… because scruffy dog is about DOGS … well, and horses and cats and other critters, too, of course!
We shoot dogs … not brides, not family picnics, not children … although we’re happy to shoot your kids with Rover. We don’t shoot couples or portraits, or babies or bellies, or even your restaurant’s latest menu, but we’re more than happy to sample it!
We’re about dogs. We shoot dogs. We know dogs.
it’s all about dogs
Shooting dogs environmentally, in their natural element, using available light takes a certain skill set and experience. Just like Illona wouldn’t presume to shoot a wedding or a bar mitzvah, there are some photographers who – quite honestly – just don’t ‘get’ pets. So, choose your photographer wisely.
If you are after someone to shoot your wedding, your newborn’s first photos, or your family portraits, Illona would be thrilled to recommend a photographer for you. But if your Rover needs his own session, you’ve probably come to the most experienced person.
Voted “Best Pet Photography” 2010, 2011, and 2012, The Toronto Pet Daily
experience with dogs
Illona has a lifetime of experience with animals. Her first job was training horses, and she has lived with and trained dogs her entire life. With incredible insight into their behavior and drives, a vast knowledge-base in regards to their body language, as well as many years feeding a self-managed, highly-researched and respected natural diet to her crew of dogs and cats, Illona brings much more than shooting skill to the table when she arrives at your doorstep.
KW Record’s Readers’ Select Awards, 2011 for favorite Photography Studio and Photographer
bringing the best out of your dog
Not every photographer can shoot dogs. It takes insight and handling ability – years of truly knowing canines – to bring out your dog’s true character, to enable them to relax with the cameras and respond with a new person and situation … it takes experience and truly knowing your subject.
Utilizing extreme patience and dog-savvy, Illona has worked with fear-biters and shy dogs alike, and has not yet turned down a dog.
get the most for your money
Unlike some studios who charge by the hour, with your Standard Session, scruffy dog takes as much time as needed with your dog. The average Standard Session lasts 2 hours, but with difficult dogs it can take much longer … so your session fee goes a long way. Illona will shoot anywhere from 500, 600 or more frames at your shoot (often double that with multi-dog sessions) to ensure a wide range and variety of images for your final gallery.
For five years we have worked hard to make the scruffy dog experience a truly one-of-a-kind experience, from initial contact, through your custom shoot, studio consult, and finally the delivery of your precious memories. SDP‘s goal is always to impress, to capture your pet’s spirit and character, and to present them in works of art to be cherished and enjoyed throughout the years.
Trust your images to experience.
We never stop searching for and testing the highest-quality products to offer our clients … from the finest framed canvases to deluxe, flushmount photo albums … balancing affordability with longevity, durability and – always – archival quality. Nothing but the best for scruffy dog clients and their precious memories.
And we are proud to say: we are exclusively Canadian in our prints and products.
Before Hiring a Photographer
With the advent of the digital SLR many people today call themselves ‘photographers’. In fact, anyone sinking a couple thousand dollars into a prosumer DSLR fancies themself a ‘pro’ and, unfortunately, I’ve met my share of their disappointed clients. Please do your homework before hiring any photographer for any kind of shoot.
Here is a MUST checklist when considering a photographer:
- look closely at your prospective photographer’s online portfolio or gallery. It should be extensive, not just a couple dozen photos. Anyone can throw together a dozen good shots. Is there a solid variety of photos demonstrating a wide array of client shoots? Does the portfolio demonstrate experience?
- is there consistency in quality, and a breadth in variety of environment, approach, angles? indoors and out? action and stills? … unless, of course, you’re specifically after only a few rigid, posed head shots of your pet.
- does the photographer have a professional website or are they using a free, on-line photo-sharing service like Smug-Mug, flickr, Photobucket, Picasa, etc. to display their images?
- be sure your prospective photographer lists their print and product prices, and – if not – be sure to get a copy of these before you contract for a shoot. You need to know upfront what your approximate investment is likely to be when you sign on for that professional, custom shoot.
- ask to see a recent client’s proofing gallery … is that gallery chock full of the same poses over and over again? or is there a variety of poses, environments, settings, light, situations? How many unique photos is the client truly getting to choose from? What is the quality like?
- don’t be fooled by super low rates. A lot of those ‘pros’ with their prosumer cameras undercut the standard rates of professional photographers because (a) they’re not doing this for their livelihood (and therefore don’t necessarily have the experience), and (b) they’re probably not selling you professional-quality, lab-printed, archival products. So just be aware.
Do your research. This is your investment. Look over your prospective photographer’s website and portfolio extensively. In almost every case, you get what you pay for. Choose wisely. There are a lot of photographers out there, and a photographer for everyone. Spend a little time and find the rightphotographer for you.
Dogs Don’t Belong in the Studio
scruffy dog has always been about capturing life-long memories of your dog. And face it, the memories that you have of your dog are from their every day: Rover in his bed, in his back yard, in his favorite spot on the deck, along his favorite trail, his favorite park, with his best buds … not in the artificial environment of a studio. Don’t get me wrong, some pets can do great in a studio and some of my favorite shots from fellow pet photographers are studio-based. These kinds of shots can certainly be a wonderful addition to ‘home’ and environmental shots, but I firmly believe that the life memories should be the “real” ones … and scruffy dog‘s #1 goal is capturing life-memories of your beloved 4-legger. Again, find the photographer and style that is right for you. This is your investment.
The Cost of Custom Photography
For a revealing article on the cost of custom photography and what goes into your images when you hire a working professional photographer, please read Marianne Drenthe’s article Why Does Custom Photography Cost More?
As always, if you have any questions, please drop us a line!
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