Sunny golden retriever

This week in the 52-week pet photography blog circle we’re talking about backlighting. Sometimes backlight means a rim light, some kind of silhouette, or - my favorite - using the sun as a fill to give a bright, angelic glow to the portrait. If done late in the evening or super early in the morning, it’s possible to do a soft backlight. Done a little more toward the afternoon, with a harsher splash of sunlight, I like to use lighting to create a high-contrast, colorful portrait. The tones are nicely saturated and give a stunning pop to the images.

Max brought his mom, Marie, to meet me at a local park one sunny evening before the sun set for the day. Max is a four-year-old golden retriever with a typical golden retriever desire to please people, have fun, and play whenever possible. Marie’s favorite portrait from the entire session is this gorgeous image that captures their relationship and Max’s beautiful golden coat. Marie is so photogenic! Can you believe she has four school-age children and two dogs to keep track of? She is stunning. They both look fantastic.

pet photography columbus

To see more backlit images in our blog circle, check out Terri J Photography your pet photographer in Toronto and Southeast Florida. Keep clicking through and you’ll make your way back here. Thanks for reading and I hope it was an informative peek inside my thought process!

Thinking of having yourself photographed with your dog? Let’s chat about a session just like this one. I look forward to hearing from you!

Military dog postage stamps

FINALLY! Happy Dogust, everyone. I've been waiting on the new military dog postage stamps for months and they are in! The Columbus-area post office I visited on August 1st (the very first day these came out) didn't have them in yet but the post office in Powell, Ohio did. If you're looking for them, (cough) Powell might be out of stock now. But check other locations. These stamps are so pretty!

pet portraits columbus ohio

My client with a golden retriever in Powell will be the first to receive this dog stamp from me. I’ve already asked for dog postage stamps for my birthday and Christmas. I must be getting old to be so excited about the post office!

Here’s hoping more stamps include dogs and furry friends in the future. Good choice, USPS!

Schnauzer in the foliage

Louie’s little face looking up at me couldn’t be sweeter. I used a wide angle lens with a wide aperture to get his eyes tack sharp. The warm autumn colors made his chocolate brown eyes pop. The eyebrows and beard on his sweet little face are almost too much for my heart.

This week I’m participating in a blog ring, where we take a theme and post an image that illustrates that idea. This week’s theme is bokeh, which is the beautiful natural blur that comes from an open aperture on a lens, which mimics the human eye and enhances the subjects we see. Sometimes I like to photograph dogs “wide open,” meaning a shallow depth of field that allows for a very blurred background, and sometimes I like to photograph my subjects “stopped down,” which means the narrow aperture makes everything very in focus. It’s an artistic choice, and sometimes it’s a matter of deciding how a dog will look best. I wanted Louie’s face to pop out of the leaves, and since this portrait was by himself, I opened my aperture on my lens wider to create this look. If he were with two other dogs, I would have stopped down my aperture to make sure all their three faces were in focus.

schnauzer in foliage

As I mentioned above, this is a post in a blog circle, so the next pet photographer on our list is Terri J Photography taking your pet portraits in Toronto and Southern Florida. If you keep clicking through you’ll eventually wind up right back here. Thank you for reading!

Louie will make more appearances on the blog in the future. We had a lot of fun in the leaves and even had some surprise costume changes! I can’t wait to share those awesome images, maybe closer to Halloween!

Thinking of a fall portrait of your dog sitting in the leaves? Contact me now! It’s a great time to start planning foliage portraits.

Big sky sunset dog

Browning Portraits is proud to present its first annual award for Best Dog Name. Okay, it's not a real award, but if there was a canine name award, this dog would get it. Meet McLovin!

McLovin is a senior puppy. I wrote about him a little while ago and you can find that blog entry here to see another of his sunset portraits. He was adopted a couple years ago, when his mom spotted him at the shelter and said he just looked defeated. He didn't even raise his head to look up at her but his tail started wagging and it was clear he was her new dog. If McLovin were in the Olympics he'd been a long-distance runner, not a sprinter. He has more endurance than dogs a decade younger. He was GO GO GO ready to keep moving and exploring through all our time together.

dog photography columbus ohio

McLovin brought his family to meet me at the park to watch the sun go down and it was a perfect evening. The sky kept getting more and more dramatic and stunning. McLovin's mom wanted a portrait of him howling at the sky, and as I was getting ready for his final portraits we saw signs that he was getting ready to throw his head back, and I was ready as a primal howl came out of him. We caught a few big howls and it was perfect. His mom says it looks like he's a wolf blowing the clouds into the sky, and I have to agree.

big sky sunset dog

Thanks for reading! If you are interested in having your “senior puppy” photographed like McLovin, I’d be happy to chat! Just contact me by clicking here.

