Welcome back to my blog! I took a few weeks off from blogging while we were battling heat and smoke here in Sacramento. I'm pretty sure we broke a bunch of records for high temperatures, with a few days in a row hitting upwards of 113 degrees. Following the heat, the smoke from the many fires burning across California rolled in, creating some insanely bad air quality (one day I looked the AQI was over 500!). We're finally back to normal temperatures and good air quality, which has allowed me to resume photographing dogs outdoors. Most of the sessions I've been working on over the past week have been for my Tails of Sacramento book. I'm super excited to start sharing some sneak peaks from these sessions!
Since it's still hot in Sac (and probably will be through Halloween), with no rain in sight, I decided to take this week's theme of 'Reflections' less literal. If you follow me on social media, you most likely saw my recent post sharing a photo that I took a few weeks ago compared to a photo I took back in 2016 during my early days of photographing pets. With how crazy this year has been, I decided I didn't want to wait until the end of the year to start doing a lookback. This lookback isn't just for this year, though - I have been very interested to look at and track my progress throughout my entire journey as a pet photographer.
When I first started photographing pets, I was just learning how to use the manual settings on my camera. Looking for light was in the back of my mind, and posing wasn't even a thought. I barely knew what the Rule of Thirds was, or how focal length would affect distortion and whether or not my subject and background would both be in focus. I had no clue what the best way to get a dog's attention was, that some poses complement some breeds better than others, or how to hold a leash to make it easiest to Photoshop out of an image. Now, most of this is second nature to me. That doesn't mean I don't still make mistakes - I firmly believe we continue learning until the day we die. But now I understand my camera and my subjects, and it makes me a better photographer and gives me the confidence to run my business.
I spent a lot of time those first couple years photographing my own dogs, as well as family members' dogs. However, I honestly think I saw the biggest amount of growth once I started photographing adoptable rescue dogs and strangers' dogs. With the rescue dogs, many of them have little to no training, and some of them have suffered abuse and are timid, nervous, aggressive, or a combination. By working with these dogs, it helped me to better understand canine behavior, how to respond, and how to photograph dogs of all backgrounds and personalities. My next challenge was beginning to photograph clients' dogs. Although these dogs were sometimes easier than rescue dogs, I learned a lot about working with people I didn't know, photographing people, and how to capture that special bond a pet parent has with their furbaby.
Looking back at my early images, I can definitely see a vast improvement in not only my work, but also my ability to connect with people, and in my confidence as a photographer and business owner. I decided to pull a couple images from each year to share with you so you can also see how my photography has changed and grown over the past few years. Enjoy!
Loving my current style? I'm currently booking out into October and November - make sure you book now to get your pet portraits done before the holidays!
And don't forget to continue following the blog circle to see everyone else's reflections this week. Up next is Darlene Woodward of Pant the Town Photography photographing pets and their families in MA and NH.