• ... home of Ontario's premier pet photographer. This is where the photos of scruffy dog photography meet the heart and soul behind all of those fun and wacky photo shoots and the long hours in the digital darkroom ... a behind-the scenes peek into the zany life of a pet-exclusive photographer and her scruffy sidekicks. For more details on illona and the mcscruffies, check out the "about" section.

    What you will find here is the past several years of blog entries -- selected client shoots, sneak peeks, facebook recaps, news and announcements, promos and specials, as well as info on canine health and general dog chat. (NOTE: previous years of blog entries have been archived.)

    So, grab a cup of jo, give your scruffy a beef tendon to gnaw on, and enjoy the photos and ramblin's.

happy monday ~ {Ontario pet photographer}

i’m headed up north very shortly … backing up yesterday afternoon’s shoot so maybe i’ll pack up one of the camera’s to take along in case we take the dogs for a run … and as i’m going through Stella and Riley’s shoot just now i was cracking up.  and being as it’s a monday, i figured i shouldn’t be the only one getting a good laugh.

so … follow along here.  as you’ll see from the numbers of the photos (hover your cursor over the images) this is the actual sequence of the photos.  and — as is often the case while i’m shooting — i don’t have time to review all the photos as they’re taken, so a lot of them are a surprise.  well, the last one in this sequence certainly was.  i had no idea it was on the card until i downloaded it.

but … follow along as i did … here’s Riley … one of the first shots when we arrived at the quarry, peacefully surveying … (note: not a lot of post work on these)

and he’s on the move … (not a quality image; only posting for the experience)

the grass is long, so i turn my camera onto Stella … lock focus, compose.   she’s so peaceful and calm …

… serene.  let’s take a couple of frames, just in case she blinks …

hmm … i wonder where Riley went … oh, there he is!  RAWWRRR!!!

have a great monday, everyone.  🙂


Sandy & Ryker - Whoa, that was a scary surprise!

S. D - OMG !

Leslie - Bahaha!!!! That made my day!!!!!!!!!!

Cheryl - Thank you for putting a big smile on my face on such a dreary day. What a great shot!!!

Stephanie - LOL!!! WAY to funny!

Holly Garner-Jackson - Aaaaaaaaaargh!!!! Too funny! Thanks for the laugh!
Hope your day up north was just as good and full of laughs!

Sydney - I can’t stop laughing! That is brilliant!

kim - that looks like a scene from my living room….everyday! labs are so nutty 🙂

Darlene - Thanks for the Monday chuckle…

Anne - Shark dog!

Marne - OMG! That is too funny!

Jennifer - OMG, what a crack up! That is the best part of going through images….one will pop up you never knew you had that is awesome, or hysterical….he was REALLY going in for the kill, wasn’t he? 🙂

Anita - hahaha, I love those surprises:)

Alison - That’s my boy!

Lisa Brencis - OMG!!!!! Love it!

my crazy friday evening ~ {Hamilton, Ontario pet photographer}

thought i’d share just a few images of the insanity of my recent toy poodle shoot this past friday.  Tush and Scout …

there was much running, and even more jumping …

i tell you, when you’ve got little buggers that move this fast, it’s time to switch the camera to the continuous high-speed mode … i call it the ‘yorkie’ setting because, up until meeting these two, i didn’t think little dogs came much faster than a yorkie.  i may have to rename that high-speed mode the “Scout & Tush setting”.

you’ll be seeing more of these two wild boys soon, but thought i’d perk up the weekend with some of the fun shots.


Sandy & Ryker - What a couple of clowns! I love it!

Penny - These shots made me laugh out loud. Awesome work.

tee4tia - I love these guys, they’re hilarious.

Stephanie - How is it you always capture the most perfect moments?! Love them – especially the first!!

Holly Garner-Jackson - No wonder you are exhausted! 😉
What a pair these 2 are. You have definitely captured their energy!

Deanne - Love those crazy faces!

Marla - These are priceless, Illona. I take my hat off to you… not only were you and your camera able to keep up with them, but you managed some truly awesome (and hilarious) shots!

Marci Liroff - “Holy wow” indeed! These are great – love your description of the camera settings!

Sydney - I can’t wait to see more! They make me laugh and smile, I love Poodles (my best friend owns one) The little black one sure can jump!

allison f. - Those are so fun! So high energy – it made me smile 🙂

Jean (allegrolhw) - fun fun fun fun fun!!! What cute characters 🙂

donna - omg, i love these!!! such a familiar scene around here now that oti is a part of our lives. i was literally laughing out loud looking at them. the ‘yorkie’ setting is perfectly named 😉

Lisa Brencis - Wow! They look like stuffies in motion!

