dog photographer

Dog Photography in Charlotte NC

  dog photography in Charlotte NC

Dog Photography is something I have grown to love. I started See Spot Run Dog Walking in 2009 and in 2016 I launched BARKography my dog photography company here in Charlotte. Here is a link to my dog photography website: BARKography.  I write at least one blog post / week on the site.  You can see some of my latest work there and read about my journey to become a dog photographer.

When I got my first camera, I knew next to nothing about dog photography. I actually didn't even realize there was much to learn about photography. Early on I got really frustrated with myself and my camera. I didn't understand why my photos weren't any good and why they were frequently blurry. For those of you who try to take photos of your moving dogs with your phone, you know it's hard. If they're sitting still it's easier (still hard but easier) but when they're moving, it's almost impossible to get a cell phone photo.

local dog photography

Fast forward to today and I am in love with dog photography. I love my camera. I love learning new things about photography and I love trying out new lenses. For my birthday, I got a lens that allows me to take really close up shots that are super sharp and clear. I love those types of photos: close ups of their eyes or their fur. I feel like I can see my dog's soul through his eyes. I know I'll cherish the photos that I'm taking of them forever.

I think cell phone photos are great. They're great for capturing the moment but if you want to ever print out your photos, your cell phone photos aren't going to look very nice. I'm a big advocate for printing your photos. Even before I got into photography, I'd print my photos. I have a zillion photos of my first 2 dogs Sam and Sloan but none of them are very good. I'm so glad that the photos I have of Willow and Moose are nice quality, printable photos.

I saw a stat recently that 20-30 year olds are the most photographed generation ever but their kids and grandkids won't ever see photos of them in their younger years because all the photos are cell phone shots - the ones people never print.  There's a hashtag #printyourphotos (I'm not making that up!)

If you'd like photos of your dog, contact me. Don't wait. Time goes by too fast and you don't want to have any regrets about not having decent photos of your furry kids.

local dog photographer

Do Dogs Remember Each Other?

I'd love to know if dogs remember each other. I did a BARKography photo session earlier this week with Baxter, a dog that used to live in Charlotte and now he lives in Florida. I was introduced to Baxter and his family through my neighbor Tiffany. I'd done a photo session with Tiffany's dog Jack and when Baxter's parents saw the photos, they wanted to have a session with Baxter and they wanted to have photos of the 2 dogs together. The dogs used to play together all the time when they both lived in Charlotte. I did an early morning session with just Baxter and later that day, I met up with Baxter at the Mint Museum and Jack joined us there. Seeing the two of them run around and play was a lot of fun.

do dogs remember each other

I've been thinking about it a lot since then and I wonder, do dogs remember each other? I have no scientific reasoning behind this but I think they do.

I know there are studies about a dog's memory and many say dogs don't remember things but I tend to question that. I think they remember certain things or events. When we rescued our black lab Buddy, he cowered if you lifted your hand over his head. I feel pretty certain he'd been hit in the past - he had to remember that and seeing a hand raised over his head made him remember being hit in the past, right? I can tell you over the last 6 years of his life, he was never hit again.

When Baxter and Jack saw each other, the first thing they did was sniff each other. There were a few other dogs around so they sniffed them all too but then they ran around together and played. I even captured a quick pic of Baxter giving Jack a little lick on his nose.

BARKography dog photography

I do think dogs remember each other. Perhaps it has something to do with their sense of smell. Perhaps they remember the dog's scent. Seeing Baxter and Jack together was really sweet. I'm so glad I was there to witness it.

If you want to see more photos of Baxter, head over to my BARKography blog where I wrote a post about our time together.

Moose and the dog sitter

I am a dog sitter and when we go on vacation to Hilton Head like we did last week and take Moose and Willow with us, we have to hire a dog sitter. No joke! This dog sitter hires a dog sitter WHEN the dogs are on vacation WITH US! And that's because of our crazy Moose. chocolate lab

We were hoping that his separation anxiety would be better this trip but no, he didn't like being left in the house alone. He isn't destructive but it stresses him out. I'd love to have a doggie cam set up to see what he does but actually when I think about it, that might break my heart to seem him stressed.

no dog sitter needed

It's a happy Moose!

