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dog photography

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Outdoor dog photography in Barcelona

Oriol—a long time friend of my husband—wanted to surprise his wife Marta with a unique gift for Christmas, so he purchased a Frame Your Pet gift certificate for her. Since I was in Barcelona for the holidays, we set a date for the pet photography shoot in their hometown of L'Ametlla del Valles.

Oriol and Marta have an eight year old French Bulldog named Lord. They wanted to capture his playful and outgoing personality, so we decided to do an outdoor family session at a beautiful field outside of town. However, since Lord is a bulldog, he's anything but athletic, and it took some creativity to keep him moving without tiring him out.

The warm, winter light of the afternoon cast a golden glow on Lord and his family as they romped in the bright green grass during the dog photography session. The large field provided the perfect location for the family to interact naturally with each other and for me to capture some tender moments.

It was entertaining to watch Lord interact with his owners throughout their family portraits. When Oriol grabs Marta, Lord starts jumping and twisting in the air, gallantly trying to rescue his mom. He also enjoys playing fetch and tried to snatch the stick out of his dad's hands. 

As the afternoon drew to a close, we headed up to the mountains to watch the sunset and admire the beautifully illuminated landscapes below. I knew that Oriol and Marta also wanted some fine art portraits of Lord to hang in their home, so I made sure to choose the best location to get the right artistic portraits for them. In additional to their lifestyle pet photography session, I took some clean and artistic dog portraits of Lord that would serve as timeless keepsakes of their first dog together for many years to come.

Here are the best photos from the session.


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Elegant photos to the most famous dog on Earth: Tuna

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Elegant photos to the most famous dog on Earth: Tuna

A few days later after Tuna's birthday party at NKLA, I met him again for his Fine Art Session at his home.

Each year we at Bows-N-Ties get involved in a charitable cause, and for 2014 Bows-N-Ties has decided to partner with the San Francisco SPCA.

(Buy your scarf or tie here: http://www.bows-n-ties.com/dogsnties/ )

To help raise both money and awareness Bows-N-Ties has launched DOGS-N-TIES, a campaign that marries fashion and activism to raise funds for homeless animals and Tuna (#tunameltsmyheart) has donated his time and image to be the face of the campaign.

Frame Your Pet was the photographer of Tuna (Instagram: Tunameltsmyheart)

Frame Your Pet was the photographer of Tuna (Instagram: Tunameltsmyheart)

It was a dream of mine to do a Fine Art Session to Tuna. He is funny, odd (in the most sweet way), unique and goofy; and I wanted to mix this explosive combination with art and elegancy.

Here are the best photos of his session:

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Courtney (Tuna's mom) putting the Dogs-n-ties scarf on Tuna for the photo shoot with Frame Your Pet.

Courtney (Tuna's mom) putting the Dogs-n-ties scarf on Tuna for the photo shoot with Frame Your Pet.





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Modern Dog Photography session with natural light at Bernal Heights, San Francisco.

Some people think that pet photography is cheese. Some people think that art is just for a niche. And some people don't even think about the combination of both: fine art pet photography. But this wasn't the case of Alana.

One of the things Lily likes is to be hold on Alana's arms and I wanted to capture that special thing they have together.

One of the things Lily likes is to be hold on Alana's arms and I wanted to capture that special thing they have together.

She didn't think it twice. She is passionate about her pup Lily, a beautiful combination of pit bull and terrier. She knew Lily was growing fast and she didn't want to wait too long. Lily is a young dog, full of energy and very goofy and Alana wanted me to immortalize her dog's personality, forever.

Lily on top of the world giving me a warm "smile".

Lily on top of the world giving me a warm "smile".

During our pre-session consultation, she told me about their story: how they met, how a good match they are, what things make Lily so special and unique… All the information helped me to design the perfect dog photo session for them.

TigerLily, which is her actual full name, has a tan coat with black stripes. Somehow she looks like a little tiger. So I though that going to the top of Bernal Heights, which have very dry zones with some naked trees like the African savannah, would be perfect for her. Lily would blend nicely with the nature and the color palette would be warm but wild.

The light during the sunset is perfect to create candid and warm portraits. Here Alana was giving Lily a treat for being such a good dog model.

The light during the sunset is perfect to create candid and warm portraits. Here Alana was giving Lily a treat for being such a good dog model.

We did the session in the late afternoon. I wanted to use the soft light of the end of the day and then play with the sunset's colors. The sunset is wonderful for dog photography because the natural light is still abundant but not very harsh. As a pet photographer that only uses natural light, it was perfect. It allowed me to play with the long shadows, create strong silhouettes against the sun and get a romantic look. If you are skilled and know how to use your natural resources around you, you can end up having very creative and artistic photos to show to your client.

