Pet Photography – My Fascination My Obsession


My journey with dog photography started about 10 years ago. I had been a part of the flyball community since 2009 and had loved to take photos of pretty much anything that caught my eye. This interest spread to the very difficult attempt of capturing running dogs in the flyball lanes. Since most flyball tournaments are held in arenas, the lighting is very difficult to work with when the dogs are typically moving very quickly. Flash is not allowed during flyball races so you had to get a bit creative when shooting. I normally only had decent shots when it was brighter outside and the building had a lot of windows.

Moving shots in flyball were always dark since flash or lighting wasn't allowed.

When I first started out, I used auto settings like Action, Auto aperture and others. I had a bit of a mind block on attempting to shoot manually but like other things, I eventually got over that with a bit of help from other photographers and learned more about how to use my camera to work for me and not just let it settle on automatic settings. I really enjoyed taking photos and was always thrilled to share them with others in the flyball community. I could sometimes take 3000 photos over a weekend and would spend many hours culling thru them and cleaning them up to the best of my ability. I was always pleased to see the reaction and the happiness of my fellow flyballers when they were able to see their dog in some great positions, particularly when earning a new title.

Puppies were easy to pose.

I was constantly trying new things and trying to improve on my skills capturing dogs in action. As I collected a few more dogs of my own, I started to get involved and dabbled in more dog sports like disc, rally-0, agility and currently SDDA scent detection. I love the many different breeds and behaviours of both the dog and the handlers. During the early years, I was most definitely NOT a professional but constantly attempted to improve my skills.

Very dark photos and rarely sharp in the beginning. They were still loved!

During all of this there is, of course, my bird and wild life photography. I like to say Birds are my passion, wildlife my favourite and pet photography is my fascination and obsession. My skills have been fine tuned and directed to manual only setting through my journey capturing wildlife and birds initially as I spent most of my time capturing photos to print and hang in various locations.

A recent favorite wildlife photo.

For the last 6 years or so, I’ve gotten involved heavily in SDDA Scent Detection trialing and have met so many fantastic people and dogs. I wanted to attempt to capture their moments and have the pleasure of being able to watch them do their amazing searches. The bigger titles and the beginners have always been great fun to catch photos of. Thanks to the many fantastic hosts who invite me to take photos of their participants, I’ve been able to start to hone my skills to include a wider variety of types of photos. Recently I haven’t been able to photograph the interior searches due to low lighting and not being allowed to use flash but I’m hoping to have a solution for that this year with a constant soft light enhancing the areas some.

With the increase of sport dog photography, I began to start to charge for the photos, always keeping my costs fair and low. With the need to purchase better and more equipment, it was unfortunately necessary and now I’ve begun to do full pet photography as part of my business (graphic design). I'd really love to be able to buy my own little house one day and I hope this will help me get there. I’ve taken several courses and have self taught myself through many paid for and free online tutorials and course and I’m currently taking an outdoor pet photography course with That Photography Spot, an incredible pet photographer in the UK. I plan to continue to evolve and learn the many aspects of pet photography and hope to have the space for an indoor studio one day.

I shared this photo with the UK group and people freaked out about the railways. Only shoot on inactive ones!!

There are those who think the camera takes the photo and what you end up with is because of the type of camera and lens you use but it’s the whole picture, no pun intended. Developing an eye for positions, lighting, using the right settings and understanding dogs behaviour and tricks to get that perfect photo are only a few of the actual reasons that final photo is perfect! The right camera can give you better sharpness and more pixels but you can get the sharpness with the right settings and correct use of a camera. I started out with a Canon Rebel T5i, to a Canon 7D Mark II to a Canon R5 and various lenses in between.

The steady camera, lighting, edit and everything else about this photo I love.

Trust me! Pet photography is NOT easy!

First of all, I shoot from the ground most times and I’m riddled with arthritis but I don’t care.

Dogs are just that, dogs. They will do what they want to do in the end and not always what you want.

Sigh, they are great at missing my frame!

Some dogs can’t be off leash so leashes have to be edited out.

It's not hard to do when the colors are right. No hot pinks or oranges!

Weather can play a factor and tongues can be super long!

Setting up a pose can be fun for both the handler and the photographer!

I don’t always like to do people but I will when the handler wants to be included.
The facial expressions can be quite interesting.

Cats?? OMG don’t get me started!

Yep, those cats.

Horses? Yes they are big. Ears back, flicking tails, nervousness and oh so much more!

Halters, ropes and terrible backgrounds (great background on this one!).

Multiple dogs? Ever wonder why they cost more?
They add a lot of time trying to get them to pose together and behave.

When you get it right, it's magical.

Multiple dogs fight!

Most dogs love me. Too much! LOL

I make pretty funny noises too and they need to find out what it is.

Lighting can be sooo wrong.

Accessories go wrong.

Then there's the shots you love.

And the ones you can't believe happened.

The ones you know will leave a lasting memory.

And the ones that tug at my own heartstrings.

It's those amazing shots I love to catch that keep me moving forward and learning more!

I can't wait to meet you and your loved ones!

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