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!

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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.
BONUS TIP
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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Keep Your Dog Safe at Bay Area Beaches

Among the myriad health topics regarding dogs is one that’s at the top of the list for SF Bay area residents – keeping your dog safe at the beach.

Most dogs love going to the beach; they can take in new scents, experience the feel of sand beneath their paws, discover new things, and have a romp or swim in the water. This is a great way to exercise your dog and to stimulate both his mind and his senses – as long as you prepare properly for your outing so your dog’s adventure is as safe as it is fun.

First, it’s most important to find out whether the beach you’re going to is actually dog-friendly (never just assume it is!) and if so, whether it requires dogs to be leashed or not.

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Can your dog swim? Most people assume that all dogs can swim, but there are actually some breeds whose builds make it difficult or impossible for them to swim. Even if you know for a fact that your dog is a good swimmer, it’s best stay beside him and to outfit him with a flotation jacket because unexpected strong currents can challenge even the best swimmers.

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Much like humans, dogs can get sunburned and dehydrated, and both can be dangerous. Bring water in a cooler along with a collapsible travel bowl to the beach, and offer your dog water frequently – some vets recommend giving water every fifteen minutes on hot, sunny days. To help prevent sunburn, use sunblock especially designed for dogs, which you can find at most pet stores. Be sure to look for any hairless areas on the ears, nose, stomach, or even bare patches that have been shaved or are scarred and can’t grow fur. Take special care with white dogs, whose pink skin is especially susceptible to sunburn right through their fur. If you’re going to spend the day or even a few hours at the beach, consider bringing a beach umbrella and encourage your dog to rest in the shade periodically.

At the end of your visit, rinse the sand and salt off your dog as soon as possible – both can irritate and dry a dog’s skin. Some beaches have outdoor showers for this purpose, and you can then sit with your dog for a few minutes while he dries off before driving home. You can also wash him off as soon as you get home either with a hose in your yard or in the bathtub.

Beaches make beautiful settings for portraits or action shots of our canine companions – contact us to discuss the endless possibilities.

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