I thought I’d share some of my pet photography image editing videos to show you what actually goes into editing images and that none of our dogs are perfect!
There will always be a lot of work ‘behind the scenes’ that goes into processing a photo for it to be of a high print quality and I would never provide an image straight out of the camera to a client.
Every image has to go through at least the basic standard edits to correct colour, temperature, exposure, brightness, contrast, saturation, highlights and shadow adjustments. Then there’s the additional work which can include removing distracting elements, cleaning up of backgrounds, fur, faces, marks and scars, lead removal etc.
Because people often don’t see the before images, they think “oh my dog can’t do that” when they see the final image of a beautifully posed dog, but you’d be surprised to find that often these dog’s aren’t as well behaved as you’d think and often the dogs are actually kept on lead or with the owners close by.
With the digital editing capabilities we have access to now, it means that the final image is often not what it seems.
Dealing with Harsh Sunlight
This video shows the before image straight out of camera (SOOC) and after image once processed.
Often beach shoots can be difficult if it is a bright sunny day as there is no shade to help diffuse the light. This is why I always try to shoot later in the day when the sunlight is softer. But this day the sun was still too high and fiercely bright, causing very strong highlights.
I always shoot with my subject backlit by the sun, but to get a soft light on the dog instead of harsh highlights for this shot we needed a little extra help, where I asked the owner to step in and hold a diffuser to soften the light, because the dog was posing so politely it allowed us to do so.
This before and after image video illustrates how dogs can still remain on the lead during their session and it’s actually more common, than you would think!
Let’s address the most common misconceptions as to why people think they can’t have a pet photography session…
“my dog isn’t well behaved enough”, “they’re too naughty”, “they’re untrained or unresponsive”, “they just won’t behave”, “they don’t have good recall”.
These are not actually reasons not to have a session. These can all be resolved simply by keeping your dog on lead during the session and then in your final edited images you’d never even know they were on lead.
This is another before (SOOC) and after image video where if you have any concerns about your dog’s behaviour, then sometimes it’s just safer to keep the dogs on lead. Because at the end of the day your dog’s safety is always the most important thing during a session!⠀
This image took quite a bit of work to get right, and you can see from the before and after that the images don’t quite line up as I had to make some further alterations to the background to get this one right.⠀
It’s very common due to the Breed Specific Legislation laws in Australia to have to keep your rescue Greyhound either muzzled or on lead (although the muzzled law in Victoria has just changed yay). And it’s not often I come across Greyhounds who are well behaved enough that they are allowed to be off lead. Let’s just say they don’t always have the street smarts lol.⠀
Greyhounds, I find, are often one of the hardest dog breeds to photograph! They can be difficult to get them to perk their ears up, and they are often very stubborn and just like to do their own thing. Gazza and Milly here however, are not like your typical Greyhounds! These two are the exception to the rule and sure know how to model.
This is another great example where we needed to keep Manfred, the Beagle, here on lead. Being a rescue dog and having come out of a testing lab, he is still learning the ways of the world. Although now being out and about, now free, there are still some limitations to ensure his safety and comfort so he can gain his confidence.⠀
It’s so great being able to capture an image like this where he is now running free, putting his best paw forward, happy and being able to enjoy life and the outdoors.⠀
Olivia and Taco were the lucky winners of my Styled Shoot Pet Photography competition run in conjunction with Touchdog.
I think Taco looks very dapper modelling this Touchdog checkered shirt. Make sure to check them out as they make an awesome dog clothing range and also have some great pet bed options too.
After we took off his shirt, Taco spent the whole time running circles (literally) around the park. Toward the end of the shoot, to my relief, he had finally tuckered himself out enough to have some loving cuddle time with mum and at this point he almost fell asleep.
Taco is a serious cutie and I just love this cheeky little Foxy Chihuahua Cross.
This is Taco’s Canvas Panel which was the product Olivia had won. I think she picked such a great image to display for this!
It’s such a huge honour being asked by another photographer to photograph them, so when I was approached my Mel to photograph her wedding with their dogs included I could hardly say no. Mel actually found me initially by seeing my pet photography work and I was lucky that this was a big draw card for her being interested in having me photograph her wedding. I think her friends and family found it funny when she told them she had hired a pet photographer to photograph her wedding.
