Recently, someone was watching us. And taking pictures.
And we learned some very interesting things. Like the reasons everyone needs a professional photographer to take pictures of their dogs.
Bucket List Item
I had a massive to-do list when we started selling our house and nearly everything we owned before moving onto the boat.
One of the items on the list? Arrange to have the photographer, Alice G Patterson, take pictures of Honey.
I had become aware of Alice’s work from following her sister Beth’s blog, Daily Dog Tag. Alice took charming shots of dogs and their people. And she lived just an hour north of our home in Ithaca, NY.
Unfortunately, I got overwhelmed with moving and it never happened.
But I had my second chance to fulfill this bucket list item when I read on Daily Dog Tag that Alice and Beth would be coming to the pet blogger conference, BlogPaws, in Myrtle Beach. And coincidentally, we’d be traveling there on our boat.
We arranged a morning photo shoot in the marina we were staying in. It was a blast.
And I learned all kinds of reasons to hire a professional photographer to take dog pictures.
Why You Should Hire A Pro
Let’s start with the sad one and get it out of the way.
Your Dog Won’t Live Forever
I can’t believe Honey is seven years old. She’s already middle-aged. Or a little past it.
The saddest part of loving a dog is knowing we’ll have to say goodbye way too soon. And since life is so uncertain, don’t you want to have the best looking pictures to remember your dog by?
One of my greatest regrets is that the only picture I have of my first and beloved dog is a blurry, black and white photo of him as a puppy.
I’ve made a point of framing the best photo I have of each of my dogs. And having a professionally taken picture of Honey is the perfect way to honor our relationship and the love I have for her.
Okay, enough sad stuff. My mascara is melting. There are many other reasons to hire a professional photographer, like
You’ll Learn Some Things About Photography
Folks who have been following Something Wagging from the beginning know what a terrible photographer I am.
I’m sad to say I have relatively few cute pictures of Honey as a puppy. In part, because I’m a lousy photographer and many of them are blurry or poorly composed.
But also because Honey was a toothy little bitch and it’s hard to take good pictures when you have a demon puppy latched onto your sweater or thumb.
If you see a really good picture on the blog, chances are my husband took it.
But even he has a few things to learn from a pro.
For instance, when Alice started taking pictures of Honey on the boat, Mike whispered to me, “She’s taking pictures with the sun behind Honey. How is that going to turn out?”
I whispered back, “She’s a professional. She knows what she’s doing.”
As a result, we got these stunning pictures of Honey on the bow of the boat with the sun lighting up her fur like a halo.
And now my husband is experimenting with taking pics with the sun lighting his subject and trying to get effects half as nice as those Alice got.
But it wasn’t only photography we learned about.
You’ll Learn About Yourself
I’ve never liked having my picture taken. If a camera comes out, I feel incredibly awkward.
But Alice was very relaxed and she kept the photoshoot relaxed too. So I didn’t feel quite as awkward. Until Alice asked me to kiss Honey on the head or give her a squeeze.
I love Honey. I kiss her on the head all the time.
Enough that if you look closely, you’ll see a faint lipstick stain on her forehead.
But EVERY. SINGLE. PICTURE. of me trying to show affection looks awkward.
Pictures of Mike and me holding hands look like we just met, not that we’ve been married twenty-eight years.
I’ve always known that I feel uncomfortable expressing affection. But having the photographic evidence? Well, let’s just say this is a definite growth area for me to work on.
You’ll Learn New Things About Your Dog
Before the photoshoot, Alice sent me a questionnaire to help her think about the photographs she’d be taking.
She asked about any special objects Honey loves or things she likes to do.
I told Alice that I definitely wanted some shots of Honey rolling on the grass. It’s something she loves to do.
In fact, Honey does it every time she leaves the boat.
Wouldn’t you know that no matter what, Honey would not roll while Alice was there?
I just learned that for Honey, rolling on her back is something she saves for family.
It’s Like Christmas
Getting that email from Alice that our photographs were ready to look at was like Christmas.
Unfortunately, it took a while until we arrived in a place with strong enough internet to be able to view all the images.
So maybe it was more like Christmas where Santa ends up stuck in the chimney and needs the fire department to help get him down.
Still, it was fun.
And now I have the tough job of figuring out which photos of Honey I want to frame.
Alice was very professional and I really enjoyed working with her.
Once we sent our deposit to get on her schedule, Alice sent a questionnaire to get us (and her) thinking about what kinds of shots we wanted to get during our session.
She also explained how long we’d be working and about how many shots to expect her to take.
And then, on the day of the shoot, Alice spent more time and took more shots than she promised. She was very generous with her time.
About a week after our session, Alice sent me a link where I could download digital copies of the photos and buy prints of any images I wanted.
I loved watching her work. I’m thrilled to have so many beautiful pictures of Honey. And I really enjoyed finally meeting her assistant, Beth, after following Daily Dog Tag for years.
And I know that having professional pictures of Honey will bring me joy for decades to come.
Your Turn: Have you ever had professional photographs taken of your pets? What was your experience like?
Note: While Alice G Patterson Photography did discount sitting fees for everyone who scheduled a session with her at BlogPaws in Myrtle Beach, I wrote this post because I loved her work and was very thankful for the time she spent with us.