The secret about the dogs I'm photographing

They all sit cemented to the grassy ground for at least 5 minutes at a time, giving me shining smiles and heartwarming head tilts on command. Leashes? No need, as all of them are well-trained wizards.

That, right there, is what many people think is not only the secret but also what is required to get stunning images of their dog, but really it is a description of none of my photo sessions. Have there been exceptions, yes, but if you were a butterfly sitting on a purple flower nearby, watching a regular photo session this is more likely what you would see:

A dog on a leash, discovering all new scents left around by fellow furry friends and mysterious creatures, propeller wagging her tail before trying to bolt ahead like a winning runner in the Olympic games. Meanwhile the photographer calmly instructs the pet parent (who quietly wonders how they will ever get any good photos of her furry beloved friend), where to go and how to handle the leash.

After about three attempts at the spot the photographer sought out by a big ol’ tree and with a clear blue sky in the background, the dog all of a sudden perks up her ears and curiously looks straight into the camera. A strange sound came from the human behind it and she’s trying to figure out what it was. “Click” the photographer anticipated the moment.

For a split second, the dog’s black little nose then turns to the left and she majestically gazes out over the green park. It’s that wise look her pet mum fell in love with the first time she saw her and “click”… it’s short, it’s pure and it’s magic.

The photographer gets up from the ground, brushes off some dirt form her jeans while the pet parent wipes some sweat pearls off her forehead, having worked hard to get her little friend to stay in one assigned area.

They continue down the trail to another spot and the dog is yet again taking on the role as an Olympic sprint champion, barking at a fluffy peach colored big boy strolling by and if it weren’t for the leash, the four-legged girl would be out of sight and over the next hill already trying to hide the squeaky toy she just mischievously took from the photographer’s bag.

It’s short, it’s pure and it’s magic. Your dog doesn’t have to be well trained and he, she or they WILL be on a leash. There will be sweat pearls and a handful (or two) of patience is required, but I promise you it’s worth every second.

Oh, the leash? With digital tools and hundreds of hours of Photoshop experience, I will make sure no one will ever know it was there. Well, I guess that is the real secret. Below are some examples to give you an idea.

The image at the top of this blog post before retouching and cropping.

Before. Lots of leash to give this active puppy plenty of opportunity to move around.


The most common leash hold. Oh, the wise but sad look of that sweet rescued senior! Makes me want to put her in my arms and never let her go.


Ooops, sometimes this happens when working with a long leash.

Mistake fixed in Photoshop, resulting in a beautiful image of this handsome boy.

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