Sandra McCarthy Photography: Blog https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog en-us (C) Sandra McCarthy Photography sandramccarthy@comcast.net (Sandra McCarthy Photography) Tue, 06 Oct 2020 23:55:00 GMT Tue, 06 Oct 2020 23:55:00 GMT https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/img/s/v-12/u233064601-o253192829-50.jpg Sandra McCarthy Photography: Blog https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog 120 73 Photographing Dogs on Leash https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2020/10/photographing-dogs-on-leash Good Mojo Manor was kind enough to allow me to do some Fall Session photos on their property recently. They were held outside and luckily there was good weather. 

One challenge of this location is that it is on a busy road in Milford. That means for safety reasons, the dogs needed to be on leash. Even if the dogs have a great sit/stay, I'm not going to take any chances. 

During the shoot, the goal is to keep the leash behind the dog and out of the way as much as possible. This can be a little complicated if you have no assistant and the dog mom/dad has to hold the leash out of the way; not because they aren't coordinated enough to do it, but the dog then tends to want to watch mom or dad, who are now either to the side or behind them. The key is to get them positioned and then use sounds to get the dog to look in my direction which is when you get that wonderful eye contact and the occasional head tilt. 

After the session, I can then use photoshop to remove the leash. 

Here are some examples of photos from the sessions showing the shot of them on leash and then will leashes removed.

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

 

Interested in scheduling your own photo session, Contact me now at 603-305-0886

 

 

 

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sandramccarthy@comcast.net (Sandra McCarthy Photography) dog dog photographer dog photography photography sandra mccarthy photography https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2020/10/photographing-dogs-on-leash Tue, 06 Oct 2020 23:54:55 GMT
Making the most out of more time with our dogs https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2020/3/making-the-most-out-of-more-time-with-our-dogs During this difficult time with the threat of the Coronavirus, your dogs are probably experiencing unprecedented amounts of time with you. I wonder if they’ll get sick of us; I mean we are interrupting their nap time. 

How do we make the most out of more time with our dogs?  I’ve compiled some suggestions:

Start a new exercise regimen

Depending on your dog, that can mean walking or running your local trails. Or if you aren’t up for going far, chasing a ball or frisbee in the yard can do the trick. 

 

Work on some good canine skills

I know my dogs could use some refreshers on the following: 

  • walking easy on a leash
  • no jumping
  • no barking
  • Being groomed

 

Give them some work to do that utilizes their brains

  • hide treats throughout the house
  • consider getting a food dispensing toy or puzzle
  • play hide and seek

 

Teach them some new tricks

Some tricks I’d like to work on include:

  • Put your head down
  • Sit Pretty
  • Hug your sister/brother
  • Raise your ears (looks so much better for photos)

If you have a new puppy, you may want to consider the following:

  • Sit
  • Down
  • Stay
  • Wait
  • and of course potty training!

 

Introduce them during your conference calls

If you are working from home and taking conference calls, introduce them as your coworker (so what if their main job is keeping your feet warm).

 

Hug them close

There’s nothing like doggy hugs and kisses to help with stress relief. 

 

Adopt or Foster

If you don't have a dog, this may be an opportune time to consider adopting or fostering a dog. Reach out to your local shelter by phone or email (most are only open by appointment now). What better time to potty train a puppy than when you are restricted to your home. 

Stay Safe!

 

 

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sandramccarthy@comcast.net (Sandra McCarthy Photography) coronavirus dogs training tricks https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2020/3/making-the-most-out-of-more-time-with-our-dogs Wed, 25 Mar 2020 03:02:51 GMT
Brown https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2018/8/brown This week's blog post will showcase the theme "brown". Below is Chevy, a recent rescue photo shoot model. I was there to photograph both her and a dog named Captain for the Greater Derry Humane Society. Both dogs are hard to place pit bull breeds. They have both since been adopted. I like to think I had a hand in making that happen! 

So back to our theme, Chevy herself was brown, but I also conveniently photographed her on top of brown flooring which gave an interesting monotone effect in some of her photos. See for yourself. 

To see other pet photographers showing off their take on the theme "Brown", head on over to see

Linda Perdue of VP Shoots Photography  serving Tampa, Florida. 

Come find me on Instagram to get your fix of puppies!

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sandramccarthy@comcast.net (Sandra McCarthy Photography) dog dog photographer dog photography nh pet pet photographer pet photography photography sandra mccarthy photography https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2018/8/brown Fri, 31 Aug 2018 08:00:00 GMT
Doorways https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2018/7/doorways This week's blog post will showcase dogs in doorways. No, not dogs barking at the doorway or trying to escape out the doorway or jump on your guests at the doorway (ps. my dogs would never do that :) Nope, these doorway photos are of dogs sitting quietly and cutely in front of doorways. Doorways provide a natural frame for your photo and in some cases a really beautiful compositional element. 

