• ... 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 (NOTE: previous years of blog entries have been archived.)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.

i shoot people too

i’m often asked by potential clients if i’ll include them in their photos of their dogs, and my answer is: “of course!” the only reason you don’t see more photos of people included in the scruffy dog galleries is because of privacy issues and out of courtesy to clients.

however, a few weeks ago, when i was approached to do an “engagement shoot”, i honestly came close to saying ‘no’.  afterall, although i believe in pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zone to learn new things, i firmly adhere to the notion of leaving some types of shooting to those who are more experienced in that area.  namely, you’ll never see me shooting a wedding, thank you very much.  and likewise, there are those photographers who seriously should never even point their cameras at a dog.

but Steph and Drew were adamant, especially since they wanted to include their two ‘ladies’ in on the shoot.  of course, their flattery went a long way to bribe me, and so it was …

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and although it’s been a rough winter as far as the weather cooperating with scheduled shoots, the day could not have been more perfect for a completely outdoor session.

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the ladies had a blast running around the farm/location and exploring … sometimes they forgot they were supposed to be part of the session!

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in fact, trying to get their attention when there were such wonderful distractions of horses and freedom required a lot more effort on my part, but i always have my arsenal of secret weapons … like really good smelling treats sure to entice any beagle-nose.

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these rescue beagles were sweethearts and i truly hope we have the opportunity to meet again for some non-winter and indoor shooting.

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it was a great shoot … loads of fun in the snow, and a wonderful, windswept location …

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and of course, Steph and Drew were all about having fun too.

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thanks for a very memorable afternoon Steph and Drew, and thanks for letting me share a few of your photos and sugary smooches on the blog.  i’m sure others will agree that you two are a wonderful couple.

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and, as always, thanks to the ladies …

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jeff - your stuff is just too good for words – composition, exposure, processing… and that touch of “feeling” you add to every image. Superb!

sue bird - LOVE the fifth one in, great work…coffee soon….halfway maybe in Toronto! CHeers
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Bev - Oh my. These are great. Love the running closed eye shots. Especially love the couple. They look like they made it great fun!

Rachel - That’s so great that you tried something new! I think you did a lovely job. Very cool setting and such a cute family!

Jill Beninato - Wonderful shots…I bet they loved them!

leesia - gorgeous session, illona!

illona - thanks, guys. not sure about that, Jamie. Steph and Drew made this shoot. they were just a lot of fun. and the stars were aligned as far as the conditions, even though the light was harsh.

Jamie - these are awesome Illona! maybe you have a new calling: engagement pet photographer. hee hee

Sarah - awesome series! they all (dogs and people) all seem to have enjoyed themselves – cute couple, cute dogs!

shy boy bauer

i met this sweet boy a couple of weeks ago before scruffy dog headquarters got hit with a trojan virus and became just a little backlogged.   lost in the quagmire of having to build a new hardddrive, reloading programs and frantically playing catchup, i haven’t been able to keep up with blog posts and client sneak peaks.   still, i wanted to share this young lad …

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Bauer actually turned out to be my closest client yet, living only one street over.  gotta love those short commutes.   owners Karen and RJ and i headed out to Bechtel park to shoot the VERY wintry segment of the Winter/Summer Rover.

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although Bauer was initially terrified of the camera, and very skittish of the skiiers, he had eyes only for his frisbee.

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and sweet Bauer’s got some eyes, doesn’t he?

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i loved our time in the woods, with the snow falling around us … although it’s never easy shooting in a downpour of snow.  so much is left to chance … falling flakes too close to the lens can blur out whole portions of your subject … so, lots of throw-outs.  but still, lots of keepers too.

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i love the relationship between Bauer and his dad … of course, i get to see it beyond the time of the shoot since i do see RJ and Bauer around the neighborhood once in a while.  very boy-and-his-dog.

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and back at home, you can tell Bauer definitely lives the good life …

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thanks for an awesome afternoon, Karen and RJ.  you’ve got a wonderful boy.  i hope Bauer’s looking forward to our Summer shoot as much as i am!

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Jamie - only an uber-talented professional such as yourself could get that first shot with a 150mm prime! wow Illona, I am beyond impressed. Thanks for sharing!

illona - thanks, Jamie. i love the first one too. and no, i can never get such sharp results with my nifty fifty. that one was taken with my secret weapon – my Sigma 150mm 2.8 macro lens. it comes out when the dogs are quiet and the light is good. it’s a pain in the a**, but nothing beats the sharpness of that honkin’ macro lens.

Jamie - OMG these are GORGEOUS Illona! I have so many favorites I can’t pick just one. That first one is just stunning. What lens did you use with that? Was it the 50mm 1.4? You use the Nikon D700 right?

Tamara - That first photo is so divine Illona

Bev - Beautiful session. Love both the outside and inside shots!! This dog family will be happy!

Ellen - The running dog in the snow is so good! Love it! I will be back to visit your blog. Like a lot what I saw!

Jill Beninato - I love these shots! The snow ones always make me envious…what a handsome boy.

Andrea - I am in absolute LOVE with your photos!! They are just wonderful! 🙂 Glad to have found you.

CaliforniaGirl - Bauer is a gorgeous dog and your portraits really bring out his personality. You captured a dog I do not know but now feel as though I do.

claire - those snow shots are awesome!

april - The snow shots are awesome! And I LOVE the 4th shot, the one of Bauer on the tile floor…

Mary - Gorgeous shots of this guy. Beautiful contrast between that black dog and fresh white snow. I love the snowflakes and his amazing eyes in the first shot.

sujawi - I have to be honest…labs are not usually one of my favorite breeds…but this dog changes my mind concerning the preception I’ve had. This dog is beautiful & the settings are so tranquil. I think these are some of my favorite pictures of yours. Well done. =)

xcheersx

Susan

illona - thanks, nicole. by that point it was a downright blizzard!!

NML - LOVE the shot of Bauer and his Dad in the snow.

love is in the air …

… and the scruffies certainly aren’t immune … so we’re having a Valentines Special!!

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no, we’re not giving out roses … but we ARE giving away prints!  yes, giving away!!

order one 8×12 and receive the second 8×12 for free!  yup, zero.  zilch.  zip.  that’s a $33 gift.

better yet, order yourself a 16×24 of your favorite image and get a 16×24 enlargement of another image for only $20!  that’s a $50 saving.  (mounting is extra)

that’s better than a bunch of roses isn’t it?

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this special runs for just one week, so don’t delay.   you snooze you lose.   if you order AFTER the 14th of February you get nothing.  bupkiss.   nada.   niente.  poop on a stick.

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so what are you waiting for?

NOTE: this special is open to “session clients” only who have already placed their full session orders.

  

Tammy Muecke - I love your work. I just got teary eyed!!

Grace - Totally cute and what a great deal. Though poop on a stick might be an interesting gift too 🙂

nick - Aww very sweet indeed 🙂

Idil - I love these shots, Illona! The first one of Matea is my absolute favourite – what a good dog she is to hold the rose in her mouth and look right into the camera!!! Excellent perspective – fantastic photo! And Morley is as adorable as ever – having him lie in the midst of rose petals is such an awesome idea – great composition and colours and cute cute cute Morley!!! Big Valentine’s Day kisses and hugs to your wonderful models 🙂

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