Here are my favorites pictures from that day.

Click on the image for fullscreen. 


Would you like to have a session like this with your dog? Contact me to schedule your free session consultation. I'd love to work with you!


Session selected as my favorite one of 2014! See the rest here.

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How to choose for the right breeder

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How to choose for the right breeder

We all have our favorite breeds of dogs. The question is how to find the right breeder for your chosen breed. You want a responsible breeder who cares properly for their animals and conducts business in an ethical, human manner. You also want a breeder that will answer your questions openly and honestly.

 

Before Going to the Breeder...

Check your local shelter. One in every four dogs in animal shelters in the United States is purebred, so if you’re looking for a certain breed, chances are high that you’ll be able find the dog you’re looking for in a shelter or rescue agency at a much lower price than if you had gone to a breeder directly. You'll also feel great about helping a homeless dog find a loving home. Most dogs lose their homes because of "people" reasons, such as cost, lack of time, lifestyle changes (new baby, divorce, moving, or marriage), or allergies, and not because of the dog’s behavior or personality.

Set is a Long Hair Collie (purebred) that was rescued from a puppy mill. After tons of love and patience, he made full recovery and he is a balanced and wonderful dog. Click  here  to know more about Set.

Set is a Long Hair Collie (purebred) that was rescued from a puppy mill.
After tons of love and patience, he made full recovery and he is a balanced and wonderful dog.
Click here to know more about Set.

If you've searched the online shelter and rescue listings for your breed, but still haven't found what you’re looking for, it’s time to find an ethical breeder. You don't want to buy a puppy from a pet store because you know that most of those puppies come from mass breeding facilities—better known as puppy mills. You'll want to find a breeder who has their dogs' best interests at heart.

(Photo/Klearchos Kapoutsis via Flickr)  This is the most "normal" picture I could find while looking for references. The cruelty of the images were too much to post them in this article. If you want to see the truth behind the puppy mills, just search for "puppy mills" in Google Images.  Viewer discretion is advised.    

(Photo/Klearchos Kapoutsis via Flickr)
This is the most "normal" picture I could find while looking for references. The cruelty of the images were too much to post them in this article. If you want to see the truth behind the puppy mills, just search for "puppy mills" in Google Images. Viewer discretion is advised.

 

Choosing a Responsible Breeder

Everyone always tells you to buy a puppy from a "reputable breeder". That’s sound advice, but how do you find one? How do you tell a reputable breeder from an unethical or irresponsible one?

 

I've collected a listing of questions that you should ask a breeder to help you determine if they are going to be a good source for your puppy. Remember, too, that the breeder is evaluating you, as well, and will undoubtedly ask you some questions. But we’ll talk about this in another post.

 

You can find responsible breeders by asking for referrals from your veterinarian or trusted friends, by contacting local breed clubs, or visiting professional dog shows. Remember, a responsible breeder will never sell their dogs through a pet store or in any other way that does not allow her to meet with and thoroughly interview you to ensure that the puppy is a good match for your family and that you will provide a responsible, lifelong home.

 

 

Talk to the Breeder (The Most Important Step)

Often, you can get a quick impression by taking a look at the breeder's home or place of business, or by chatting with the breeder. If by some chance, the breeder seems cagey or does not want to give you a tour of the place, you should probably steer clear. Someone with nothing to hide will gladly talk to you or show you around. A breeder who interviews you to make sure you can provide a good home is another good sign of a qualified breeder.

 

They should be well educated about the breed they work with, and be honest about the pros and cons of the breed. A responsible breeder will be a member of a national and possibly regional breed club affiliated with (in the United States) the American Kennel Club (AKC) or United Kennel Club (UKC); and the breeder's dogs will be AKC and/or UKC registered; and the litter registered as well, with the the puppies eligible for (if AKC) Full or Limited Registration as well.

 

9 Questions to Ask Your Breeder

1. How long have you bred this species? Have you ever bred others? (You want someone who has experience in your chosen or similar breed. You also want a specialist for your breed, not someone who breeds many different species.)

 

2. What are the most common genetic health issues with this breed? How does your breeding practice seek to minimize those issues? (Look for honest answers about the issues and someone who is taking real measures to ensure genetic variety within the breed. Do a little research first so that you know what the issues are yourself.)

 

3. Are the parent animals available for me to meet? (Most breeders should not own both parent animals. To ensure variety, they will most likely own the female but not the male. If they do not let you see the female, that may be an indication that their dogs are not healthy or well kept.)

 

4. Can you tell me about the parent animals? (Every animal has good and bad points, so look for a balanced answer from your breeder and pay special attention to the parent animals’ disposition toward people or other animals to ensure that your new puppy will not have an overly aggressive personality. Also note if the parent dogs have been in dog shows or certified as Companion Dogs.)

