Welcome to my pet photography blog - featuring the most adorable cats and dogs in Denver!
In a blink of an eye, Ian the Irish Red and White Setter grew up into a magnificent dog! I photographed him when he was 11 weeks, when he was an adolescent, and again for his first birthday. He's such an athletic, noble-looking dog!
Ian recently passed the Canine Good Citizen test. Look at this perfect example of loose leash walking.
If you missed Ian's puppy photos, you can see them on my blog here.
"I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden." - Ruth Stout
Prince the Peruvian Long Haired Guinea Pig went outdoors during his photo shoot. How could we stay indoors when the blossoms were so breathtaking?
When he was adopted, this cutie's name was Prince. His nickname soon became "Prince Prince" and that's stuck as his new name. That's a much better name than what I gave my dog. His nutty behavior earned him the nickname "Nut" which morphed to "Nut Nut." Prince Prince sounds much more regal!
Indoors and out, Prince stayed close to his person because he hasn't been feeling so hot. He has an inoperable tumor and, at 5 years old, he's nearing the end of his too-short life.
It's hard to believe this was the view in my front yard in late March. I've threatened to cut my blue spruce down because it has outgrown its space but it makes a perfect backdrop to my neighbor's crabapple. Looks like it's staying another year so I can take more photos next spring.
Meet Leo! This sweet Schnoodle (Schnauzer/poodle mix) was adopted from Denver Dumb Friends League. He was initially wary of strangers but he's really warmed up over the years – thanks to his new, loving family. He was very charming and handsome for his photo shoot!
Here are some fun questions Leo's family answered about him:
Breed: part Schnauzer, part Poodle
Favorite food: Steak or anything prepared by his human people
Favorite toy: Any stuffed toy that can be pulled apart
Best trick: Bringing every leaf in the backyard into the house
Most annoying habit: Saying hello to anyone walking by the house - exuberantly!
If Leo had a job, what would it be? He'd be a professor. He has bushy eyebrows and a beard. He just needs a sweater vest and pipe.
If Leo was a superhero, what would his special power be? He would be "Shadow Boy" and his special power would be following you wherever you go.
Extra-curricular activity that nobody would guess? He is an expert in surveillance and protection.
Leo's photo shoot was a 2016 Father's Day gift certificate that got redeemed in time for Father's Day 2017. Not a bad idea since it covers two Father's Day gifts in one!
If you're in the market for something special for Mother's Day or Father's Day this spring, keep me in mind. I'd be happy to design you a custom gift certificate and/or photograph your pets in time to make photo gifts.
How cute is Beauchamp, the Australian Shepherd puppy? This little guy joined a family with two cats. I wish I could have watched the drama unfold as they met each other. Reportedly, Beau tries to get the cats to play with him. Oh, the endless entertainment!
People are often surprised when I don't use treats to pose their dog. Dog cookies might seem like a shortcut to a great dog portrait but, depending on how food-motivated your dog is, it can backfire. Once dogs get snacks on their mind it's hard to get them to snap out of their food trance.
Here's a photo to demonstrate how my dog, Murphy, acts when there's food involved. I call this his "vulture pose" and it's one of the reasons why I don't use treats when photographing dogs. Technically, Murphy is doing a "sit-stay" but he's craning his neck forward to get closer to the goodies. It's not the most photogenic posture! Treats can also produce less than desirable facial expressions. When my (late) yellow lab saw treats he got a vacant look in his eyes and started drooling. I honestly think he lost IQ points when food appeared!
Another reason not to use treats is the potential for jumping. If a dog wants something really bad, they may just go for it. In this photo Murphy is actually jumping at a stick in my husband's hand but you get the idea. Treats and toys can be "too interesting" and result in dogs sniffing around my camera bag to find more fun stuff. And I'm pretty sure you don't want a photo of your dog with his face in my camera bag!
So, if treats don't work, how do I get a dog to connect with the camera? I start with praise and sweet talk instead. "Who's a good boy?" or "Wanna go for a walk?" usually produce natural expressions.
Rules are meant to be broken
My "no treat" rule can be broken for dogs that aren't nutty about treats. If a dog is shy or older, treats can work wonders to build trust. When I meet with folks for their planning session, I ask questions about what motivates their dog. If I discern that their dog won't go completely bonkers for treats, I'll bring some to their photo shoot. In the end, it comes down to my intuition. Each dog is different so I adapt to what is best for them.