Project 52: Wood

Textures – of which wood is one – always adds interest and character to a photo.  When I have a photo session, I always strive to have pleasant surroundings but I sometimes fail to look for textures.  Something I have to improve on.  In the meantime, for this exercise, below are two examples, one very old and one very recent.

The photo below is of Old Dan.  As an aside, that’s an odd name since he was only about 1-year old when I took that photo.  And that was about 1-1/2 years ago.  The client and I were walking around her yard finding interesting spots to take photos, and she mentioned that Old Dan loved to climb the pile of logs that they kept for their fireplace.  Because of that, I wanted to take a photo of him on top of them.  But they lived in a subdivision and, if I had, I would have shown all the roofs of the near-by houses.  So, I just asked Old Dan to pose by the pile of logs.  PS – you can tell it was an older photo; I removed the leash, but the collar is still positioned as if the leash was still there – Oops!!

This next photo was taken at my most recent session with Jack.  Not only was it my favorite picture of the session, but it turned out to be the client’s favorite one too.  I think it was a combination of the wooden fence as well as the leading lines.

Continue the arch by going to Darlene with Pant the Town Pet Photography serving MA & NH and see how she interpreted this week’s theme.

Project 52: Comic

As soon as I saw this week’s theme, I knew the photos I wanted to share.

I’ve recently added horses to my portfolio and during my first session, I managed to get a few humorous encounters.  My friend, who owns and runs a pet sitting business, also boards her horses at a local stable.  She knew I’ve been wanting to practice photographing horses, so she invited me along when she fed them.  Her one horse, Mariah, is so gorgeous and, apparently, a retired polo horse (we have polo matches locally).  Several photos were rather amusing and perfect for this week’s theme.

Below is Mariah giving me a lip curl.  Although rather amusing, my friend said that it was her way of analyzing scents.

We all know that dogs roll in the grass.  Well, so do horses.  Since there were a lot of droppings in the pen… yes those kind of droppings… I inquired if horses roll in that, too.  “Yes” was the response.  Yuk!

I’ve always felt that this photo demonstrates Mariah’s feelings about what I was doing.  Sorry, Mariah!

Keep the loop going and click on to my friend, Linda Metcalf at Dog Shotz Photography serving the Indianapolis IN area to see her amusing photos.

Project 52: Before and After

Several years ago when I started taking my photography seriously, I swore I would never use post-processing and always get it right in camera!!!  Right!  How naive!  It is something I still strive to achieve, but, of course, post-processing is a must!  Presently, I go between Lightroom and Photoshop to post-process.  Most is done in Lightroom, but I’m starting to use PS to remove leashes, blemishes, distracting background, etc.  I took an on-line course last year on PS Layers and do understand them a little better, although I should use them more often.

This past Christmas, I had a client who wanted to photograph her two white dogs for a Christmas card.  She owns a beauty salon and that’s where we took the photos.  She covered her small vintage-type couch with a white sheet, brought in some artificial greenery and holly, as well as a “Merry Christmas” sign.  She even put the decorative bows on her dog.  I picked one photo for the card and, below, is how it looked straight out of camera.  The client wanted a winter-type scene.  Well, we live in Alabama and a white winter doesn’t happen.  I found a product called “Twinkle Blanket” (similar to fiberfill) from Hobby Lobby and fluffed it on the couch.  We then placed the dogs on the couch.  Well, one starting to eat the “snow”, roll around, and, well, just be a dog.  So, as you can see, there’s very little “snow” left.  But I liked their expressions, they were close together (as opposed to on either side of the couch), and they were looking up at the owner.  But I had to do a lot of work.

In PS, I cloned a lot of the “snow”, smoothed out the wrinkles, and cleaned up the dogs, using Spot Healing Brush, Patch Tool, Clone Tool, etc.  The dog on the left, Ruby, only has one eye.  But in this photo, that one eye was covered by her hair.  So I copied a more visible eye from another photo and placed it over the covered eye in this one.  Also, the dog laying down, Moonlight, had a bow that was hidden by the “snow”.  I did the same thing and copied a more complete looking bow and inserted it in the photo.  The result is below.

The photo below is a scan of the card.  (NOTE:  Just in case you wondered, I did not have the watermark on the card)  Perhaps to some in this group this is no biggy and I’m sure you might see where I could have done it differently or better.  But to me it was a huge accomplishment, and the client was happy.

Click over to Linda of DogShotz Photography serving the Indianapolis IN area to see their take on this weeks’ theme.

