• ... 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 two ... now THREE trusty sidekicks. For more details on illona and the mcscruffies and the newest mcruffles cat, 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 (NOTE: previous years of blog entries have been archived.)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 scruffnut a beef tendon to gnaw on, and enjoy the photos and ramblin's.

Jade ~ {Toronto, Ontario pet exclusive photographer}

i consider myself extremely fortunate to have met this sweet Staffy-mix girl for her Holiday Tribute photo session last summer, and to have had the opportunity to spend the afternoon with her and her equally amazing guardian, Laura.   i was pleased when Laura upgraded her Tribute session to a Big Picture so that i could spend even more time with her gorgeous girl, photographing her in an even greater variety of venues.

01-toronto-ontario-professional-pet-photographer-jade perry-237
02-toronto-ontario-professional-pet-photographer-jade perry-391
03-toronto-ontario-professional-pet-photographer-jade perry-53
this girl is not big on showing off her splendid ears … so it took some mighty inventive sounds to get those pointy flappers at attention.

04-toronto-ontario-professional-pet-photographer-jade perry-183
but ears up or ears down … what a face.

05-toronto-ontario-professional-pet-photographer-jade perry-143
06-toronto-ontario-professional-pet-photographer-jade perry-66
and how about this smile?

07-toronto-ontario-professional-pet-photographer-jade perry-454
08-toronto-ontario-professional-pet-photographer-jade perry-125
09-toronto-ontario-professional-pet-photographer-jade perry-113
Jade was 14 years old at the time of her session, and Laura has had her for 12 years of those 14.  according to Laura, Jade was brought into the clinic where Laura worked, and was slated for euthanasia after being surrendered to the Humane Society for being too ill for her former family to care for.   fortune intervened, and these two souls were united … and today, Laura can’t even begin to imagine a life without her girl … a sentiment i completely understand as i feel the same way about my aging girl Matea.

25-toronto-ontario-professional-pet-photographer-jade perry-222

10-toronto-ontario-professional-pet-photographer-jade perry-568
11-toronto-ontario-professional-pet-photographer-jade perry-644
12-toronto-ontario-professional-pet-photographer-jade perry-42

13-toronto-ontario-professional-pet-photographer-jade perry-109

14-toronto-ontario-professional-pet-photographer-jade perry-156
15-toronto-ontario-professional-pet-photographer-jade perry-510
for 14-yrs-old, Jade certainly had some giddyup, and shared a few moves with us during her session.

16-toronto-ontario-professional-pet-photographer-jade perry-307
17-toronto-ontario-professional-pet-photographer-jade perry-334
18-toronto-ontario-professional-pet-photographer-jade perry-399
19-toronto-ontario-professional-pet-photographer-jade perry-411
20-toronto-ontario-professional-pet-photographer-jade perry-365
21-toronto-ontario-professional-pet-photographer-jade perry-543
22-toronto-ontario-professional-pet-photographer-jade perry-623
23-toronto-ontario-professional-pet-photographer-jade perry-829
24-toronto-ontario-professional-pet-photographer-jade perry-715
26-toronto-ontario-professional-pet-photographer-jade perry-694
27-toronto-ontario-professional-pet-photographer-jade perry-733
thank you, Laura, for sharing your beautiful girl with me and for entrusting me to capture her images.  it was pure pleasure, and it was a joy to put together her album and prints for you.  and i must agree: that wiggly bum is pretty darn cute.

28-toronto-ontario-professional-pet-photographer-jade perry-320


Pablo Quiroga - Nice!! Check out this Dogs fan page: https://www.facebook.com/dogsthings

Gabriela Palma - Beautiful!

Max ~ {Kitchener premium pet photographer}

this handsome lug is Max, an 11-year-old chocolate lab who is deeply loved by all of his family members.  he had a Fine Focus+ session with me this past fall and we hit a lot of the usual scruffy locations as per his mom’s request.  perhaps you’ll agree with me when i say that chocolate goes with pretty much everything.

01-waterloo-ontario-best-professional-dog-photographer-max shoup-187
02-waterloo-ontario-best-professional-dog-photographer-max shoup-226
Max gave me a lot of expressions to work with during his scruffy session …

03-waterloo-ontario-best-professional-dog-photographer-max shoup-381-Edit
04-waterloo-ontario-best-professional-dog-photographer-max shoup-443
05-waterloo-ontario-best-professional-dog-photographer-max shoup-209
06-waterloo-ontario-best-professional-dog-photographer-max shoup-29
07-waterloo-ontario-best-professional-dog-photographer-max shoup-150
08-waterloo-ontario-best-professional-dog-photographer-max shoup-426
09-waterloo-ontario-best-professional-dog-photographer-max shoup-481
10-waterloo-ontario-best-professional-dog-photographer-max shoup-113
… and sometimes he was just downright vocal. but Max told me nothing i haven’t already heard in almost a decade of photographing dogs professionally.  still, i let him believe i was hearing it all for the very first time.

11-waterloo-ontario-best-professional-dog-photographer-max shoup-26-Edit
12-waterloo-ontario-best-professional-dog-photographer-max shoup-124
13-waterloo-ontario-best-professional-dog-photographer-max shoup-201
14-waterloo-ontario-best-professional-dog-photographer-max shoup-83
15-waterloo-ontario-best-professional-dog-photographer-max shoup-304
16-waterloo-ontario-best-professional-dog-photographer-max shoup-72
17-waterloo-ontario-best-professional-dog-photographer-max shoup-53
18-waterloo-ontario-best-professional-dog-photographer-max shoup-335
thank you, Max, for your many expressions, and for being such a handsome gentleman.  and thank you, Erin, for choosing scruffy dog to capture you boy’s images.

