Wednesday, August 4, 2010

FAQ Reader Questions Answered - Kansas City Dog Photography

Well you asked and will receive! Here are some questions from my readers and my responses. If you have any more questions or would like to see this as a regular type of post, please leave a comment on here or my Facebook page!

How did you get into photography? How/when or what made you decide to photograph pupper dogs?
If you would have told me years ago that I would someday be a dog photographer, I probably would not have believed you! It is really amazing how various steps in my life led to what I currently do. Basically it all began when I was taking a Photoshop class and the chapter about photo restoration really captured my interest. My instructor encouraged me to start a website and a very plain began. I only offered photo restoration services for quite a few years. However, I have always loved to take photos and one day I just started thinking maybe I should expand what I do and offer photography services as well. Don’t ask me what I was thinking… I didn't know the first thing about professional photography. I bought a starter Nikon DSLR camera, read books, followed well-known & amazing photographer’s blogs and self taught myself everything about photography. I have loved animals all my life and when we brought Remington into our home, I began photographing him a lot. His doggy daycare Pawz at Play was the first support system I had. I offered dog photography to their clients and employees for practically nothing, just to gain experience. The more I photographed dogs, the more I loved it. It felt right… like I was meant to be doing it. I remember wanting to work with dogs since I was a little girl. I had always wanted to save dogs in shelters, I just never knew how until I started photographing dogs up for adoption. There was a joy in my heart that I can’t really explain after I photographed the first round of dogs at Animal Haven and I haven't looked back since. I am a Christian and I truly believe that I have been guided on this path for a reason. I have been given a gift and the tools to use that gift for the greater good of animals. I know I am truly blessed and thank the Lord and all my supporters every day.

What lens do you shoot with?
Well first you should know I shoot with a Nikon D300 DSLR Camera. No, it’s not the fanciest or priciest camera there is on the market, but it’s not always about how much you pay, it’s about who is behind the lens. My all time favorite lens is the 50mm f/1.8 which is fantastic for portraits and close up shots and I love the ability of depth of field and high bokeh (blurring of background)

What program do you use to edit your photos?
I first sort and crop in Photoshop and then edit finishing touches in Lightroom. I love both softwares, but definitely could not live without Photoshop. This is where I do all of my cosmetic editing and removing of leashes, distracting elements, etc.

How do you get the eyes to show up of a black dog with black eyes?
Photographing an all black dog is very difficult. Having some nice natural light definitely helps and I usually always end up lightening the shadows in Photoshop to help them stand out more. It is possible to photograph a black dog and have their eyes stand out as well, you just may have to edit the photo in post processing to really display the beauty that may not look the best just straight out of the camera.

Is there a fix for the green eye (as opposed to red eye) on a dog when using a flash? In my opinion, there is not a natural fix for the doggy glowing eye problem when using the flash. I am a natural light photographer only and that is one of the main reasons. A flash is not flattering whatsoever in my opinion, especially on a dog. Natural light is beautiful and never causes a glowing eye issue. I would recommend never using the flash, but if you have to, try to get the dog to not look directly at the camera and you should not see the glowing eye issue.

How are you able to photograph adoptable dogs without bringing them all home with you?
That’s the million dollar question. I often ask myself the same thing everytime I finish photographing them. When I first began photographing dogs for adoption last Winter, I had honestly never been to a shelter before in my life. I didn’t know what to expect, I just knew I wanted to save dogs and finally had the courage to do it. I quickly learned that I had to turn off my emotions and my heart just long enough to photograph these dogs and only focus on helping find them a new home. I try not to feel pity, but rather hope that my photograph will speak to someone’s heart and lead them to adopt. Now, of course some of the dogs touch my heart more than others, especially when they climb in my lap and give me kisses. Or, when I am told that a certain dog is very shy or scared and they end up coming right to me and are not afraid of me. Experiences like this help me realize that I am truly meant to be doing this in life and while I know I can’t adopt them all myself and unfortunately can not save every dog, I know that my photos are capturing and displaying these dog’s true spirits for the world to see and I couldn’t be happier for that.

Have you thought about adopting another dog so Remington can have a sibling?
I am sure it comes as a surprise to many that I only have one dog. While my joy in life is photographing dogs and trying to save as many as I can, for me personally, I don’t feel I can handle another dog at this time. I believe you shouldn’t adopt just to save an animal or because they are cute and cuddly, but only if you have the financial ability and willingness to devote your all to any animal you bring into your home. It is a lifelong commitment that should be taken very seriously. Adopting should be well thought out to prevent having to return the dog and putting them through more unnecessary stress and emotional pain.

Is it better to adopt from a kill shelter or a no kill shelter?
One of my supporters Ashley Eis answered this question and I couldn’t have said it better myself. Adopting from a kill shelter makes room for and/or potentially keeps another animal alive longer. But really, any animal you adopt is saving a life. Probably the most important thing when adopting an animal is finding the animal that fits best in your home. Too many people buy/adopt animals based on looks and/or without thinking about the responsibilities. Many of those pets then end up neglected or back in the shelters.

And because a posting isn't complete without a photo, here is baby Remington and one of the first photos I took with my professional camera. As you can see, the quality of my photos has improved from when I first began. It is all about practice and passion! Remember to follow your heart always.


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