Photographing Dogs

February 19, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

So the last blog post was fairly heavy, and, unfortunately, writing another entry after that has been a bit of a fraught experience: What else can I say that will feel important when compared with that? It's a hard act to follow. It is that heaviness, and the desire not to erase and forget but to move forward, that propels this next entry.  

I want to take a turn, and talk about a direction my work has gone in for the past year and half: photographing dogs.  When I moved to Montana, I didn't really have any experience with dogs, and volunteered at my local animal shelter specifically to learn more about them.  I knew, deep down, that I was meant to have dogs, but they still scared me a little.  It didn't take long for that fear to melt away, and for my household to expand by two pups.  They are wonderful creatures, and have enriched my life immensely.  

Because I am around dogs all the time now, I have fallen in love with photographing them.  I love to get their personalities, and shoot them in a way that really shows who they are.  Since they fit so neatly into the Montana lifestyle, I have been able to fold this newfound passion into my more traditional work of photographing people in their environment.  

But photographing dogs isn't easy, and you have to love them to be able to get that perfect photo.  Much like children, the best photos are when you allow them to play, and just have your camera ready to get that "moment."  Patience, treats, and a squeaky ball are the tricks of the trade, whether you are shooting outdoors or in a studio setting.  

I am currently struggling with the idea of having a pet photography business that functions as an offshoot of my main business, but is separate. The idea of compartmentalizing my photography interests has always frustrated me, but more and more professionals give that as their main advice.  Most have two or more sites, businesses, etc., and maintain them all.  The part I am struggling with is the idea that my work in these different areas is somehow different from each other.  I look at my landscapes, portraits, environmental shots, and weddings, and see the same ethos.  In my mind, having them stay together makes a richer image of me as a photographer.

Perhaps this is misguided, and having everything together is confusing?  I don't know.  This is all part of a larger conversation about how to set up a successful photography business. When I figure out how to, I will be happy to write about it.  For now, pups, ladies, landscapes, and families will share space on my walls, in my portfolio, and in my artist's heart.  

Harkening back to my last post, photographing dogs is a sure way to beat back the fog of despair.  For this, I am so grateful to all of the pups I have worked with this past year, and will continue to work with in the future.  


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