19-waterloo-ontario-best-professional-dog-photographer-max shoup-398


Charles Dostale - have always loved the “brown” pups…. way to capture this sweet soul !

Lenny Waas - beautiful photography of a very handsome boy.

Vanessa Coles - Such brilliant work

a little creative editing ~ {pet photography editing photoshop}

i thought i would take a few moments out of my day to share with you a little of the editing that can go on here at scruffy dog headquarters … a little glimpse behind the scenes.  granted, it should be understood that i don’t have to do this kind of high-level of editing/photoshopping very often as i am usually able to get what i need out of my 4-legged models at the shoot.  however, last week i had a session with a pack of four amazing, wonderful dogs.  not amazing, wonderful models, but certainly amazing, wonderful dogs!

Lucy, Jethro, Logan and Henry were as awesome as awesome comes and i would have gladly taken any or all of them home … but super models they were not.  we captured a ton of hilarious, sweet, emotional, goofy, and stellar images of all four of these gorgeous dogs in the forest, the grasses, on logs, in flowers, running, being silly, and so many others.  however, when faced with the challenge of capturing even just one shot of all four together, in the tunnel of trees, well, i knew we had our work cut out for us.

this was a combination of dog handling and management.  i’d already spent some time working with this crew so i knew their energy.  Jethro (the larger fawn pug was easy going) and was the most likely to stand still for a few seconds; one-eyed black pug Henry was antsy, and would start moving almost immediately when asked to stand; Lucy has people issues, which weren’t an issue for me and she worked wonderfully for me, bringing with her a very calm energy, however, i knew she would stand for only 2 or 3 seconds before lying down; and Logan, well, Logan is pure goofnut and high on life … and if he stood still for more than a tenth of second without superglue on his pads, we’d be truly blessed.

this was clearly a situation where tying was necessary, but still i knew we’d need the element of surprise since Lucy would lie down if she knew she was staying anywhere and Logan would be running circles and choking everyone out with his line no matter how short i tied him!  i knew we’d have one crack at this … and it would be 3 or 4 seconds at most!

so … the lines were set, the camera was set … guardians Chris and Sue were duly instructed … dogs were clipped and held … and on my count everyone jumped into their necessary roles.  and — true to my prediction — i had three and a half seconds, and the element of the surprise of being tied to a tree worked to our favor in those few glorious moments.  i was able to shoot a half dozen rounds and get what we needed before we regrouped and tried a second time (which i will share in a moment).

the result within that first three-second round …

henry jethro logan lucy wilson-291-Edit

and here’s a crop of their faces, just because they are so adorkable!

henry jethro logan lucy wilson-291 crop

in the second round of shots (again, taken within a few seconds before mayhem ensued … thanks, Logan), we had a little more fun … but, as predicted, smartypants Lucy, after the first three-second round, knew we were going to be here for a while, and made herself comfortable, lying down.  having said that, who am i to say this doesn’t become Sue and Chris’s favorite?

henry jethro logan lucy wilson-304
what i liked most in this image, obviously, is Logan … a.k.a. the monkey on Jethro’s back.   and this is where the editing becomes creative.  i wanted this grouping of three pugs above … but i wanted Lucy standing.

henry jethro logan lucy wilson-282
so i went back to the first grouping of images to get Lucy … and combined her with the grouping of the three pugs.   i also wanted to grab Henry’s one good eye from another shot where the grouping of the three pugs wasn’t as successful.

henry jethro logan lucy wilson-311
if you’re a photographer, you’ll see the amount of work that required attention here, especially when bringing Lucy in and having to remove her rear end from behind the two stacked pugs … paying attention to the details of shadow, etc.   I also needed to ‘warp’ Lucy’s collar back into a more natural position in order to get rid of the ‘pull’ .

henry jethro logan lucy wilson-304-Edit
of course, i’ve also lost a few trees in the back tunnel on the right, which i can add later if my clients decide on this image for their walls … and normally i would never dive in and do this kind of work on an image before there was interest from the client, but in this case, well, it was as much about me wanting to see it.  and there is still so much more that could be done with this image … bring back the trees in the tunnel on the right, and even move Henry into the group a bit more.

so for those clients who think their dogs are too crazy, too wild, too nuts, too unruly for a photo session … well, you just need to meet Logan … and you need to know that the first and last image in this blog entry were captured in two sequences that were barely three seconds of calmness (a very relative term in this case).  i have many other cases of images where the dogs look completely calm and almost regal, yet the image was simply captured between a flurry of non-stop barks.  when you shoot only dogs (and maybe one or two horses and cats each year) it’s impossible to meet a dog you can’t photograph.  i certainly haven’t met them yet!


Misty Oneil Epstein - Amazing work Illona

Holly Garner-Jackson - So worth the effort. Amazing job, illona

Shelley Castle Erickson - Love it! Great examples of knowing your clients and creative editing when needed!

Charlotte Vandervalk - Awesome work Illona! These kinds of edits are so rewarding.

AnnaRachelle Luketic Fitzsimmons - u do fine work!!!! Thanks for this expo

S e a r c h
F a c e b o o k
S u b s c r i b e
M e r r i c k