Project 52: Negative Space

Negative Space is the topic of the week.   Negative space can be defined  as “the empty or open space around an object that defines it.”  I don’t think my selected photos are a true example of negative space as there is something in that area, but busy week, so I grabbed this one as a possible example.

Just a few days ago, I photographed Glenn, a senior dachshund (about 17 years old).  This little guy can’t walk well and is incontinent, but he still has a lot of energy.  After trying, not too successfully, to take some photos on a bench, the owner suggested putting him on the floor.  Shortly after she did that, he looked up at her and I knew I had a good picture.  Have not yet finished the post-processing, but the direction of his eyes told me a bit of space was needed.  Below you can see the difference from the two different crops.  I favor the second one as it tells a bit of a story.  Those eyes seem to be asking: “Why am I down here?”, “What do I do now?”

Cropped close….


Cropped with a bit of space….


Head on over to Natural, Playful & Soulful Pet Photography in Melbourne, Australia to see their take on negative space.



Project 52 – NEW

I’m finally back in the groove with Project 52.  I’m determined to continue thru 2017 – at least I’ll try.

New.  So many ways to interpret.  My first photo below was taken on the last day of 2016.  I classify it as “new” since this is my first full-bodied horse shot.  Although I say first, I have attempted horse photos in the past.  With my dog and cat photos, I tend to shoot close with my 35mm.  Did a little research before I shot this photo and one writer suggested to use a 70-200mm lens to shoot horses.  So, I did.  But my habit of getting close is hard to break, so many of the photos I shot that day were only half, or 1/3 of the horse.  In and of itself, they weren’t bad, but I wanted that full-body shot which I finally achieved with this one.  It’s not perfect, but not bad.

The next photo is only of people and not pets.  But I wanted to classify it as “new” since I broke thru my fear and trepidation to take it.  A photography friend of mine had a family emergency and had to go out-of-town.  He was able to reschedule all his shoots, but this one.  I initially hesitated since it’s not my usual thing, a group of people.  Plus, I always meet the people (always with their pets) before hand,  scope out the area, etc.  Wouldn’t be able to do that this time since it was the next day.  Seems that the grandparents would be returning to Florida the day after the shoot, which was Dec. 29 so they could not change to when he would return.  He asked me to take the pictures and he would post-process them when he returns.  Like I said, I was very hesitant, but the fact that he knows a lot of other photographers but he asked me, made me think that he has faith in what I could do.  The way he explained it via FM messaging,  it would be the grandparents and their daughter who lives locally.  Well, it was those three, plus their other daughter, their two sons-in-law and three grandchildren.  NINE total!  Plus, it was very windy, chilly, and a bit overcast.  Plus, one of the children decided that she didn’t want to cooperate, would rather run around, and didn’t want to even look at the camera.  Now, if this were a dog, the owner would put a leash on the dog.  Couldn’t do it this time!

This does not mean I’m going to start including family pictures in my portfolio.  I prefer pets and will continue that way, incorporating people now and then with their pets.  But I’m proud that I overcame my fears and just pushed thru it.

Please move on to Pet Love Photography, serving Greater Cincinnati and San Francisco to see how she interpreted “New”.


The story of a photo session

Not too long ago, I took a photo that was going to be displayed at a local business.  The family had a gorgeous French Bulldog and I was excited to go and shoot the photo.  The husband was on the front stoop with the dog when I pulled in.  I immediately noticed the front door and thought that would be a great place to take a photo.  However, the husband had another idea so I followed him to the backyard.  It was obvious he was proud of the backyard and commented that his wife worked very hard in how it appeared.  It was lovely.  Pots of plants, flowers, walkway, deck… everything was there.

When taking a photo of a pet, I always strive to take a unique photo where the pet will shine.  Below are some of my beginning shots and they were fine, but my gut said “it could be better”.

Nice, but nothing pops...
Nice, but nothing pops…
The tongue is cute and is definitely the dog, but ....
The tongue is cute and is definitely the dog, but ….
Now, this could be something with a little bit of color, but ....
Now, this could be something with a little bit of color, but ….

I finally suggested to the husband to try the front door.


This is the process I go thru in taking those special pet photos.  I hope to meet with the client before the shoot, but this time I wasn’t able.  But it worked out and the mounted photo was on display for several months at a local business whom I partner with.

Call Ono Pet Photography at 251-490-5282,,  or go to my website’s “Contact Me” page to arrange for your own furbaby’s WOW portrait!