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Friday, March 30, 2012

what got buried | southern ontario pet photographer

Welcome to another edition of What Got Buried! I try to post daily over on the Happy Tails Facebook page, so if you want to have your nose to the ground on all the most up to date news and nonsense, high-tail it over there! It's a fun place and I would love it if you joined the pack.

Here's a quick peek at what's been happening at Happy Tails HQ. What you won't see is all the behind the scenes activity I have going on right now. I have a few special shoots coming up that I'm really excited about and I am mulling over putting together my first ever vendor booth for an upcoming event. It is a lot of work, so I haven't committed ... yet.

Let's kick things off with my Chloe, snoozing on the couch the day after Daylight Savings earlier this month. While the rest of us lost an hour, her marathon napping ability helped her make it through the day with no noticeable side effects. The best bonus about moving the clocks ahead is more time to shoot in the afternoons with the soft, glowing light that I just love! Bring on spring!
I also met sweet Sophie in March. Her furrowed brow just kills me. She might look perpetually worried, but she is a happy little thing.
I think pink is definitely Sophie's colour!
I also spent time photographing adoptable cats at the Burlington Humane Society. It breaks my heart when I have to photograph an animal for a second time like seven-month-old Fernando. He was adopted, declawed (I won't get into my thoughts on this except to say that I don't agree with the practice) and then returned shortly after because he was "misbehaving" likely due to sore paws.
Adopting an animal is a huge commitment! If you know anyone thinking about adding to their family, please share this link to this great article about what to consider before adopting.

I also met Cocoa while I was there. She was happy to be out of her crate and took the opportunity to enjoy some fresh tap water — it's better than bowl water don't you know!
And finally, I dug into the archives to share this photo of scruffy Chloe, a wheaten puppy. The lens I used for this shot gives it a fun look — isn't she adorable?
With the longer days and warmer temperatures, now is the time to book a session if you are considering it! Just drop me an email or give me a call — contact info is available on the Contact tab up at the top there. I would love to meet your furry family member!

Hope you all have a great weekend!


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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

8 tips for great pet photographs | southern ontario pet photographer

I was honored to write a guest column for the inaugural newsletter for Lifestyle Pet Care, a great local pet services business run by my friend Linda. Not only is Linda a huge animal lover (I photographed her rescue dog Nikki and cats Toby and Bear), but she also volunteers as a dog walker at the Burlington Humane Society. I was asked to share my tips for taking great pet photographs, which I am now posting for everyone to read. The article is below — I hope it inspires you to get your camera out and photograph your four-leggers!

Pets are beloved family members and with their cute faces, just plain fun to photograph. Unlike humans, however, pets don’t understand that you’re trying to take their picture, and don’t always take direction very well. Here are a few easy tips to help you get the best photographs of your pet — regardless of what kind of camera you have. Just remember: be patient and have fun!

Get comfortable
To get natural, candid images, photograph your pet where they feel comfortable and relaxed, whether it’s your yard or a favourite spot in your house. Make sure you choose a time of day when your pet is cooperative — right before dinner or a walk can prove difficult!

Use bribery
Have a few of your dog’s favourite treats in hand or use your cat’s favourite toy to get their attention. Surprising your pet with a noise  — squeaky toys work great — can often result in a cute head tilt.

Focus on the eyes
The eyes are the most expressive part of your pet, so when in doubt, focus on those soulful beauties and try to get them tack sharp.
Get low
Photograph your pet from their level to create images with a connection.

Use natural light
Avoid dark rooms and other low-light situations. Take your pet outside or place them by a window.
Show your pet’s character
You know your pet better than anyone, so photograph Fido or Fluffy so their personality really shines. If you have a dog that loves to chase his tail, capture that! If you have a cat that likes to sleep upside-down, be ready with your camera to photograph it.
Contain them
If you have an active pet — especially a rambunctious puppy or playful kitten — try containing them. Put them in a box or laundry basket, anything that will keep them in one place long enough to grab a shot.

Increase your shutter speed
Dogs and cats are always on the move. To get them in action and prevent blurry photos increase the shutter speed on your DSLR camera. If you are using a point-and-shoot, use the “action” setting.

If you have any photography-related questions, please ask away in the comment section!


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Friday, March 16, 2012

treat time | southern ontario pet photographer

It feels like spring out there, so it's time to get cleaning! And that includes your four-leggers too! If your dog needs a good scrub, I'm sharing a great coupon for 50% off a self-serve dog wash at Oliver Pets & Co. It can be used at the Burlington and Oakville locations, so it's for those of you living locally (sorry everyone else!).

Just print and take your pup in for some tub time!

 Have a great weekend — enjoy the nice weather!


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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

charlie | burlington ontario pet photographer

I've posted a few photos of Charlie in previous entries, but it's about time this lovable giant gets blogged about properly.

Charlie is a great pyrenees, although his caregiver Heather is sure he's part part polar bear. His soft, fluffy fur is white as snow, and he's pretty huge. I often joke about wanting to smuggle my clients' dogs home with me in my camera bag, and this holds true for Charlie. But I would have to get a much bigger camera bag first!

I was smitten the moment I saw him. There is a soulfulness about Charlie that belies the trauma he has experienced.
Charlie's story is one of tenacity. His exact age is unknown, but he is a senior dog for his breed. He moves slowly due to the onset of arthritis and he is almost fully blind. It was in this condition that he was dumped in a marsh and left to die.

But Charlie is a fighter.

No one knows how long he was alone in that marsh fending for himself — although those that came to care for him say it could have been many months. Happily, Charlie was rescued and put up for adoption through Great Pyrenees Rescue. It was there that Heather, her husband and four children found him.

"When we first arrived to meet Charlie, the kids fell all over him and walked him around," she says. "You almost didn't notice his condition, he was so mellow and loveable. Almost. Under his thick coat of fur, he only weighed 70 lb (about 30 lb underweight). You could feel every rib and his backbone stuck out prominently."
Since he's been in his new home, Charlie has gained 12 lb. Heather says he loves to sleep in front of the fireplace and everyone adores him. "I hope he understands that he is with us forever, and he will never have to suffer again a day in his life," she says.
Even though Charlie is almost completely blind, he is very aware. There were many times during our shoot that I totally forgot about his lack of vision — he just seemed so present. He was happy sniffing away at all the smells during our slow walk through the forest, and there is just a serenity about his presence that is very calming.

Although I was hoping for a blanket of snow on the ground — our session took place in February! — I love the golden tones and light in Charlies images.

As a pet photographer, I always try to capture the unique personality of each animal I meet. And I think Charlie's images are some of my all-time favourites. He seems like an old soul, one that could teach us so much in life, and yet you can tell he enjoys each new moment, each new smell, each new hug from his family.

Kudos to Heather and her awesome kids for adopting a senior dog. He may not move as fast as a puppy, but he truly is the best first dog a family could ever hope for.



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Friday, March 2, 2012

adoptables | burlington pet photographer

Here is a quick look at some of the faces I recently had the pleasure of meeting at the Burlington Humane Society. I love my visits there — it's like pet therapy times six or 10 or 15, depending on how many animals I photograph!
I also met Jackson, a lab being fostered through The Dog Rescuers Inc., yet another fantastic local organization dedicated to saving dogs and placing them in loving homes. Jackson is a loveable goof who has a few food allergies that can be managed through diet — no medication is required. I just love his pink nose. If you are interested in adopting him, please contact The Dog Rescuers!
Hope everyone has a tail-wagging good weekend!


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