Welcome to my pet photography blog - featuring the most adorable cats and dogs in Denver!
Brussels Griffon for the win!
A Brussels Griffon won Best in Show at the National Dog Show this past weekend. That reminded me of Okie the Brussels Griffon I photographed a few years ago. Isn’t he handsome?
I have the useless talent of predicting the Best in Show winner almost every year. My method is basically to go with my gut. It isn’t very scientific but this year I correctly chose the Brussels Griffon. I suspect I was influenced by my experience with cute, little Okie.
It's been said that Tucker's fur resembles owl feathers. I'm pretty sure he's not part bird but he certainly has one of the most eye-catching coats I've ever seen. Tucker's teddy bear face says Terrier or Schnauzer to me. He was adopted from Animal Rescue of the Rockies. One of the many reasons I love rescue dogs is you never know exactly what kind of awesomeness you'll find. His family says he's a sweet lovebug who enjoys belly rubs and snuggling. Another unusual thing about Tucker is that he's only 9 months old but he often acts like an old soul. His family jokes that he's aging backwards, like Benjamin Button.
We took Tucker's photos at Silo Park, one of my favorite locations. This boardwalk is scenic well into the winter. Check out these photos from late November and you'll see what I mean. It's perfect for dog portraits, even after the leaves fall.
A common concern is people wanting to keep their dogs leashed for an outdoor photo shoot. That's actually smart because, in addition to leash laws, dogs are much safer on leash. There are so many distractions at the park; squirrels, bunnies, bikes, other dogs and even disgusting things like goose poo. I totally get it because my dog is the most distracted of them all. I literally keep him on a short leash so he can't get into trouble. Even though it may appear that dogs are off-leash in my photos, it's usually because I've removed them in post-production. Here are a few examples of leashes I've edited out of photos.
Unfortunately, there's no magic leash-removal button in Photoshop. Since it always looks more natural if a photo doesn't need excessive retouching, I've developed some tricks to hide the leash in the first place. One way is to position the leash so it falls down the back of the dog and along the ground. This has the added benefit of hiding the dog tags. Since the leash attaches to the tag ring, when you place it in back, the dog's rabies tag is out of view. Another tip is to remove the tags and put them in your pocket until we're done taking photos. I'll walk you through all these tips at your photo shoot. All you need to remember now is that is the leash and tags can be hidden.
When I'm retouching, I also remove other background distractions, such as this wooden pole.
If a dog is getting photographed with its family, it's even easier. I simply have them sit on the leash. That way they can pet and interact with their dog without having the end of the leash in their hands. In these photos, Alice's family is sitting on her leash. If a squirrel or other distraction had appeared, she would have be safely tethered.
Zahra the border collie and her person were both head-turners as we took photos around their stylish neighborhood. At 11 weeks old, Zahra is just as smart as she is cute. She's in training to be a therapy dog for people with anxiety. I have no doubt she will be a huge success and help many people!
We got special permission to photograph Zahra in her condo's courtyard. Once inside the walled garden, she raced around at warp speed, tried to eat the lavender and even fell in the pond. Gee, I have no idea why dogs aren't normally allowed in that garden... But seriously, she didn't permanently harm anything with her soft little puppy paws. She was just super excited to be off leash and explore.
Of all the features in the garden, my eye went to a wood shed door that had been perfectly weathered. I love its simplicity and how it complements Zahra's fur. The photo with Zahra looking up is a custom framed 16x20 print. The photo with her person is a 24x30 canvas wrap with a float frame. Both of the frames have a rustic wood grain that complements the wood in the photo. We also included her person's favorite bike and boots in the photos.
Just for fun, here are some questions that Zahra’s person answered about her:
Breed: Border Collie
Favorite food: Baked salmon
Favorite toy: Her squeaky chipmunk!
Best trick: Responding immediately to "Go find your toy!" and bringing it back to play
Most annoying habit: Eating the rug
If Zahra had a job, what would it be? She already has one! She's in training to be a therapy dog helping people with anxiety, and comes to work daily with me.
If Zahra was a superhero, what would her special power be? She would be able to control the minds of both humans and dogs just using her eyes.
Extra-curricular activity that nobody would guess? People-watching at coffee shops
Nicknames? Z-Bear, Wiggle Sauce, Snuggle Butt
Zahra had some ideas of her own where she should be photographed. One of her favorite spots is the bottom shelf of the coffee table so, of course, we took photos of her there.
It's an exciting day when a puppy joins his new family. I was lucky enough to document Desmond on his second day home. Like most puppies, he was either racing around at the speed of light or sound asleep. Puppies are either on or off!
The family's girls are at a perfect age for a new pup because they are definitely old enough to remember Desmond's homecoming and help with his training. It was a privilege to watch them bond with the sweet pup. I hope they cherish these photos when they are in college and Desmond is a sweet old dog.