Award Winning Pet Portrait - The Portrait Masters

Well it’s the season again, every year I enter images for judging by my peers to help me learn, and inspire me to grow and get more skilled. This past July I entered the Awards & Accreditation hosted by Sue Bryce Education. Images are reviewed by a panel of 5 judges and scoring is based on a combination of: expression, connection, styling, composition, posing, lighting, technique & presentation, post-production, focus, and storytelling.

Last year I sat on pins and needles waiting for my results, and this year I just ‘let it go’ and today I happened to go through the awards and accreditation results and I PLACED in a SILVER! You can find the gallery of portrait winners here > and I submitted in the pet category. I seriously screamed and jumped up when I saw I place in the Silver.. with some amazing photographers at my side. I am so proud and honestly AMAZED to see my name in the list of winners… I may be celebrating for a few days!

Here is my winning SILVER submission along with the other 2 that won at BRONZE level.

Honestly, sill feeling super excited. Wow.

Pet Sitting, Puppy Parks and Portraits

My girlfriend is pet sitting this weekend, It’s the first time having a dog in the house since her’s crossed the rainbow bridge a few months back. We chatted about how weird it might be with a dog in the house and maybe it push her over the edge into looking for a new family member. She used to work with rescue organizations around the island and let it slip, they had already started looking. After us chatting a bit, I mentioned I would love to work outdoors with new dogs to trial a new lens I had. I am always loving the soft backgrounds so I was hoping to capture that. The biggest challenge was where to shoot, so I picked a dog park. Now, to be fair, that could have been bad news, considering there is only 1 fully enclosed dog park in Duncan, and bringing a new dog into that environment, along with equipment, oh and my own puppy to have a play day may have been a bad idea. So we booked for 330 slot, and when I arrived the park was very quiet which was perfect…. Tabitha (the pupper), Bonnie and Michael showed up just a few seconds later, and after a little social time, we got down to business.

The weather was just right, with some cloud cover, so we got to work, and Tabitha nailed it. Of course her handler (Bonnie) having worked with me before knew exactly what to do and oh yes … TREATS! ( I don’t suggest bringing too many treats into a dog park you basically become a treat beacon for everyone.)

So we worked for a little while and a few more dogs came in, but we had the chance to capture these images below of Tabitha, who’s parents have no idea this session happened so SURPRISE Michael and Michelle Sansregret! Your dog is a superstar.

Angus and Jett

Angus and Jett

Brothers from a different mother. These two were absolutely wonderful to work with. They had so much spunk and joy. Their fur momma (Carolyn) was just as sassy as these two dolls, and we all had a great time. Of course it is soo interesting and fun to meet new people but they certainly were camera ready when it was time and we happily captured these classic images.

Yes, Bring your Pet

Pet Portraits

Tips for pets (1).jpg

Let’s be honest, pets are family, and of course you want to include them in your portrait session.  Of course, including your pet does require a little extra prep,  but it is totally doable, and memorable.

Some tips I have learned to help you and your pet for a photo session.

If your pet is like mine they LOVE new people, so don’t expect to have them sit still right off the bat.  To make this work you will need to allow your pet some time to become acquainted with the new person.   Don’t be surprised if it requires some treats to bribe them with.

Always bring a leash or harness, just in case.  I always try to arrange your poses so you can hold onto your pet securely without it looking like you are hanging on for dear life.

Sessions with your pets tend to take a bit more work, so know that going in.  Give your pets the chance to take breaks, walk around and take a quick drink of water. I know there is no way to force a pet to sit still if they are thirsty, agitated, or distracted, and you will see that in the photos.  So, come prepared and with patience.

Finally, pets pick up on your energy and emotions, so be aware of how you are feeling.   Try to be relaxed as possible, and try to arrange your session in a place familiar to your pet like a favorite trail, garden or park.