Many clients reach out to me and say, “My dog is too old to hike.”
Or they say, “My dog won’t sit still.”
Or even, “My dog can’t sit because of his arthritis.”
We often stress over the reasons our dog photo shoots won’t go perfectly. I can assure there is nothing perfect about a dog photo shoot.
Except that everything about dog photo shoots is perfect. It’s my perfect moment to find your dog’s perfect moment … and your perfect moment with your dog.
4 seniors who rocked their dog photo shoots
We have a few core values at Big White Dog Photography. Two of them are adorable acronyms: d.o.g, or do only good, and a.c.t., always carry treats.
Another one is to make every day an adventure, no matter how great or small. When you tell me your dog is too old to hike or if you’re not a hiker, I’ll tell you that’s OK. We can have adventure dog photo shoots at a small park or even in your own backyard.
Let’s take a peek at seven of the goodest senior girls and boys who had adventure sessions with me.
Charlie and his mum love to spend their summers at the RV park on Deer Lake. Mum told me the old man isn’t very mobile so I was thrilled to create beautiful memories of him at his happy place.
“He won’t look at the camera,” she told me.
“Yes, he will.”
She also told me that he didn’t much care for sitting, thanks to the arthritis in his hind end. No problem, Charlie, old man. I’m a big fan of laying down, too.
A 12-year-old Aussie/border collie mix, Oakley is still a very active boy. His mum says he does a masterful job in corralling the ducks into the barn every night and is teaching their puppy the farm ways.
When mum said he loves playtime at the pond on their Coeur d’Alene property, I knew we were going to head straight to one of my favorite water spots for dog photo shoots: Hauser Lake.
Lo is an old girl who has traveled all over the country with her mum. She loved to pose perfectly for me as I strapped on my wide angle lens to get all the character in her sweet face and that gorgeous grey muzzle.
We had a lovely, relaxed portrait session at Cliff Park on the South Hill. The greenspace, tree coverage and rocks are a great place to highlight a senior on her own kind of adventure.
The moment you say “he has some LGD in him,” I’m all in. I love the guardian working dogs with my whole soul (especially the Maremma sheepdog, of course). Zeus is part Great Pyrenees, part Anatolian and part husky.
I call him a Pyratoliansky.
He and his mum love to hike Tubbs Hill in Coeur d’Alene, so it was the perfect place for his photo shoot.
And since dogs are required to be on leash at all times at Tubbs Hill, Zeus is a great model to show that leashes are magically and easily removed in Photoshop.
A leash can be a stress point for many pet parents who think their dog won’t look good in his portrait because he can’t be off lead.
Senior dog photo shoots and all the feels
Bella has more days behind her than ahead of her. I know this. I think of it often and it drives me to find amazing, memorable moments with her every day.
It’s also why I can’t put my camera down when we’re on our adventures, whether we’re hiking at Mt. Spokane State Park or taking a leisurely walk around Mirabeau Point Park. I need to hold onto these moments somehow, freeze them in time, just like I do for my clients.
Working with an LGD as my primary model has taught me so many things: patience, the beauty in not looking at the camera, nailing the one shot in a matter of seconds and more.
In my quest to get those epic images for your home art, I want to reassure y’all that:
- Sitting is optional: It’s OK to lay on the ground like Charlie or strike a strong power pose like Lo (my all-time favorite, of course)
- Best behavior is optional: Let’s let our dogs be dogs. We love them for their playfulness, their goofiness, their everything. That’s how their dog photo shoots should be, too.
- Not looking at the camera is OK: Some beautiful moments can be found in looking away but I also have tricks and treats to get them staring straight at me, too. You’ll be surprised.
- Leashes aren’t optional: Most parks in the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene areas require dogs to be on leash and I like to adhere to those rules. There are so many things that can go wrong with dogs off lead. Plus, keeping your dog on leash can help alleviate your stress about not sitting still.
- Your stress is unnecessary: We’re at a dog photo shoot. Chill. Everything about these moments should be fun, relaxed and enjoying your dog as she is, all that she is.
- You should be in the photos: Don’t let these moments slip by without getting a great shot or two of you together. You don’t need to lose these 10 pounds, you don’t need to have your hair just perfect, you don’t need to worry about what you’re wearing. If we wait to lose those 10 pounds, it might be too late. Know what I mean?
All around the circle
All four of the dogs featured in today’s blog post are mutts, because Sunday is National Mutt Day, a day to celebrate the Heinz 57s of questionable ancestry.
I grew up with mutts. Farm dogs with oops litters. The ones you look at and think, “Lab? I dunno. Terrier of some sort? Maybe.”
That’s my boy Bear, who came into our lives on Valentine’s Day 1991, and a much younger me. Bear lived a good life, comforting my dad through his battle with cancer in 1995 and then my mom after he died in 1996.
She loved that mutt so much, maybe mostly as a connection to my dad, that every subsequent dog she had in her life had a name that included “Bear.” There was another mutt named Wee Bear and then her Yorkies who were Missy Bear and Pooh Bear.
But I digress … as I do.
Enjoy National Mutt Day. Give your Heinz 57 a few extra hugs and snuggles and treats on Sunday and, in the meantime, jump into the worldwide pet photographers blog circle to check out how my friends are celebrating National Mutt Day.
Start with my Las Vegas buddy Nicole Hrustyk of Pawtraits by Nicole, sharing her thoughts on whether mixes make better pets than purebred dogs. (Bella stares with squinty eyes.)
When you get to the bottom of Nicole’s post, click the link for the next post in the blog circle. Keep that up on everyone’s post until you find yourself back here to my kickass seniors, rocking their dog photo shoots.
That’s when you know you’re home.
Right where you belong.
And if you’re ready to get your senior’s adventure session, fill out my contact form and get on my calendar! There are limited sessions available for the fall but emergency sessions always take priority.
I love your reassurance list, it’s perfect! “Best behavior is optional” made me laugh out loud! Great post to help people understand that dog photo shoots are all about fun, relaxing and capturing the bond between you and your pets!
I always giggle to myself a bit when humans get so stressed out about the way their dog is behaving. I’m like “I’m rolling around on the ground and jumping hip deep into the river and you can’t believe your dog won’t sit. Come on now.”
Seniors are the best. Such good info!
Tell Bella to calm down with the squinty eyes. 🙂
She will love you anyway. 😛
I love that wide angle shot of Lo! It really captures her adorableness!
I love the curious ones!
Four perfect photos to showcase the personalities of these mixed breeds! Great post!
You gift with words is amazing and I want to meet all 4 of these dogs. The photos are gorgeous!
I love the story of Bear. My great grandmother had a Pomeranian named Fancy. She, like your mother, loved that dog so much, that every Pomeranian she had after that was named Fancy. To me, my great grandmother was known as “Fancy Grandma” and she loved it!
Ohmigosh, my mom and your greatgran were cut from the same cloth!
Love that you shared a picture of you and Bear and a bit of your story – so sweet! Thanks for sharing that no matter what, it WILL all be perfect 🙂 I adore LO!!! Always love your writing.
Mom and Dad would hold the phone up to Bear’s ears when I called home from Newfoundland so I could say hi.