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    My dog can’t be off-leash

    I get calls and email inquiries from dog parents asking whether I can photograph their dog while on a leash.  They say they are worried about having their dog off-leash in some place other than their backyard while others say they never let their dog off a leash while outside.  They ask “Does my dog need to be off-leash for the Photo Session?” because they see the images on my website and the dogs are “off-leash.”

    One of the first things I ask myself is, “I wonder how many people have viewed my site wanting to get some professional photographs of their pet, see that the dogs are “off-leash” and think they can’t get photos done because they can’t or won’t let their dog “off-leash.” And, they are left with that thought and promptly leave my website without inquiring about a session.

    So, I think it’s time to put this out there and hopefully dispel the notion that a Pet Photography Session requires that a dog be “off-leash.”  In fact, the large majority of dogs I photograph are on a leash.  That’s right.  And, the photography I do for dog rescues? ALL the dogs are on a leash.  The safety and well-being of your dog is the first consideration, always.

    There are a variety of things we can do during and after a session to minimize the appearance of a leash, and in fact, give the appearance that your dog is “off-leash.”  The one I am writing about today is “leash removal” after the session that I do during post-processing. There is no additional charge for this service. It’s included in the Session Fee (collars are a different story, however).  As you can see, I keep putting quotes around “off-leash” because it’s a tongue-in-cheek phrase since the dogs are actually on a leash when the photograph is captured.

    Before and After Images – “Off-Leash”

    I am providing several recent images to give proof that the dog was on a leash the entire time.  The first image is a rescue dog – photographed during an Adoption Event at s shopping center.  The next two are from a Short But Sweet photo session.  I hope this post goes a long way to encourage you rather than discourage you from seeking out professional photographs of your dog!

    Leash Before 03

    Off-leash after photoshop


    Leash Before 02


    Off-leash after photoshop



    Leash Before


    Off-leash after photoshop




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    As far as my pet photography goes, I shoot way more dogs than cats.  I was excited when I got the chance to shoot a kitten named Lasagna.  Now, like all pet photography, cat photography being no different, your best laid plan (and shot script) goes out the window real quick.  That’s part of what attracts me to pet photography, the unpredictability.  The need to act on the fly and get creative.  And, kittens are no different. Similar to puppies, the time of day can make a huge difference on their activity level.  The important thing is for the pet’s mom and dad to understand that it’s normal for their pet to get inattentive at times during a shoot.  Patience is key, for mom, dad, and photographer.Cat Photography northern virginia

    Cat Photography – Short But Sweet

    Lasagna had a Short But Sweet session – the perfect session type to capture pet portraits.  I also offer the Pack Leader session which involves a longer session that yields far more final images to choose from where I capture portraits, create little 3-5 image story vignettes that are great for storyboard prints and overall for piecing together a 10×10 album.  The Short But Sweet session is usually the right fit for those wanting a professional portrait or two to preserve their furbaby forever.  And, it fits well for cats.  It’s a good choice for those seeking cat photography.

    We chose to use a high-key setup for Lasagna.  This is not a unique technique.  I’m sure you’ve seen this style used with humans (see my images of critters in the gallery. I shoot 100% high-key for all critters).  It offers a nice, sleek and polished look.  As you can see from the images posted here, we ended up with enough images for Lasagna’s mom to display single framed prints on the wall as well as a fun collage.  If you need some cat photography done for your cat – please contact me. We can discuss exactly what it is you want to get from the cat photography session and then make it happen!

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