Getting ready to pounce on the ball.

no dog sitter needed when Moose is on the beach

So, Moose didn't get left alone very much in the house. Luckily (or not so luckily for me), I'd planned to do quite a bit of work while we were on vacation. I have a ton of back office type of work that I need to catch up on so I'd planned to knock some of it out on vacation... and I did. Moose was happy to have me around.

We did plan to go out to dinner a couple of nights while we were there so the dog sitter came and stayed with him. He's a funny dog. As soon as she got there and we'd go to leave, he followed her back into the house, perfectly content that we were leaving as long as someone was there with him.

Yay for the dog sitter and for her helping us and The Moose while we were on vacation! Do your dogs require special attention or treatment when you're on vacation?


See Spot Run Dog Walking & Pet Sitting

To all my dog walking and pet sitting clients, I have exciting news: I've launched my BARKography website and you can click the link to check it out.  If you do, please let me know what you think. This means several things. I no longer have to share my dog walking and pet sitting website with my photography site. Because I've spent a lot of time marketing the new dog photography business, it was taking over the See Spot Run site. No more. :) The dog photography piece is still really important but so is the dog walking and pet sitting. It always has been. So now I get to blog about dog walking and pet sitting things here and I can blog about the photography side of the business on the BARKography site. If there is a downside, it is that I now have 2 blogs. Yikes..... :) pet sitting doberman

I recently saw a post from a friend on my facebook page that was an article she shared about a pet sitter leaving a dog in a car and the dog died. The pet sitter was found through an online site. Here are my recommendations for finding a pet sitter:

  1. Ask your friends and family for a referral. If you have friends who have dogs, ask them who they use as a dog walker or pet sitter. Contact that person and see if she (he) covers your area. If she doesn't, ask her for a referral. I get a lot of referrals and sometimes the person lives outside of my service area. I will always refer them to someone else. If it is someone I know well, I will tell them that. If the person has pet sat for me before, I will tell them. If I don't know the person well, I will tell them that too.
  2. Ask your vet for the front desk staff at your vet's office for a referral. Ask them how they know the person.
  3. Interview the pet sitter. Seriously interview them! (I would interview them as if you were hiring someone to care for your child. My dogs are my children and they are treated as such.)
  4. Check the pet sitter's references. Really call them. Really check them out. Ask questions like: how long have you known her, how many times has she pet sat for you, were there any problems, how did she correspond with you while she was pet sitting for you, how frequently did she correspond with you, etc. Ask questions. Lots of them.

As a pet sitter, it breaks my heart to read the stories like what I read this morning. It breaks my heart for the family of the dog. I don't like the black mark it leaves on my industry either. There are good pet sitters out there. Do your research and find them. You'll have to plan ahead as this process will take time. Your dogs are worth it, right? Trust me if you find the right pet sitter, she'll appreciate your efforts and your dog will too.

Pet Photography Project 52, week 31: Damn Trees

The theme of our 52 week challenge this week is actually silhouettes not damn trees however this week, my challenge revolved more around the damn trees than silhouettes hence the title! Let me set the scene. Grab a cup of coffee or if it's later in the day, your favorite beverage. You may be here for awhile. :o trees

First of all, I love silhouettes. I always have. The first time I ever took one was in April when I was at Barkelona, the dog photography workshop I attended. We'd talked about how to take them during one of our classroom sessions and that night while out walking with 2 of the other attendees just before sunset, we crested a hill with an amazing view of the sunset so we took them of each other. We had a lot of fun but I'd not taken another one until this week. Finding a place to take them has been my challenge.... because of all the trees in Charlotte NC.

