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Mother Nature’s allure: Why I’ll never have a studio for dog photo sessions

    “Never” is a pretty strong word. 

    It’s absolute. 

    Permanent. 

    It leaves no room for change. 

    And I love change. I embrace it and all the risks that come with it but I’m pretty comfortable saying I’ll never have a studio for dog photo sessions. 

    Just like I’ll never do boudoir, newborn or wedding photography. My specialty is dog photography and that keeps me happy.  

    So I’ll never pack my camera bag and leave the house unless there’s a dog involved. 

    And the session has to be outside, in all of Mother Nature’s glory.  

    beagle poses on a rock at a beach during sunset
    Merlin at the beach

    How to embrace Mother Nature’s splendor 

    You can sit down today and tell a generative platform, powered by artificial intelligence, to create a photo of a dog that looks like yours at any location you desire. 

    Wanna know I know? I’ve done it. 

    I asked Copilot, Microsoft’s platform, to create an image of a Maremma sheepdog in front of the Eiffel Tower. 

    Does it look like Bella?

    Um, meh.  

    Can you tell it’s fake?

    Um … YEAH.

    There’s also this one, where Copilot has given the Maremma a pointy ear. 

    HOLYFRIGGINMOLYYOUGUYS, Maremmas don’t have pointy ears. THEY AREN’T SAMOYEDS. 

    Wanna see our Maremma-Samoyed game?

    In any case, you might want to play around with image generators — and you should, it’s fun — but the images that spit out of your computer don’t compare to the real thing, aka ME. 

    Professional dog photography lends an emotion and authenticity to your portraits that AI struggles to replicate. Artificial intelligence will never showcase your dog’s true personality and will never evoke genuine emotions and candid moments like professional dog photography. 

    And neither will studio photography. 

    Fight me about it. 

    The timeless appeal of dogs in natural settings 

    Let’s embrace the raw beauty of Mother Nature.  

    senior pug on a rock at the Centennial Trail head near Mirabeau in Spokane Valley
    Rue at Mirabeau Park

    That bitch has worked her ass off over millennia to give us rugged, gorgeous landscapes that strike awe in our hearts. 

    And to use those vistas for dog photography … yeah, plunk your furever friends down in front of the dramatic buttes and scrubsteppe of Eastern Washington or glacial lakes and dense forest of North Idaho … we have a winner. 

    Every corner of the Inland Northwest represents unique opportunities to showcase your dog in their natural element. 

    In the wild. 

    The rugged landscape of the Inland Northwest adds depth and texture to your dog photos, creating visually captivating images that showcase the spirits of our adventure buddies. 

    In Eastern Washington, the towering buttes and expansive scrubsteppe offer a rugged and untamed backdrop, so much more unique than a blue, pink or orange piece of paper behind your dog.  

    black Lab at Steptoe Butte with a thunderstorm in the background
    Stella at Steptoe Butte with a thunderstorm raging in the background

    The wide-open spaces allow for dynamic compositions, with dogs bounding through fields or your family looking out onto the amazing vista that lies before you. 

    The earthy tones of the landscape can often provide a natural contrast to the vibrant colors of a dog’s coat, creating striking imagery of both the animal and its surroundings. 

    In North Idaho, the glacial lakes and dense forests provide a serene and picturesque setting for dog photography. The tranquil waters reflect the beauty of the surrounding landscape, while the towering trees offer a safe haven of shade and shelter for our pups … and us!  

    a little dog sits on his kayak while mama paddles at Farragut State Park
    Bubbles hitches a ride at Farragut State Park

    We can run along forest trails or splash in crystal-clear lakes and we feel the freedom that I see through the lens of my Nikon Z9. 

    For adventure lovers, there is no compare. 

    Adventurers deserve adventurous artwork

    You can’t possibly want to roll your dog up to a studio, park her up on a boring old chair, no matter how fancy, and believe that reflects your dog’s true nature. 

    You know how I know? 

    Because I am owned by an adventure dog. 

    Maremma sheepdog wearing an EzyDog backpack at Quartz Lookout at Mt. Spokane
    Bella at Mt. Spokane

    And I can’t imagine her sitting prettily in front of a Thunder Blue seamless paper backdrop when what we love to do is be in the outdoors. 

    When what we love to do is tiring our legs out on the trails. 

    When what we love to is to sit on a rock together, share some cheese and enjoy looking at the vast, amazing beauty of what Mother Nature has created below us. 

    This is not to dismiss all things studio.  

    I’m sure it has its place. 

    But I don’t get it. Mother Nature has created a studio for me with which no four walls can compete. 

    Dogs doing dog things

    Our dogs get to be authentic and show us their natural behavior. Dogs are wild at heart and in a studio, their natural instincts may be stifled by the unfamiliarity of a laminate floor and fluorescent lighting. Plus, they can’t just pee anywhere! 

    And dogs are animals, no matter how many of us may believe they are better than — or at least the next best — thing to human children. They connect to the natural environment in ways we humans can never understand. Their wonder and amazement out in the wild, in their natural habitat, harken back to a time when we all lived naturally.  

    white dog launches into the water at a beach
    Another Bella having her day

    By creating dog portraits in a natural environment, we connect our dogs to the environment in which they belong. In which we belong. 

    It’s a reminder of the symbiotic relationship we have with Mother Earth. 

    It’s time to make your job difficult 

    It’s one thing to sit down and scroll through dozens of images of your dog catching a treat, posing with an Easter bunny or staring into the camera. 

    It is so much easier for me to create variety during your custom-designed Adventure Session when Mother Nature is my canvas. I can experiment with different angles, different lighting, different perspectives, different lenses, different poses and different levels of action. 

    We might meet during the morning mist or evening’s golden hour. We may even meet at mid-day when I will employ off-camera flash. 

    The natural settings inspire me to flex my skills and push the boundaries of my creativity to create truly amazing images for you to create artwork for your home. 

    living room with Big White Dog Photography panorama of dog

    Time and time again, I have clients sifting through their gallery and exclaiming, “But how do I choose?” 

    Trends in dog photography come and go 

    Trends are transient. 

    You might get a brilliant yellow or deep dark blue for a backdrop. Maybe there are Easter eggs and bunnies, or a Christmas tree with fake presents scattered across a created floor. 

    The beauty of nature is timeless and enduring. 

    yellow Labrador retriever smiles into the camera at Saltese Uplands in Spokane Valley
    Milo at Saltese Uplands

    When a dog is nestled amid a forest glade or frolicking on a sandy beach, there’s a timeless allure that transcends fleeting fads. These images remind us of moments of pure joy, serenity and companionship, the cherished mementos for years to come.  

    This is how you know your dog. 

    This is how you spend time with your dog. 

    And this is how your portraits will remind you of the amazing time you’ve spent together, the incredible bond and amazing love you’ve built together. 

    Our world is inundated with artificiality. 

    AI-generated headshots. 

    Instagram lives. 

    Marketing messages. 

    Authenticity is questionable today but it’s what I strive to give you with every click of my shutter release button. 

    The allure of dog photography in natural settings is powerful. It screams authenticity, a time when our dog is doing dog things and we are witness to nature at its best. 

    boxer puppy at Bowl and Pitcher in Riverside State Park
    Azula at Bowl and Pitcher

    The images I create when we’re at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge, Dishman Hills Conservation Area, Farragut State Park or wherever, they serve as a testament to the enduring bond between dogs and the natural world. 

    Between our dogs and us. 

    Between us and the endless opportunities Mother Nature has given us to see the magic of dogs against her grandeur. 

    Author

    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.

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