Being a portrait photographer herself she has plenty of shots of her dogs, but not so many of her and her fiancee together with their dogs, so we decided to focus on this for their engagement session. This also meant we could spend a bit more time focusing on getting some great images of all of them together away from the throngs of their wedding day and without being constrained within the wedding day schedule.
Because Mel is a photographer too, her dogs feature quite a lot throughout her work and they are obviously very used to being photographed. However it become quite a common theme that the focus was often on Bindi the Pug who is always stealing the limelight where everyone would say “but what about Charlie?…” so Mel named her business What About Charlie Photography – how cute is that.
I loved working with these two, they are such a beautiful couple and their wedding was just so full of love, they will make a beautiful family as well.
When Michelle booked her session, I was surprised to find out that her dog, Gemma, an adorable ten year old Spoodle, wasn’t actually her dog, but she may as well be for the amount that Michelle loves her.
Michelle is actually a house/pet sitter, so Gemma belongs to their close family friends, and for the last 5 years, Michelle has been been looking after her a couple of times a year. Recently Michelle’s family lost their own dog, so for Michelle, Gemma is the next best thing.
Gemma’s owners were unaware that Michelle had organised a photo shoot with her so not only could she get some lovely images for herself but also to give the owners as a surprise gift. I think they are very lucky to have Michelle looking after Gemma when they are away as she couldn’t be with anyone who loves her more.
Elmo is a very lucky boy. He was adopted from the RSPCA by Belinda and now he’s better known as Elmo – The Social Media Hound. It appears that this little guy gets around, Belinda takes him everywhere as these two are inseparable and it’s turned him around from being a shy, scared dog to being confident, happy and loving everyone. I can’t believe it when such beautiful dogs are found as strays as he was, with no collar, no microchip and no history. He had to be re-taught basic commands and house trained, as an adult dog, he had also never been walked on a lead before and 6 months passed before Belinda saw him play with a toy for the first time.
Thanks to Belinda’s love and care he has blossomed into the cutest, friendliest and happiest dog ever. So much so that people will always stop to approach him on the street, wanting to pat and cuddle him. He has such a positive effect on people that they always smile when walking past. Elmo is also very clever as Belinda has taught him to roll over, tilt his head and shake hands.
It was a pleasure to photograph these two and they were actually selected from a large group of people to take part in my promo video which you can watch on my home page here.
Mocha may be a miniature chocolate Labradoodle but he definitely has a huge personality. He is your typical boy dog, a boisterous boy who likes to do what he wants to do. He loves to play and loves both people and other dogs so he is always providing a lot of entertainment for his two lovely mum’s Linda and Heather.
I met these lovely ladies through my own dog walking and Peanut happened to really take a liking to Mocha and they would play together in the park.
Linda says: “Mocha is our whole world. He has brought so much love and joy to my whole family. He is much loved and adored and is a complete part of our lives.”
I think it’s obvious from these photos that he is very loved and this is a very happy family unit, that revolves around this special boy.
I photographed Jess the Poodle and Lola the Kelpie Cross at the Brighton Beach Boxes. It was a super windy afternoon, where we were dodging the rain, but this meant we could have fun with Jess’ ears blowing in the wind and gave us some nice moody skies.
Emma thought it was time to have her two babies photographed, especially seeing as Jess is getting older now. While Jess was untrained to sit and stay, we still managed to get some great shots of her while roaming around the rocks and running and playing in the sand. Lola on the other hand was much easier to command, however was very excitable at being at the beach and would like to just let loose every now and then.
This is what I really enjoy about these sessions, letting your dogs be able to just let loose and have some time to play and investigate in between the shooting. Often this can also lead to getting those great natural shots of them just being themselves.
Emma got her two favourite images made into Stone Panels to display in her home. I think these look really great, and this product works especially well with beach scenes with it’s natural rustic finish.
It’s not everyday you get to photograph a gorgeous model with her two beautiful dogs! You might recognise Zoe from the Mitsubishi ASX commercial on T.V., she’s also been modeling in various fashion shows recently during Melbourne Fashion Week, after coming back from a month in Germany on a modeling assignment. I remember thinking to myself when I was photographing her, this girl looks just like Jennifer Hawkins, she is beautiful and when I asked her what she does, I was like, well no wonder!
