No lake or river is too cold.

OK, scratch that.

I remember dipping my toes into the lake at Edith Cavell glacier at Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada, and yelping, “Holy forkballs, that’s cold!”

You’re right.

I didn’t say “forkballs.”

However, give me a dog that loves to jump in the water to play or fetch or splash and I’m following her in.

Because I’m not going to get amazing portraits of dogs playing in water by standing on the shore.

Going in deep

Last summer, I arrived at a session for my clients who live on the Priest River in Sandpoint. I was there to create special memories of their golden retriever Bear, who was nearing his final days. 

senior golden retriever with teddy bear
Bear crossed the Rainbow Bridge late last year

While I was moving around the property with Bear, catching him in his most favorite spots among the gardens, a bright red setter puppy named Lizzy was bouncing around.

“Would you like some shots of Lizzy, too?” I asked.

Well, of course, they would!

Lizzy’s favorite thing to do is jump in the water and catch her ball. 

After doing some cool water images for the Paws of the Panhandle that summer, I knew that I wanted to go in after her.

rescue dog swimming in priest river
Lizzy

Lizzy’s head barely above water, her mouth holding onto her toy and her legs gracefully moving through the waves … it’s the ultimate moment of dogs doing doing things, dogs playing in the water, dogs in sheer moments of joy, dogs having their Best. Day. Ever.

And I am here for it. Even if I went in a little too deep and one particularly aggressive wave came up, ultimately making me replace my 70-200mm lens.

Because it’s my ultimate moment to create amazing portraits of dogs.

My favorite locations for amazing portraits of dogs in water

“Does your dog like playing in the water?”

That’s one of the questions I’ll ask when you call about an Adventure session with me. If the answer is “yes,” I have a few go-to locations where I’m confident we’ll create something epic.

1. The Spokane River

I have a few spots along the river in Spokane Valley and Post Falls where we can meet: the trailhead at Stateline, the Mirabeau trailhead, Black Bay Park and Corbin Park. 

I got this one of Stella, a rambunctious Labrador retriever puppy, at a little beach I know just off The Islands Trailhead near Plantes Ferry. 

It was February but I still rolled up my pants, kicked off my shoes and jumped in with Stella.

black lab splashing in spokane river
Stella near Plante’s Ferry

Isn’t she fierce?

2. Hauser Lake

Ah, I love Hauser Lake. I had several Paws of the Panhandle sessions at Hauser last summer. There’s a lovely greenspace, a grove of trees, a dock where folks like to fish and, of course, the lake. 

With the gorgeous Selkirk mountains serving as a backdrop, I’ve created some amazing portraits of dogs there.

None so epic as these of Little One.

labrador retriever playing fetch at hauser lake in idaho
Little One under stormy skies
chocolate lab playing in the water at hauser lake
Little One on a clear night

3. Farragut State Park

This. Is. Paradise.

Farragut State Park is a little piece of heaven dropped into Athol, Idaho. From the rocky beach near the boat launch to stops along Shoreline Trail and the docks at Buttonhook Bay, there isn’t a single place that isn’t perfect for incredible portraits of dogs and their owners.

I (silently) unleash a squeal of glee whenever a human client says she loves Farragut, too.

Daisy, a senior Lab, was a joy to work with at Buttonhook, even though she looks like she’s taking it all super seriously.

portraits of dogs at farragut state park
Daisy playing serious games

All around the circle

Little stirs my soul as much as scrolling through all the images from your photo shoot and seeing that one, the one I know will look epic hanging on the wall of your living room. 

It’s my mission to ensure people like you have incredible portraits of dogs they love like family, their furbabies. One of the ways I do that is to jump in the water with them while they’re having the time of their lives at their photoshoot. 

Ready to book your session and get a stunning water shot?

My friends in the pet photographers blog circle are sharing stories about how they use water while they’re creating portraits of dogs and other pets. 

Before your dog jumps in the lake, here’s what you need to know about sessions with About A Dog Photography

That’s with Cahlean Klenke, covering St. Cloud, Twin Cities and Central Minnesota. When you get to the bottom of her post, click the next link in the circle and then keep going to more portraits of dogs, until you find yourself back here to my water shots.

That’s when you know you’re home.

Right where you belong. 

nv-author-image

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.

12 thoughts on “Where to get epic portraits of dogs playing in the water”

  1. avatar of kim hollis

    LOL “forkballs!!” I immediately thought before I read your comment “that is NOT what she said.” hehe

    I love all of your locations for water photography. They are epic!

  2. avatar of linda perdue

    Awesome! I love how you are getting right down into the faces of these dogs while they are in the water – something to give a try next time I have the chance. My only concern is keeping the water off the front of the camera 🙂

    1. avatar of angela

      Yeah, the lens I use the most for this now – my Tamron 10-24 – is getting up there in age and probably close to replacement. I’m not overly concerned with it although I have not checked replacement costs. 😀

  3. avatar of cahlean

    I totally chortled at the “forkballs” comment. Your writing style cracks me up! And those locations!!! Drool worthy! Who wouldn’t want to do a session in the water in those areas? RIP the 70-200mm but I bet the images you caught were worth it!

  4. avatar of holly

    Holy forkballs?? Lol! We need to shoot together in the water! Your images are amazing and you “get it” when it comes to photographing dogs on the water!

  5. avatar of elaine

    I actually may make “holy forkballs” a part of my vocabulary when my grandkids are here. 🙂
    Great locations! Great pics! Dogs plus water are two of my favorite things.

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