Lori E. - Oh my gosh, the first and third photos cracked me up. Wonderful photos- it must have been hard to shoot these little guys! They must bring their owners lots of laughs everyday.

kate - holy wow. this is the most exuberantly ecstatic pair i have ever seen. this set is such fun.

old girl cassy ~ {Oakville, Ontario pet photographer}

this is Cassy …

if she happens to look a little moth-eaten and frayed around the edges, well, that’s because she’s 120 years old …

… that’s 17 1/2 in human years.  that’s a lotta years of loving.

the old girl seems to have a perpetual smile on her face …

like me, a lot of my clients often have such dramatic colours in their homes, and it makes for awesome photos.  but the soft, lilac tones of owner Christine’s bedroom so suited Cassy.

as you can expect, Cassy is a little wobbly on her feet but definitely loves to get out for her walks, so we headed to the beach for a little jaunt.

still, this sweet girl needed her beauty rest along the way …

as with some shoots, we’ll sometimes stop along the way to a location if i spot a great patch of grasses or flowers, an outstanding backdrop, or some awesome light.  at one point, as we let Cassy rest in the grasses and goldenrod  in a wide area off of a side road, a couple came across the street concerned  Cassy might have been hit by a vehicle, especially since Christine had carried Cassy to our spot.  but as the couple said themselves, even from the distance they were initially watching, they could tell “this was a dog well-loved”.

at home, Cassy still had some get up and go …

… and it actually took me quite a bit to get her to relax on the couch.

thanks, Cassy, for being such a trooper through your photo shoot.  i hope you enjoy your gallery, Christine, and i hope your sweet girl is still going strong.


Donna Rigg - Lovely photos. Lovely memories ?

Andy Mathis - She is beautiful.

Sandy & Ryker - Oh my, I just want to wrap my arms around her and bury my face in her fur. What a love.

Penny - She is so darn precious. YOu really captured her so beautifully. The sweetness just oozes all over in these photos. Wonderful!

Dave - She is absolutely beautiful. Our family golden made it to 16 1/2 years in good health and its great to see another beautiful senior golden. As always – your photos are amazing

Julie - Ilona,
I absolutely love your work. I wish I had a series of pictures like these to remember my Golden by.

dahlila - I think my heart just flipped over. WHAT a cutie. I love old dogs–& I’ve got one lying at my feet right here. nearly 84 years old–that’s nearly 12 human years.

Love your photos!
dahlila xxoo

nick - Beautiful session 🙂 Senior dogs can be so much fun to photograph too espcially hearing all the stories from the parents 😀

Jean (allegrolhw) - Bless her beautiful golden heart! What a wonderful set 🙂

Holly Garner-Jackson - Wow! I got goose bumps looking at some of these shots and reading your comments.
Peter said “That dog is priceless! What a gem!”
She is very well loved and it shows in your photos!

Virginia Swan - Oh my, cried from beginning to end, please print as a calender !!!

toxeh - That all but broke my heart! My old golden boy only made it to 12 but I could relate with every one of those photos. The love these dogs radiate for life, and for their people, is unmatched. What a lucky family, to be together for 17 and a half years (and going!) Thank you for capturing and sharing all the little moments.

Margaret - Cassy could just NOT be any sweeter! What a magnificent face, and so soft and furry, and just so delightful!!! Old dogs are so special. 🙂 Beautiful job of photos, Illona!!!

tee4tia - these photos make me want to hug her. beautiful touching photos of this dear old girl.

jennifer metzger - What a sweet face. I love the beach shot (225) and 253 soooo much. Wish we were all blessed enough to have our dogs this long.

Stacey - Wow… These pictures really brought tears to my eyes. I love Cassie!!

marjo - The way you captured her face brings tears to my eyes … what a sap … GREYT shoot!

Lynda - Love the pictures! Beautiful dog!!

stacey - Old dogs are gems – all that character and the love just radiates. Beautiful photos capturing a beautiful girl.

sarah - wow, these are really beautiful 🙂

Courtney - she is so beautiful! I love that one of her on the bed, the colors are so soft and calming 🙂

Frank - truly an inspirational story, and your photos tell it so well. I especially love the eighth photo down – just magnificent.

girly - fantastic pictures!! i don’t normally like the white mask some goldens get, but it’s very fitting for this girl! almost gives her a young, clownish, silly look to her old age.

Lisa Brencis - I hope MY girl lives that long and that well!

tori - i love the pic of her on the beach. it is just gorgeous. 17 1/2 years!

Timorous Beastie - Absolutely beautiful animal! Well done Cassy for bringing her owners so many years of love and joy.

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