For Zoe her pets mean everything to her and she has a very close bond with them both… “Being an only child my pets have been like my siblings. My dogs mean so much to me”. Having just got the newest edition to her family, Marlo, Zoe thought it was the right time to get some professional photos of the two of them and especially to capture Marlo as a puppy.
Zoe’s tells how her older Pomeranian cross, Sugar, is an extremely intelligent and loving girl. Her favorite trait about Sugar is her ability to understand human emotion and express her own emotions. Marlo follows in Sugars footsteps, he is a very intelligent and sweet little boy who loves cuddles and playing.
Marlo literally was a ball of fluff when I met him during our shoot and when I saw him again at our viewing, he looked like a completely different dog! I was amazed how much he had changed in such a short amount of time.
I first met Sharron and her two Schnoodles Asha and Zarli when she participated in one of our commercial shoots for the Friendly Dog Collars products. I was so impressed by her dogs and their perfect modeling abilities in our shoot that I convinced Sharron to book her own pet photography session with me so I could spend some more time creating some wonderful images of her two girls.
Asha and Zarli’s pet photography session took place along the Maribynong River and surrounding park and wetlands area. It’s a fantastic spot and on this day it was made even more special by the rain and moody weather. We actually timed it really badly as about 10 minutes into the session it started pouring down. We had to run for cover, and wait it out until we could get back out and continue shooting, however Asha and Zarli weren’t phased by the rain in fact I think they enjoyed the session more because of it. So the dogs having had been looking lovely and fluffy after just being groomed at the start of the session ended up looking more like drowned rats.
Danielle and Rory share a very close relationship. Not only are they friends but they also work together as an animal assisted therapy dog team providing counselling treatments to private clients meaning anyone who sees Danielle will have the chance to meet and work with Rory as well. This means they have to have a very trusting relationship and solid bond. Danielle has done extensive training with Rory through the Alpha Canine Professional Group and Lead the Way and now Rory plays a very important role in helping to treat her psychotherapy clients. It’s been very interesting finding out how having treatments with a therapy dog present can help clients through their treatments and also help Danielle learn more about her clients.
Danielle really wanted to capture Rory’s happy friendly spirit, so we spent the afternoon at the Brighton Dog Beach, a new outing for Rory who had us all laughing through out the entire session. Rory absolutely LOVED the beach and had the best time during her session, she basically ran a muck until she collapsed and then got her second wind and was off again. I think the beach will now become a regular outing for Rory.
Danielle and Matt invested in a canvas panel collage which we all felt was the best way to tell the story of Rory’s session capturing her day out at the beach and will make a beautiful statement art piece to hang on their wall.
I will always have a soft spot for Dachshunds, as my first dog as a kid was a long haired Dachshund named Jessie, who I have very fond memories of. Emily was very lucky to receive Mr Pickles the Dachshund as a gift for her birthday. Best birthday gift ever! Her sister sought out a reputable breeder specifically to buy her a Dachshund puppy who they flew over from Queensland.
On top of this gift Emily was also the lucky winner of the IDPet pampered pooch gift package which included a photo session with myself. Check out Mr Pickle’s new gears, custom jacket and collar won as part of the package. I think Mr Pickle’s is going to have to get a bit more used to wearing cute outfits however as I suspect he will be sporting more than just the dinosaur outfit and custom gears in the near future!
I have a new groomer and doggy daycare centre literally 5 mins around the corner from me, Poochie Palace run by Laura and her King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, Bailey, who I had the pleasure of photographing. Finally I got to shoot a pet photography session in my local area and walking trails which used to be the old historic stock route in Kensington Banks. I love this area, it’s so beautiful with so many park options and tracks for walking all leading down to the river, where you can walk for miles. Not that Peanut’s little legs can walk for miles, but the option is there. It’s kind of like one big maze and it’s not uncommon to get completely lost in this area, but this became Bailey’s backdrop for some fun photos. It was perfect timing with the ground covered in leaves which were all cleared away in the days following, so I was very happy we did this session when we did. Have I mentioned before I love shooting in Autumn haha.