Senior dog lights up sunset

I knew when I spoke to this dog’s owner on the phone that she was going to be fun to work with. She came across as easy-going and kind and obviously has a good sense of humor. How did I know? She laughingly told me, “My dog’s name is McLovin.” Yes, Superbad, the teen comedy that featured a character known as McLovin (as is written on his fake ID), is the namesake for her and her husband's hound.

What makes it even more special and awesome is that they were looking through the shelter and McLovin, known originally as Austin, was a senior dog. They spotted an 11-year-old dog who, in their words, looked defeated. His head was on his bed, he didn’t even bother to look up when they stopped at his cage, but his little tail started wagging when he saw they were paying attention to him. Is that not the sweetest?

McLovin is a true working dog. Last year, at 14 years old, he ran a 5k with his people. And at our portrait session, McLovin was GO GO GO. He didn’t want to stop! He just wanted to keep exploring and keep a move on. He still had so much energy left by the end of our two hours. In fact, I’d already packed away my lights and camera and we were all heading back to our respective cars when the sky started turning these fantastic shades of blue and pink. McLovin had plenty of pep in reserve so I pulled everything out again, working very quickly, because the sky was changing by the second. Voila! Look at this happy boy. Looking good for 15 years old. I made sure to get plenty of portraits where his ears were perked up and he looked interested, because his people said they missed out on what he looked like as a puppy. It never occurred to me that they never saw how his face looked as a young dog. I’m just glad that they opened their home and their hearts to a senior dog. They’ve given him a wonderful life and surrounded him with laughter. Good boy, McLovin.

sunset senior dog

I’ll write more about McLovin and show a gorgeous family portrait from sunset in a future blog post. Stay tuned!

Edit: HERE is McLovin’s family portrait session. Aren’t these sky portraits fantastic? I love how excited his family was to see these!

Do you have a senior dog yourself? Thinking of portraits? Contact me now! I’m happy to discuss a session with you.

AIM Animal Image Makers Conference in Minneapolis 2019

For those finding this blog post from an internet search and don’t know me through my website, hello! I’m Lisa from Columbus, Ohio, and I love creating dog portraits.

I just got back from the 2019 first annual Animal Image Makers conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was a very long four days, from 8AM to 10PM every day. We had fabulous speakers, a choice of beginner or advanced track courses on topics like posing animals with their families, dog safety (taught by an incredibly intelligent veterinarian), and even equine photography. We learned in person from industry leaders from around the world. In sum we had about 200 unbelievably talented pet photographers in attendance at one venue for the first conference of its kinds.

animal image makers conference

Then, OH MY GOODNESS, friends, look what happened in Minneapolis. I was on the fence about entering any portraits into the Animal Image Makers image competition, and in fact an image that I call “Learning to Share” of a baby in a highchair watching his dog beg for food was an entry I submitted at the last minute. Literally, I was uploading my entries at 5:59 before the 6pm deadline. I had zero hope of my portraits doing anything in competition, especially after some feedback that my images - especially that baby in the highchair - would have a tough time even getting a merit. I submitted because I wanted the judges' feedback of what to do better in the future, and because darn it, I believed in that image. At the closing party, we learned that they were 474 images in the competition, and these are the top pet photographers in the world. We saw all the submissions playing on a screen and they were breathtaking. These portraits were SO beautiful. It was amazing just to be in a room filled with so much talent. Then the president of the organization announced third place, then second place, then first place for Best Animal and Human Image, and he called Learning to Share by Lisa Browning and my beloved portrait was projected on the screen and my heart stopped.

animal image makers

I never ever ever expected to earn this and I am so grateful to the organizers, judges, and of course the two subjects of this image who are my own babies - one with fur and one without.

The entire conference was a fabulous experience, and learning in person from these esteemed photographers I’ve long admired was priceless. On the airplane home I carried my trophy, carefully and lovingly packaged, and started dreaming of my next image. I already know what it is, and I can see it in my mind’s eye as clear as day. I can’t wait to make it and share with you.

Thanks for reading. If you’re located in the Columbus area and thinking of canine portraits, I’d love to speak to you. Contact me here and we can discuss your ideas for portraiture of your beloved pet.