A few weeks ago a client hired me to photograph his two dogs. He selected the location which was a park about 30 minutes from my house. I'd seen the location in photos but had never been myself so I was excited. I loved the location with its wide open spaces and hills. I knew I wanted to go back to this location so when I saw this week's theme was silhouettes, I knew where to go.

I asked my 13 year photography assistant if she was available (she said yes!) and we grabbed Moose (remember him?) Have I mentioned that every time I get my camera bag out now, Moose thinks that means he gets to go on an adventure? If Moose is involved, it is an adventure.  We hadn't even made it out of the neighborhood before he'd unzipped my backpack/camera bag with his nose and grabbed my memory card wallet out and thought that meant they were his and he didn't need to give them back.  Moooooose!

Some of you may remember that last week I said many times with these challenges in particular, I have an image in mind but it doesn't necessarily work out that way. That happened this time too although it was because my memory stinks. Those wide open spaces and hills... they weren't as vast and plentiful as I'd remembered because they were surrounded by those damn trees.

We walked to the spot I had in mind and the location didn't work at all.Those stinkin' trees were in the way. Ugh. :(

We walked around and had Moose stand in any open area we could find. The resulting photos are below. Just as we were leaving, we walked up on a picnic area. I believe my photography assistant and my model were ready to leave but I thought... I need Moose up on that picnic table, then those dang trees won't be in the way. Guess what, they were still in the way. We had to hurry, the park closes at sunset and I had my dog on a picnic table taking photos of him. Others were exiting the park and I didn't want to get in trouble for having my dog on the picnic table and and dark clouds were rolling in so that was even more motivation to try and get some quick snaps.

The bottom line: My search to find a great spot to take silhouettes around Charlotte continues....





For more silhouette photography, head to  Pet Love Photography, serving Greater Cincinnati and the San Francisco Bay Area. Remember this is a blog circle and if you continue to click the links at the bottom of each post, you'll end up right back here. I can't wait to see what everyone else does... and I'm trying to remember if anyone lives near the beach. Photos on the beach would be amazing.... and guess where I'm going to be in a a few weeks? :) :)

Pet Photography Project 52 Week 30: Shadows

This week for our project 52 weekly challenge we are considering shadows in our images.  I feel like I say this every week with these challenges: there is an image in my head that I want to take but I can't figure out how to get the shot. Most of you know that my full time job is walking dogs and when we are out walking I always notice the dogs' shadows. For years I've taken cell phone pics trying to capture them but I just can't get my angle right with the leash in one hand and my camera / phone in the other.  To make matters worse, I can't take a one handed cell phone photo - I have not and probably will never master the selfie! I have a photo on my phone of 2 dogs' shadows painted on a brick wall that I took a long time ago. I just looked it up:  I took it on 2/25/16. I've had this image in my head for that long. That's the photo I want to try and recreate but I can't figure out how to get the dog's shadow cast that high. I think it's a physics thing and I didn't do so well in physics in school.

You remember Moose, my crazy choc lab. Well, he is a very early riser. Our dogs get walked when we wake up and this week it's been around 5:15am. (Our dogs get walked and then have breakfast as soon as we get up.... here in lies the problem and why Moose feels the needs to wake me up so early), his tummy is telling him it's time to eat! This week while walking them that early, I've noticed their shadows. Moose casts a great shadow with his long ears and in the morning when it's dark outside and the street lights are shining, the shadows are very dark. Hmmmm, I wonder if I can try one morning to take a picture of him in this kind of light? I'd have to walk him, feed him breakfast and then we'd have to go back out but after they get walked and fed then it is time for my coffee so this may not happen. (and it didn't - ha!)

This week I made several attempts at getting a photo of Moose's shadow. At one point he just stretched out on his side in the middle of the road - he was done with my camera and me! So these are the images I ended up with... one with him in focus and the other with his shadow in focus. I need a do over!

Moose's shadow shadows

This is a blog circle and next up is Pant the Town Dog Walking and Pet Photography in MA. Be sure to click the link at the end of each post and you'll end up right back here.