tips for dog owners

6 tips for choosing the perfect location for your pet photography session

"Where should we take our photos?"

This question comes up all the time, and the possibilities are endless.  Here are six things to consider when choosing a location for your pet photography session.

1) Safety - First and foremost, the location must be dog-friendly and safe. 

2) Meaning - Is there is a special place where you enjoy spending time with your dog?  Do you routinely play fetch at the neighborhood park?  Or maybe you visit the same dog-friendly patio for happy hour every Thursday?  Including your dog's favorite hang-out into your session make the final images more memorable.

3) Comfort - Has your dog never met a stranger?  Does he love exploring new places?  Or is your dog a homebody who prefers a quiet environment away from other people?  We want your dog to have fun during the session, and that means choosing a location where they will be at ease.  Also for older dogs who don't have as much energy as they used to, we'll choose a setting to minimize walking.

4) Timing - Depending on the time of year, time of day, weather, and popularity of a specific venue, some locations will be better than others.  For example, the lighting outdoors is most flattering in the hour after sunrise and hour before sunset, so I advise against holding a session in a wide-open field at noon on a sunny day.  Another example, I always check event calendars to avoid holding sessions at a popular park when a race or festival is scheduled.

5) Style - What 'feel' do you want the final images to have?  An urban scene with skylines, graffiti walls, and architectural details?  A natural setting such as rustic field, park, or lake?  Maybe you prefer a lifestyle session using your own home and yard as a backdrop?  Or the formal style of an indoor studio?

6) End in mind - Finally, consider how you will display your images.  For example, if you want to document a "day in the life" of your dog in a photo album, a session done in your home, yard, and around the block would best showcase your dog's everyday routine.  Or if you want to display a framed print in your traditionally-decorated family room, choosing a park setting may be a better choice than a graffiti wall background.

Examples of photographs taken in an urban setting:

black and white dog in urban setting
rescue dog in houston discovery green
dog pictures with houston skyline
urban photo session with dog in houston with tiled wall
yorkie dog on houston sidewalk

Examples of photographs taken in a natural setting:

dog on sandy florida beach
hunting dog in texas field with fence
two white dogs in bluebonnets
brittany spaniel by a texas pond

Examples of photographs taken at home or around the block:

in home pet photography session houston texas
goldendoodle walking in houston heights sidewalk
backyard dog photo session by the pool houston
golden retriever in rice military townhouse houston

There's no right or wrong answer to choosing a location for your pet photography session - it completely depends on you, your dog, and our vision.  You also don't need glamorous surroundings - sometimes it just takes a little creativity to turn a drab location into something spectacular.  By putting a little thought into choosing a location, we can plan a delightful experience that will result in meaningful custom artwork.

Ready to talk about the perfect location to photograph your furbaby?  Let's chat!

Worried your dog won't behave for a photo shoot? Don't be!

"My dog will never behave off leash." 

This is one of the main concerns I hear from pet owners, and I'm here to tell you that's perfectly normal.

"But all the dogs I see on your website are not on a leash - what gives?!" 

I'm about to let you in on a secret, and it's called...

...(drumroll please)...

Photoshop! 

You might be surprised to know that most of the dogs I photograph remain on a leash for the entire session.  Your pup's safety is my top priority, so unless we're in a fenced-in area or your dog is super-obedient, we will likely remain on leash. 

Here's an example of Photoshop magic: the following SOOC (straight out of camera) photograph of my Mackenzie was taken on a popular hike and bike trail. 

Since the leash was small and the background simple, I was able to remove the leash and person from the final image, shown here:

dachshund on bridge

Basic leash removal is a complimentary service I provide to my clients.  This works best with simple, neutral collars and leashes (not harnesses).  In some cases, the leash is part of the story, and it makes sense to leave it in the final image.   

So don't worry if your dog is not the poster child for obedience.  That is completely normal and I promise we can still get some amazing photographs!

Ready to have your (perhaps-not-so-obedient) dog photographed?  Let's talk!

Falling off the wagon? Get back on with your dog's help

Now that January is almost over, how are you doing on your New Year's resolutions?  Right on track?  Or did you just scarf down an entire batch of cookies while wasting 3 hours of your life watching The Bachelor?  Wait, that's just me?!?  Well, for those of us needing a pep talk, here are four ways your dog can help you get back on track with your resolutions:

dachshund on red wagon

Lose weight

It's the most common resolution...  While the gym is still uber crowded, why not dust off your pup’s leash and hit the pavement instead?  I always enjoy the high from getting fresh air and exercise.  For days when the weather doesn't cooperate, some indoor fetch or tug of war is good too.

Reduce stress

Years ago I read that the simple act of petting your dog helps reduce stress.  Have you tried it?  It totally works!  Next time you’re having a bad day, take a deep breath, snuggle up with your pooch (bonus points if you actually get down on the floor) and give him/her a good ear scratch or belly rub.  It’s a win-win!

Live your life

Dogs don't typically have to balance work and life like humans, but we can still take notes from our pup’s behavior.  When your dog chases a squirrel, or dozes off on the couch, or is fixated on the treat in your hand – are they thinking about anything else?  Heck no!  They are focused and in the moment.  So when you’re spending time with your friends and family and you get distracted by work or TV or social media, try to think like a dog: concentrate on what's important and live life to the fullest!

Support charity

There are many awesome organizations and volunteers improving the lives of animals.  Consider volunteering at a local rescue group, or fostering an adoptable pet.  Who knows, you may end up with a new best friend!

What are your resolutions?  Is your dog helping you achieve them?