 

5. What is this puppy’s pedigree? (You’re looking for a knowledgeable breeder who can trace the animal’s lineage to at least four generations. Look for honesty when it comes to interbreeding.)

 

6. Are you raising the puppies here? Have they been socialized? (Ideally, your prospective puppy will have been raised in the household so that they will be used to people and being in a home rather than a kennel where they will have limited human interaction.)

 

7. How many litters do you have per year? (If they are breeding any one female more than once a year, this is too often to ensure the healthiest littler possible. If they have too many litters per year, this is a good indication that they are not properly planning for good breeding.)

 

8. What guarantees do you offer for this puppy? (They should guarantee against debilitating genetic conditions, ensure good health at the point of sale, and be willing to take returned animals. Part of being an ethical breeder is making sure that the puppies have a good home and that it stays that way.)

 

9. When can I take the puppy home with me? (Puppies can normally leave their mother when they are 2-3 months old. Avoid someone who offers them earlier as this demonstrates irresponsibility to the animal’s health and natural development.)

 

You’ll also want the breeder to let you play with and interact with the puppy to see if you like its personality.

Good luck on finding the right animal for you and your family!

 

Download the "How to Identify a Responsible Dog Breeder" [PDF] checklist from the Humane Society and take it with you as you visit different breeders. 

Read “What a Dog Breeder Won’t Tell You” for more information.


If you found this article interesting, share it with your friends!

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Set & Vincent, the Rescued Long Hair Collies

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Set & Vincent, the Rescued Long Hair Collies

Although I'm now based in San Francisco, my hometown is Barcelona. I don't only have my family and friends there, but also lovely clients who are willing to wait 6 months for me to go home to photograph their pets.

This Christmas I had several sessions booked and now that I'm back and settled, I want to share them with you.


Let me introduce you to Set & Vincent. Set (which means Seven in Catalan), is the 2nd long hair collie this family has had. A few years ago, their first collie passed away at the age of 14 years old. So, when the time arrived, they didn't doubt their decision to get the same breed. They rescued Set from a puppy mill in Girona. After a few months of lots of patience and unconditional love, Set knew that he was home.

Met Set, the elegant long hair collie from Barcelona.

Met Set, the elegant long hair collie from Barcelona.

A few years later, Vincent joined the family. He is of the same breed and he was also rescued from another puppy mill. 

This is Vincent, posing for me!

This is Vincent, posing for me!

Vincent's mom chose the location. It's been many years since I left my lovely Catalonia so I'm a bit outdated when it comes to new locations for photo shots. Luckily, she found the perfect one.

Although the day was moody and looked like it was about to rain, the weather turned perfect. The light was gentle, the weather wasn't harsh, and the dogs had a wonderful time running and chasing each other.

After a while, it was time to relax, and for me to become invisible to them so that I could capture the perfect moment.

Set and Vincent laying with their mom in front of a waterfall.

Set and Vincent laying with their mom in front of a waterfall.

Vincent striking another pose. I love this one.

Vincent striking another pose. I love this one.

Of course, being outdoors, the dogs couldn't help themselves and had to go back to have some more fun!

A happy dog!

A happy dog!

I think Vincent knew the deal. One photo, one treat! He was all over the place!

I think Vincent knew the deal. One photo, one treat! He was all over the place!

There we go! Vincent again. But I have to admit it... He is a very handsome collie! 

There we go! Vincent again. But I have to admit it... He is a very handsome collie! 

In the meantime, Set was just doing his thing. 

Set playing with a stick. He doesn't need too much to enjoy himself!

Set playing with a stick. He doesn't need too much to enjoy himself!

Love, love, love.

Love, love, love.

Although Set was rescued and I know he is a lucky dog, her mom feels very lucky to have him in her life. You can tell the love is there.

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One hour later, it was time to head home.

It was a very nice session and we all had a great time in the forest. 

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Thank you, Montse, Vincent, and Set for letting me be part of such an amazing day.

 

Related post: "Adopting vs Buying, what should you do?"


Click here to book your own session like this!


Session selected as my favorite one of 2014! See the rest here.

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Outdoor pet photography vs Indoor pet photography, what's best?

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Outdoor pet photography vs Indoor pet photography, what's best?

Welcome to Frame Your Pet's blog. 

My name is Alicia Rius. I am an artist, a fine arts pet photographer, and an animal lover. I moved to San Francisco one year ago and started my local business here in the Mission District. My style in pet photography is different from the traditional pet portraits you might have seen.

