Behind-the-Scenes: What I See Is Nothing Like What You See

I’ve got a secret talent, and it’s not just that I can recite the alphabet backward. (I really can–just ask me!) I’m actually really good at reading minds.

I mean, as you look at the seemingly perfectly posed pups on my website, I  can already guess what you’re thinking: That would never in a million years be my dog! (See, I told you I was good…)

The number of people who are hesitant to book a session because they fear their dog is basically going to act a fool in front of the camera blows my mind…and kind of bums me out. Consider the amazing forever memories you’re missing out on simply because [insert your biggest, most humiliating fur kid behavior here]. Trust me when I say that I’ve heard and seen it all–and I’m totally unphased by those endearingly embarrassing quirks. Rest assured he won’t be the first or last to pee on my camera bag, greet me with springloaded excitement, or pummel me to the ground because I didn’t leap out of the way fast enough during a running shot.

Let me start by saying that what you see as a pet parent is very different than what I see when I look through my lens. Yes, there is sometimes a little magic necessary to create that wall-worthy portrait, but any dog can get images like you see in my portfolio. To prove this, I thought I’d show a behind-the-scenes look at a recent session with a couple of phone snapshots taken by my husband. He’s my righthand man and noisemaker extraordinaire on many of my sessions (and apparently pretty discreet because I had no idea he took these).

While Odin and Hector were dream dogs for their session at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, their photos are a great example of how what I see can differ significantly from what you see.

For dogs who are even slightly food-motivated, the sound of a treat bag crinkling can work wonders, as was the case with Odin. To be honest, Odin couldn’t have cared less if he had his photo taken; he had his eye on two things: treats and his mom Jess (who coincidentally was in possession of the treats). In order to get his attention, I had Jess stand to my left and crinkle the bag of treats she brought along. This approach worked well because Odin’s solid mastery of the stay command allowed Jess to drop his leash and move away just slightly and long enough to make that oh-so-familiar sound. That alone did it and up went Odin’s ears!

behind-the-scene comparison with final image of a pit bull at Phipps Conservatory

Finally, for many pet parents, getting that group shot is priceless! Outside of the occasional cell phone shot, their session may very well be the first time they’ll have the opportunity to see their dogs looking in the same direction, minus one of them looking their derpiest. How many times have you tried to photograph your dogs together only to find one blinked, one stuck his tongue out, one turned to face the opposite direction? I get it–it’s not easy–but it can be done, and if I get a request for it, it’s a firm must-get-portrait that, to me, is non-negotiable.

For our final shot of the evening, Jess enlisted the help from her friend Tena, head trainer at Success Just Clicks. Tena was super quick and effective in helping me throughout our time together. I mean, look at those faces!

Did you know that you can see more of Odin and Hector in the 2019 Dreaming of Three pet calendar? These two helped raise a total of  $166 toward Dreaming of Three’s Rodeo Kids Program, earning them each a calendar month feature. Calendars go on sale this September through my website and make fun holiday gifts for family and friends, so be sure to check back for more details on how you can get your paws on your own.


If you would like to book a Bark & Gold Photography session for your pet, click here or give me a call at 724-913-BARK (2275). For more information on Bark & Gold Photography sessions, visit “Your Session” in the menu.’

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