and doing my hair. I put on the finishing touches and.. not too shabby right?
Wrong. Let’s take a closer look.
I get to where I’m going and then ‘Oh, hey! Remember that last over-enthusiastic puppy jump just before you ran out the door?’ … Yup. He got me. It all starts with just one tiny snag …
And ‘Oh! Just one more hug and cuddle before I venture out for the night! Ohhhkay ..and a belly rub!’
And as for me, I like to wear my shoes. But not Toby — he enjoys eating them. He has this uncanny ability to create a chew toy out of virtually anything.
But even still, despite the holes and the smells and the endless amounts of hair – there is nothing on the planet that I would rather have than a wagging Toby by my side. His multicolored face makes every single thing worth it.
Since I’m not well-versed in the magical art of being both behind and in front of the camera at the same time, this blog post wouldn’t have been possible without the assistance of two of the most talented photographers I know – Megan Smith and Sam Haddix. Check out their work at Megan Smith Photography and Sam Haddix Photography - you won’t be disappointed!
Now you know the drill, click on to continue the journey! Check out fellow pet photographer Kelly Kennedy Coyle at Sweet Silver Photography to find out about the dogs in her life. Follow the links all the way around and you’ll end up right back where you started! Here with me and my holey tights!
Until Next Time!
Another Friday means another Project 52 post! This week’s theme was ‘Grace’. I go to the MSPCA at Nevins Farm to photograph their adoptables once a week – and this week I was lucky enough to utilize those beautiful faces as my models for this post! They were so proud to show off their grace and charisma for the camera. Cooper, the yellow lab mix with the gorgeous honey eyes, was especially eager to show me his gracefulness as he flew past me through the air with his prized tennis ball. Then there was Lucy – the goofy Labradoodle with the proud march and heroic stance…
And then I just had to pull one of my favorites from the archives! Meet Kaiser, the incredible American Bulldog with a heart as big as his head! He too, showed me his graceful Swan Lake ballerina moves during his photo session a few months back.
Now hopefully they don’t all let their grace and good looks go to their heads! Next up in the blog ring is the lovely Liz Young of Liz Young Photography in Birmingham, Alabama. Click on over to her blog to see what kind of grace is happening there! If you click all the way around you’ll end up right back where you started – with me and these gorgeous adoptables! Enjoy!
This week’s theme for Project 52 was ‘Story’. This theme was such an important reminder that as a photographer, it is so incredibly integral to create images that can do more than just sit pretty on a mantlepiece in a frame. Photography is about creating a story through one single, still moment — it’s about finding that passion and emotion in one tiny second and capturing it so that it’s story can be read boundlessly, time and time again. So in honor of this week’s fantastic assignment, I am going to keep the words to a minimum and let the photographs speak for themselves. This was my wonderful, snowy yesterday - an adventure shared with two of the world’s most beautiful canines…
Isn’t this world we live in so overwhelmingly beautiful? I can’t forget how infinitely lucky I am to be living in it for one single second. My fingers froze and my lens got all foggy -but for the ability to explore the glistening, fairytale perfection of nature with two of the sweetest canines on the planet – it was worth every minute.
Now head over to the talented Kelly Kennedy Coyle at Sweet Silver Photography to see what her story is this week! Don’t forget this is a blog ring – follow the links all the way around and you’ll end up right back here in this snowy part of the world! I’ll be waiting.