I met Bella, Berkeley and Fisher's mom last October at Barktoberfest. It was my first time photographing at an event and I had a blast. I had no idea that spending a few hours at this event would have such an impact on my photography career. This was one of the first steps that helped me get to where I am today. I owe a debt of gratitude to Berkeley pictured below.
Berkeley's mom loved this picture of her. She told me recently that it's still one of her favorites of him. If you follow me on Instagram you've seen photos of Berkeley already. (btw if you don't follow me, click that link and please do! I tend to post most on Instagram these days.) Berkeley was sitting on a bale of hay in the shot and I got low so the cloudy sky was in the background. There are things I would do differently if I had the chance to take this shot again but I believe it is because of this photo that I got to know Berkeley's mom.
Berkeley's mom is Courtney and she is a dog trainer with Off Leash Dog Training. In November she hired me to take photos of Berkeley and her 2nd dog Bella, a pit mix. At the time, I was just getting started in the complex and difficult dog photography world. I'd discovered how hard dog photography was. I loved it but translating that into quality images was challenging. Getting the opportunity to photograph a dog trainer's dogs was truly a gift. I was able to work on my craft with dogs that sat still. That is by no means a requirement for me to photograph your dogs but when I was new to dog photography, that was certainly a huge bonus.
Here are two of the better photographs from that first session.
I got a text from Courtney late winter/early spring that she was getting a puppy and she wanted me to photograph him once she got him. At this point I knew I was headed to Barkelona, the dog photography workshop so I scheduled the photo session for right after I got back. I knew I'd learn so much at the workshop, I wanted to be able to use that knowledge the 2nd time I did photos for her.
I met Fisher when he was just 8 weeks old. Courtney commented that I seemed much more confident at the this photo session and she was right, I was.
Confession - choosing just a few photos here was hard! I actually have a sample photo album I show to clients and they are all of Fisher from this photo session! A couple of weeks after our photo session. I got together with Courtney to reveal all of the photos to her. At the end she looked at me and said, I want you to take photos of Bella and Berkeley again. I can see improvement in your work and I'd like more photos of them.
We scheduled our session the day after Berkeley was going to the salon. :) What resulted were some of my favorite photos to date. There are still things that I would do differently if I got the chance to do this again. One of them would be to use a different lens. I've developed a love/hate (and actually more on the hate side) with my 24-70mm lens. Unfortunately when I got it, I was so new to photography I thought the problems I was having with it were my fault. Some of them probably were but after sending it back to the manufacturer for repairs because it wasn't focusing accurately, I've recently gotten it back and it is still soft. It is the generic Tamron lens, not the Nikon and if I had to do it over again, I would definitely get the Nikon. I know other people that love this Tamron lens, I am not one of them.
Courtney recently told me she is getting another dog.... yay me! I get to photograph another member of her family when that happens. I'm not sure where my photography business would be without Courtney, Bella, Berkeley and Fisher. I do know that I appreciate them more than you'll ever know. Life is Good.