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why scruffy dog photography?

dogs like Layla is why …


Layla — weighing less than my Nikon — is barely a handful … a handful of wiggling sweetness and sheer, squirming love.  however, she’s also a handful of nervous energy who flinches at any click or noise, and whose recent introduction to her owner’s DSLR has unfortunately been done with a flash.  this can often cause even more fear of the looming camera and the shocking noise of the shutter.

add to that an allergy that forbids her to partake in the absolutely irresistible scruffy dog treats which accompany me on every shoot, and bringing this wee girl around took more than the average camera-shy subject.  as previous clients know, i don’t watch the clock at a shoot, so i honestly don’t know how many hours it took for sweet Layla to come around.  honestly, there were times when i worried it would be hopeless.

you can see from the depth of field in this photo (the focus on the brick much in the foreground) that at the first click of the shutter, Layla has scurried back by at least five feet, much out of the focus of the camera where she’d been only a second earlier between the first and second shutter release.  terrified.

however, as past clients will know i don’t give up.  i will move on when the dog clearly shows me that they need to, but i’ve been known to spend twenty minutes or more just on one shot, on one ‘sit’ in one setting with a dog or puppy who perhaps isn’t as highly trained.  it’s times like these when i sometimes feel the owners’ frustrations rise, and i often find myself having to assure them that i’m in no way frustrated and that this can be perfectly normal.

but Layla was a challenge … and as i worked with her through some of my behavioral tricks, kept watch of her body language as well as my own, rewarded, marked and encouraged, i often found myself thinking: how on earth would a regular photographer ever handle a case like this?  a photographer without the experience of working with and understanding dogs? and the truth is, they wouldn’t.  or rather, they wouldn’t get this:


or this …


this isn’t Layla’s official blog entry.  i’m sure i’ll be putting one up of her other shots from her day.  i just wanted to share the experience.

i’m left wondering only one thing … would Marci have noticed if i’d stuffed this ball of sweetness in my camera bag at the end of the shoot?

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  • Gina C.Illona ~ I haven’t really spent much time perusing your blog until today (I’ve always just hung around your Flickr photostream) – and “WOW” – I’m sorry I didn’t stop by sooner. I’m speechless! Your photos are just simply too gorgeous and impressive for simple words to explain. If you are one to believe things happen for a reason, your book writing didn’t work out because taking photos is your true calling. I am very passionate about photography. I love photographs, especially those really special ones which can touch ones heart. The more I study, examine, look and browse photo after photo in millions of portfolios on Stock sites, Flickr and anywhere else I can find, the tougher it gets to impress me. However, I have to say, and I’m being completely honest here, EVERY single one of the pictures you have here really are moving! You are blessed with a special talent that very few people possess. Your photography truly is remarkable. Keep up the great work! I hope your business continues to prosper!ReplyCancel

  • Layla's Professional Photographer session - Forums - Yorkshire Terrier Community[…] put up- it ended SOOOO well! i am so happy and can’t wait to see the proofs when they are ready scruffy dog photography blog why scruffy dog photography? __________________ ‘s […]ReplyCancel

  • nicoleAmazing!ReplyCancel

  • Marci (Layla's Mom)Awww- I was in tears by the time I got to the end! Layla had SO much fun yesterday despite how the day started! It breaks my heart to see that first picture because I know just how upset she was- and I was feeling awful putting her through something so stressful. When we started at the park I thought- I am not going to get the shots I want- I really thought it was hopeless. I have a skiddish dog and it just wasn’t going to work. But boy you sure got her to turn around- By the end of the day- on the deck- I couldn’t BELIEVE how close you got with your camera! Thank you for spending so much time with us. Layla is still working on the toy you got her 🙂 Can’t wait to see our pictures!ReplyCancel

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