I only work with natural light, whether it be for outdoor pet photography or indoor pet photography. Most of my clients come to me to capture their pet's personality, and there is no better place to do this than in a pet’s natural environment. Although my Fine Art Sessions have the studio look, 95% of them are done indoors and with natural light. For indoor pet photography, the pet is not forced to stay in the same spot or to stay quiet in a certain pose. I follow the dog or cat wherever they go and I wait for the right moment to capture that unique moment. Approaching pet photography from this angle eliminates stress for the pet and results in more natural photographs, which are a truer representation of your pet.

My background as an artist and my skills in post-production allow me to create unique photos that are modern, elegant, and dynamic.

As you can imagine, this shot was done outdoors. It would have been impossible to have a white horse running in a studio :)

As you can imagine, this shot was done outdoors. It would have been impossible to have a white horse running in a studio :)

To see more of my equestrian photography portfolio, visit this gallery.

Bonz (the black Bullmastiff in the back howling) & Bosch (the brown Doberman chilling on the shore)

Bonz (the black Bullmastiff in the back howling) & Bosch (the brown Doberman chilling on the shore)

Doing sessions outdoors is great for both animals and their owners. It's a fun experience that allows everyone involved to play around, and this is just as important as capturing great images.

 

I'm often asked which is better, indoor pet photography or outdoor pet photography? Well, as long as the house has an abundance of natural light, then indoors can be just as good as outdoors. It comes down to personal preference and the personality of your pet. Cats, for example, feel more comfortable indoors. Their home is their natural environment and is where they feel calm. Relaxed felines are the ones who will give you the best shoots because they are not stressed out by their surroundings or the photographer’s presence, but instead, feel as if nothing has changed, and they will do what they always do.

 

Boris is a Siberian cat. Initially he was shy, but after 10 minutes of me being there, he got used to me and my camera and he had no problem going back to his usual routine.

Boris is a Siberian cat. Initially he was shy, but after 10 minutes of me being there, he got used to me and my camera and he had no problem going back to his usual routine.

Check out this gallery to see some more cute kitties playing around.

In most of my dog photography sessions, the sessions are split between outdoor and indoor because the goal is to have enough variety of photos to choose from.

For example, here is another photo from Bonz and Bosch taken inside their home. I didn't need much: just good light and a nice background (well, it always helps to have very well-mannered dogs!)

Bosch (brown Doberman on the left) and Bonz (black Bullmastiff on the right) during their indoor session. 

Bosch (brown Doberman on the left) and Bonz (black Bullmastiff on the right) during their indoor session. 

In cases where the natural light is not good enough, I adjust my camera settings to achieve the best result. In the picture above, it was late in the afternoon and the light coming in the gallery wasn't bright enough, so I had to increase my ISO to freeze the image (and I used some dog treats too; why lie?)

 

What about the Fine Art Sessions? Are they done outside or inside?

It all depends on the subject. For the horse, it was done in a field next to the breeder’s location in Spain. But in most cases, the Fine Art Sessions are taken inside. This is because in order to get the animal to pose in a certain way, I need him/her to be totally relaxed and distraction free.

Lluna is a 16 year old white persian cat. At her age, she needs a peaceful setting. 

Lluna is a 16 year old white persian cat. At her age, she needs a peaceful setting. 

Lluna's session approach was a bit different. Since her mom's house lacks an abundance of natural light, she brought the kitty to my hometown in Catalonia. At the beginning, she was a bit uncertain of what was going on, but with patience and a few tasty cat treats, she relaxed.

Although the photos look like studio photos, they are certainly not. I didn't use any studio material like flashes, strobes, or umbrellas. I followed Lluna’s lead and I was fast enough to get these amazing shots of her. Then, the rest is post-production (I mainly use Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CC).

 

In a nutshell, here are some benefits of having a pet photo shoot outdoors:

  • Action shots (running, fetching, jumping, catching a Frisbee, etc.)
  • Variety of shots (action shots, pose shots, portraits, dog interacting with other elements, etc.)
  • Variety of backgrounds (sky, ocean, forest, sand, grass, concrete, graffiti, etc.)
  • More combination of textures and colors
  • Easier to get inspired (just walk around your city and pay attention to all the little details)
  • Dynamic and funny pictures

 

Benefits of an indoor pet photo shoot:

  • More personal environment
  • Convenience
  • Less stressful (in the case of cats or shy pets)
  • Easier to get the Fine Art photos without having to go to a Studio
  • Easier to keep the pet still

 

The conclusion here is: It doesn't matter if it's indoor or outdoor as long as the natural light is good and the surroundings are clean and beautiful. What matters is that your pet can have fun with the session and the photographer is able to be creative with what is available.

If you are thinking of having an indoor or outdoor pet photography session, contact me for a free consultation. We can discuss which options are best for your pet, taking into account his/her age and unique personality. I promise you striking images!

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