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Big blue sky tops my list for dog portraits in Spokane

    Bella on the trail up to Vista House at Mt Spokane State Park

    Photographers have favorite times of day to schedule sessions.

    Me? I like to be a little flexible for my dog portraits in Spokane.

    Jobs and career moves have always been the big factor in my sleep schedule. When I was a kid, a sports reporter in Canada, I was a night owl.

    My work kept me up late at night, going to hockey games or watching senior baseball under the lights.

    (Yeah, it really was bags of fun.)

    When I switched to the dark side — marketing and communications — I had to reinvent myself as a morning person. Bosses wanted me at my desk and functional (ha!) bright and early at 8 a.m.

    I actually got some of them around to realizing that creativity doesn’t exactly work on a time clock.

    In any case, it made me realize one thing about life and people and schedules.

    They need to be flexible.

    Red heeler at Fernan Lake
    Pi the red heeler at mid-day

    Golden hour for dog portraits in Spokane

    Golden hour is the commonly accepted rule as the best time of day for dog portraits in Spokane and North Idaho.

    The light as it rises or sets is soft and warm, making it easy to expose a beautiful image.

    Aye, but here’s the rub. I work part time as a copy editor at The Spokesman-Review. Gosh, I love that job. I’m back in my zone, doing newsy things with newsy people. I have four night shifts a week, which limits my golden hours and sunsets for dog portraits in Spokane and North Idaho to three nights.

    Of course, I have seven mornings a week when we can arrange a session for sunrise and golden hour. Now factor in how many of y’all work Monday to Friday.

    Or you just can’t see your asses getting up that early in the morning.

    Trust me, I know. When Bella was a puppy, I had a be-at-your-desk-or-else job — to which I’ve previously and often referred as “soul sucking” — and I would have her up and walked at 5 a.m. Then we’d relax together before I’d head to the office for seven soul-sucking — oops, there I go again — hours.

    I haven’t been at that job for three years, but Bella still wants to be up at 5 a.m.

    So I get up, make my coffee and sit with her.

    Long story short, I know I have to be flexible to best serve people who want great dog portraits in Spokane and North Idaho.

    The best time is damn near any time

    I love big blue skies.

    I love big blue skies decorated with lots of fluffy white clouds.

    Daisy perched on a log

    I love big skies decorated with stormy, moody clouds.

    Great Pyrenees of North Idaho at Hauser Lake
    Not Bella … Henrietta

    That’s truly my jam, the kind of image that makes me think, “Yeah, I see that as a big-ass metal print on your living-room wall.”

    But how do I do it?

    How can I possibly expose your dog right when the sun is doing its best to fight my camera’s sensor?

    It’s this fun little technique I’ve spent a lot time learning: off-camera flash.

    It’s why you see me schlepping a big light box for my strobe on the trails and around the parks. I set my camera and then hit you and/or your dog with a touch of light.

    That’s right. I don’t just use the light Mother Nature is giving me.

    I create light.

    It gets tougher on the trails

    Adventure Day sessions pose a particular challenge.

    I want us to hit a great trail with an epic view so we can create your statement piece, the show-stopper that tells the story of your adventures with your dog in the Inland Northwest.

    If we’re going to Evans Landing:

    Little Miss Sass, Newt, at Evans Landing in North Idaho

    Or doing some Spokane hiking to Vista House:

    big white dog hiking to Vista House at Mt. Spokane State Park
    Bella at Mt. Spokane

    Or even just some of my secret nooks at Mirabeau Point Park:

    German shepherd laying on a rock at Mirabeau Point Park for dog portraits in Spokane Valley
    Lobo at Mirabeau Park in Spokane Valley

    The schlepping gets tough.

    It isn’t as easy to cart around a 3-foot-by-2-foot softbox on a lightstand.

    I’m always on the hunt for ways to make my job easier and your experience with dog portraits in Spokane and North Idaho more enjoyable.

    I’ve invested in a foldable softbox that fits in my backpack and lets me use my AD200 strobe, like on the above images of Newt and Lobo.

    To lighten my backpack even further, I picked up a Godox TT685 speedlight and so that I can throw it on-camera in a pinch — a trick I picked up from wedding photographers — I added a MagSphere light diffuser to my kit.

    It’s a pretty good option for hiking Spokane and North Idaho, don’t you think?

    EzyDog Eena on Mineral Point trail in North Idaho

    All around the circle

    It’s pretty important to me to be flexible and work with clients’ schedules so they can get great dog portraits in Spokane and North Idaho.

    It also became pretty necessary when I was scheduling 44 sessions for the Paws of the Panhandle project, a photobook of dogs and their humans in North Idaho and a fundraiser for the Better Together Animal Alliance in Sandpoint.

    Juggling people, their schedules and my schedule has not always been easy! But holy hannah, we got it done, y’all. I’m out doing my second to last session as this blog post hits the ether and No. 44 is next weekend.

    Then I get my hair done for my own special session with Bella with a good friend and amazing photojournalist right here in Spokane. He’s seriously the shit and I am a huge fan of the way he lights portraits. I can’t wait to see what we do together.

    Until then, let’s leap into the big world of dog photography beyond Spokane. Our favorite time of day to hold sessions was the topic for this week’s worldwide pet photographers blog circle.

    Start with my friend Courtney Bryson at CM Bryson, sharing why a sunrise session might be perfect for your dog portraits.

    When you get to the bottom of her post, click the link to the next post and then travel through the circle, visiting each link.

    When you get back to big blue skies for dog portraits in Spokane and North Idaho, you know you’re home.

    Right where you belong.


    Dogs. Adventure. Outdoors. These words set Angela's heart afire. Angela Schneider, an award-winning writer and dog photographer, documents the story of you and your dog and the adventures you take together. Your portraits will be a statement piece in your home, art that will make your friends and family beg to hear its story.

    5 thoughts on “Big blue sky tops my list for dog portraits in Spokane”

    1. Angela – very nice photographs. I want to give this a try as soon as we start to get some sunny days again – it’s been gray skies all week and no promise of changes in the near future. I love your big blue skies!!! This would work well if I can find some locations and angles to get these skies with the rescue dogs because often those photographs are later in the morning (still to hot to do other times here in Florida).

    2. I lug my light and softbox pretty much everywhere; once you see what adding off camera flash does to color (and skin tones specifically), it’s hard to go back. I LOVE OCF! I’ll turn it off here and there when the light is just perfect, but like you, I find that it gives me the flexibility to photograph any where, any time and create a greater variety of images for my clients.

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