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East Bay Pet Photography – Sunset at Albany Beach

East Bay Pet Photography – Sunset at Albany Beach

One night last summer, while walking my dogs in the twilight, I was enjoying the gorgeous sunset and it occurred to me try shooting dogs along the shoreline as the sunset is creating this beautiful light against the skyline. This may sound easy, but it really isn’t.

First off it requires an alternate light source otherwise all you end up with is a silhouette. Then comes the trick of balancing that light source against the ambient light. If not, you end up with a nicely lit dog but a dark, uninteresting sunset. This took some practice and I appreciate my own dog’s willingness to spend time posing on the beach!

This beautiful dog is named Luke. He is a lab/pit mix who is trained as a search and rescue dog, which meant that he was extremely well behaved and patient. Since we are shooting as the sun goes down we don’t have time to take many shots and a dog that will hold a pose is a great help. Luke was a great subject, friendly, playful and willing to work for treats!

These images are some of my personal favorites. It was an early fall evening at Albany Beach and we got lucky with a terrific sunset. The colors in the sky were amazing and Luke looks so majestic with the sunset in the background. Thanks, Anja for letting me work with Luke, it was a delight.

If you think your dog would be a good fit for a special sunset session, please get in touch.

A Dog Portrait Fundraiser for Milo Foundation

A Dog Portrait Fundraiser for Milo Foundation

As a pet photographer and lifelong animal lover, I’m always looking for ways I can help out rescue organizations. Since I started my business in 2009, I’ve been photographing dogs and cats to help them get adopted. That is why, when I saw a Facebook post back in May from the Milo Foundation about the amount of kibble they need daily to feed over 175 dogs, I told myself I needed to find a way to help out.

Our portrait fundraiser in July was just the ticket. My crew and I, over two days, shot (in a good way, with a camera 😉 ) 37 dogs of every type, age, breed, and size. The youngest and smallest was 4-month old Francois, who my assistants and I, did not want to let leave the studio, to stately Susie, a 16-year-old Aussie Shepard, still going strong in her golden years. Some were excited to visit the studio, others not so much so, but we coaxed them all with yummy treats and squeaky toys and got some fabulous results.

We also donated over 1,100 pounds of dog food to Milo in Pt Richmond, along with some collars, bowls, and toys.

I want to thank every person who helped to make this fundraiser a success and to all the staff and volunteers at Milo who work every day to improve the lives of companion animals.

Now onto the important part – meet some of the sweeties I had the pleasure of working with!

5 Easy Tips to Get a Good Pic of your Pup

5 Easy Tips to Get a Good Pic of your Pup

Who doesn’t love taking pictures of their pups?

But so often, the perfect photo ops happen without any planning and we don’t have a camera with us. So we whip out our cell phones and click away, hoping to get good results, usually with varying degrees of success. There are ways to help ensure the quality of those spur-of-the-moment pictures – here are five tips on camera phone photography to help sway the odds in your favor.
TIP #1
Take lots and lots and lots of pictures! Many cell phones have a “burst” feature when you press one of the volume buttons, which takes rapid-fire pictures at a high rate. This is especially great if you’re taking action pictures. From all these images, you typically end up with a good selection to choose from.
TIP #2
As with any camera, try not to shoot into the sun. Sunrise and sunset are optimal times for phone photography because they offer the best colors without too much brightness. Overcast or cloudy days can also work in your favor – any color in the picture is sharper and bolder by contrast.
TIP #3
Some camera phones are very sensitive to even slight movement, so if you can lean the phone or your hands on something to keep the phone steady, that can help eliminate blurring. Shooting indoors where the light is lower creates even more of a stabilizing requirement because the shutter speed is slower. You can also help to decrease movement by keeping your elbows against your sides and holding the phone with both hands.
TIP #4
Don’t shy away from selfies with your dog! You can get some amazing shots of that loving look in your dog’s eyes when you’re nestled up against him. You may also end up with some incredible candid surprises you may not have expected but will cherish forever, like your dog giving you a big kiss.
TIP #5
Squat down to your dog’s level to get some great shots. If there’s a lot going on behind your dog – movement or even just a very busy, distracting landscape – zoom in on your pup so he takes up most of the frame and the background doesn’t take away from the subject.
And don’t forget to check out the apps available for camera phone photo correction; some are free and can make a big difference. For ideas on professional photos of your best friend, contact us about how we can create the image you’ve always wanted.

Bay Area Family Portraits – Welcoming the New Baby Boy

Bay Area Family Portraits – Welcoming the New Baby Boy

When Sam first contacted me she was considering a newborn session, but that is not my specialty so she decided to wait a few months until her baby was old enough to smile and make it a family affair. And smile little D did. What a sweet and easy going baby and he was so fun to work with.

They are a beautiful, charming family with a gorgeous home in the Oakland hills that had great light streaming in through the windows the day of our session. And to top off all the fun they have stunning and amazingly well behaved Akita who very sweetly got in on the act for a few shots with the little man.

Five years of portraits and now Wyatt has a new puppy!

If you’ve read my blog before or scrolled through the galleries than you will have seen this handsome Bloodhound’s face on my site.  Wyatt and I go back a ways….all the way back to 2011 and Baker beach where I met him for the first time.  His human, Josephine, has his photo taken each year and up to that point she had chosen a different portrait photographer each year.  This particular year she wanted photos of Wyatt with the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in the background.  We meet, had a blast at our session and the rest, as they say, is history as I’ve been photography Wyatt and Josephine each and every year since then.

We’ve had our sessions at numerous recognizable Bay area locations, like the UC Berkeley Campus, the beach in Pacifica, and even strolling along the Embarcadero in SF.  See Wyatt’s other yearly portrait sessions by clicking these links:  Year One, Year Three, Year Four

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This year she wanted a studio portrait and she added a twist.  Wyatt as a new baby sister named Sasha.  Now she isn’t a Bloodhound, so perhaps that makes her a baby cousin, but whatever, she is the most adorable and sweetest Chocolate Lab.  At one point I had to inform Josephine that she wasn’t going to be able to take Sasha home, I was dog napping her!

We started off with both Wyatt and Sasha taking turns in the studio.  One would be inside with me and the other outside with Josephine.  Since my studio sits within a completely fenced garden, it is great place for dogs to sniff around and relieve themselves before their turn in front of the camera.

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We moved to the outdoor garden area for a few more shots of the two playing.  Wyatt is obsessed with his ball and so no session is complete without throwing a few for him.  Sasha is just learning to run after the ball, so I threw it for her while filing some video.  This was my surprise for Josephine.  She took Wyatt for a quick walk around the block while I worked with Sasha and she has been such a terrific and lovely client over the years, I added a little video to her session slideshow.

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I don’t know what next year has in store, but I can hardly wait to see Sasha all grown up and play with Wyatt again.

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Senior Sibling Pups Rescued in San Pablo

You know that I am a big proponent of adoption as the shelters are filled with amazing dogs looking for a good and loving home. This wonderful couple, while looking in various local shelters to adopt a dog, was approached one day by a neighbor who had decided to give up her too senior pups stating she could no longer care for them. As it turned out this brother and sister were in need of some help as they hadn’t been well taken care of for some time already.

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They took them home, made them part of their new family, got them much needed medical care and have lavished both with the love and attention they needed.  Then they decided to memorialize their new family with a few studio portraits.



I think what they have done for these pups is amazing and I could tell immediately that the pups knew that they had been truly rescued.  They gaze with loving eyes upon their new humans and make themselves at home on the new laps.

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