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Mama’s boy Houston :: Yorkie / Chihuahua mix

I’m back in town and had a great shoot with Houston (aka ‘Buzz Lightyear’ to all you Lake Harriet Vet Clinic peeps).  He is a 14 year old Yorkie / Chihuahua mix with degenerative disk disease.  Although he can no longer walk unassisted, he still manages to scoot close to his mom for cuddles!  The vets at LHVC keep him in tip-top shape & pain free as his lives out his life with FANTASTIC parents, who help provide him with unparalleled care.  I could feel their love for lil’ H during our time in studio together.

Honey’s Head Shots :: A Sepia Series

I love the look & feel of sepia.  I don’t shoot it enough!  No better time than the present, with the cute Honey.  Honey is a 9-10 year old Chihuahua being fostered with Small Dog Rescue of MN & will be up for adoption very soon.  She is a serious cuddler & offers constant tail wiggles.  Honey was left on the cold streets of St Paul due to serious eye infections that has led to the removal of her left eye.  She will eventually go blind in her remaining eye… even so, the great people at SMR of MN are dedicated to her by providing proper healthcare AND education so that she can cope when she becomes fully blind.  It was a pleasure working with this tiny girl!

project ‘FAVORITES’ :: Brinna

‘FAVORITES’, my human-based project, has a new model.  The super cute Brinna!  Now 3, she ‘only’ undergoes Chemo once a month at Children’s and is on her way to remission… Brinna showed us her ‘port’ (the lump on her chest, where the chemo/meds are inserted), her very pink bedroom, & how to make the best oatmeal chocolate chip cookies in the history of the world.  YUM!  More information for this project is under ‘FAVORITES’ in the dogisART! info menu.  Thanks for viewing & supporting a non-animal project I hold dear to me!

Next on the blog :: HONEY!  A one-eyed, blind, Chihuahua who is too adorable!

Photography Tips!

Sorry for a gap in blog posts :: I have had a busy holiday & I’m leaving to San Francisco shortly!  I will have many GREAT pet portraits to share upon my return!

A professional pet photographer has the keen ability to capture the spirit of your pet with high-quality photographs… after all, this is why you hire me!  However, You don’t have to have professional equipment to get nice snapshots from time-to-time.  In my previous photo-tip blog post, I recommended turning off your flash to avoid over exposing detail in your pets fur/face & to avoid red eyes.  And if possible, set your “photo quality” to high.

Even though your flash is off, you will still need extra light to illuminate your pet enough to adequately capture their features.  That being said, don’t take their photo at night :: a lamp (or three) will not be enough to capture detail.  Wait until the daytime and use sunlight!  Taking Fido outdoors is obviously the best option; however, weather in Minnesota doesn’t always cooperate or you might want a photo Kat cuddling with the kiddos.  When inside use window light.  Get them as close to the window (or patio doors) as possible- especially black animals as black absorbs light, so you will need more of it.  Hug the wall & shoot toward the pet from the side, standing up-looking down, etc.  Just try to stay between the window and your pet.  Move your furniture/pet bed toward the window if you want a cozy lifestyle photograph.

I’ve included a few examples (yes, it’s Gunner in a Monster hat!).  These were taken within 2 minutes using a D70s & the standard lens that came in the kit (18-70mm), which can easily be bought used for $300.  Nothing professional about this camera & lens.  I took the pictures on setting “P”.  No post-processing was done.  I hope these give an idea of changes in results using the above lighting tips.

a. I personally love using back-light to create silhouettes- we will talk about that a different time.  I took this photo shooting towards the window :: not placing myself between the window & Gunner.  Additionally, I did NOT turn off the flash.  You can see how his face lacks detail due to the burst of light from the flash.

b.  No flash.  The camera metered from the Monster eyes so they are adequately exposed, however, the sunbeams then completely washed out portions of Gunner’s fur, leaving harsh sun spots.

c.  I was sitting between the window & Gunner (off to the side, so my body didn’t create a shadow).  No flash.  There is more color richness & detail, which is what we are going for!


My explanations are brief as not to bore you with too many details.  Next I’ll touch on maximizing outdoor lighting!  Please feel free to email me with a “photo tip” question for subsequent blogs… If I don’t know the answer, I will seek it out from colleagues to make this more helpful!- I just might learn something in the process too.  If you are a professional photographer (more experienced than I), please feel free to leave comments to help our readers!



Sydney, the Golden Retriever

I got in one last shoot before Christmas- it was a great one!  Sydney, a 10 year old Golden Retriever, was a bit camera-shy.  In fact, she ran away whenever the camera was in a 10 foot radius of her!  A load of cuddles & treats eased her fears 🙂  Happy Holidays to everyone!


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