The photos I have today are not new. The first few were taken at Barkelona over two years ago now. The photos were in an old gorgeous Spanish Villa or in the beautiful town not far away called Sitges. The models were provided by a local trainer who put the word out to some of her customers that we needed some cute pups and they delivered. 

 

This next photo was taken in Quito, Ecuador. Quito is a very poor city and there are numerous street dogs. This poor boy made his home in this tourist area where he can get scraps of food. It was difficult to see them in this situation. They were all very gentle but in need of medical attention and some regular meals. Needless to say he got all the food that I and my traveling companion had with us.  "You can do something big, you can do something small, but doing something is better than nothing at all"- unknown  Someday I'd like to return to this place in a different capacity to see what I can do to help. This image was voted top 10 in the Hair of the Dog Blog Monthly Photo contest for the theme of; you guessed it: Doorways. 

To see other pet photographers showing off their dogs in doorways, head on over to see Kathie Ono of ONO Pet Photographyserving Fairhope, Alabama. 

Come find me on Instagram to get your fix of puppies!

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sandramccarthy@comcast.net (Sandra McCarthy Photography) dog dog photographer dog photography nh pet pet photographer pet photography photography sandra mccarthy photography https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2018/7/doorways Fri, 20 Jul 2018 08:00:00 GMT
Head Tilts https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2018/7/head-tilts It's magical! If you can somehow manage to get a dog or cat or any animal to tilt their head in an inquisitive fashion and you manage to get a photo of it; it's truly magical. There's something about a head tilt that makes the viewer just melt and go "awwww...."

The head tilt is a photo to aspire to in any photo session. In most cases the head tilt comes when a dog hears a new or strange sound. I carry around a necklace with several noise makers, some of which can elicit a head tilt. The noise makers are either whistles or squeakers or kazoos. As a photographer, it's important to be ready to shoot as soon as those sounds happen, otherwise you are likely to miss it!  And if you miss it, many times the same sounds will be ignored since they are no longer interesting. It's important to have several different sounds available in your arsenal. There are also several noise making phone apps that make animal sounds. The challenge as a photographer with no assistant will be in using the noise makers and taking photos at the same time, but give it a try!

 

To see other pet photographers showing off their head tilts, head on over to see Jessika Wasik of Bark & Gold Photographycelebrating the joy and love between Pittsburgh pets and their people. 

Come find me on Instagram to get your fix of puppies!

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sandramccarthy@comcast.net (Sandra McCarthy Photography) dog dog photographer dog photography nh pet pet photographer pet photography photography sandra mccarthy photography https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2018/7/head-tilts Fri, 13 Jul 2018 08:00:00 GMT
Colorful https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2018/5/colorful Tis the season here in New England for all the plants to start coming into bloom. What a perfect time for the theme of "Color". 

One of the first plants to flower in my area is the plant called the forsythia. Most of them are a vibrant yellow. They seem to grow wild in many areas. The wild ones aren't always that pretty, a little on the scraggly side. Not that I'm complaining, but they aren't necessarily the best choice for photos. I did though see some really well kept ones along a really busy road in town, so I fashioned a stake for my boy Bogey and off we went to take some photos. 

Luckily my boy isn't phased by cars whizzing by, especially when there are treats in hand. He was; as always; a great model. Here are some of the results:

You'll notice in photo number one, his leg on the front left is missing a patch of fur. He recently had an abscess and had to have a tooth removed. He's doing great, but he's going to be looking goofy for awhile. In the follow on pictures I patched up his fur in photoshop; and of course I photoshopped out his leash in all of them. 

To see other pet photographers showing off their colorful photos, head on over to see Shae Pepper Photography

Come find me on Instagram to get your fix of puppies!

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sandramccarthy@comcast.net (Sandra McCarthy Photography) dog dog photographer dog photography nh pet pet photographer pet photography photography sandra mccarthy photography https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2018/5/colorful Fri, 04 May 2018 08:00:00 GMT
Headshots https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2018/4/headshots Headshots are a type of photo many humans use for things like dating sites or Facebook profiles or Linkedin. They are images that are generally showing a person's head and shoulders. The goal is to make the person as attractive as possible to help either find a mate or help in getting a job. The headshot is one of the tools of actors and actresses to get noticed for casting roles. The headshot should be professional but should help the person stand out from the crowd. 

With pets, the headshot can be used in a similar fashion to help an animal get adopted. More often than not, the background is a simple non-distracting background, to really showcase the animal's features but the background can also be used to grab attention. You want the dog to look happy; which can sometimes be difficult for dogs in a rescue situation. A great headshot show's off the animal's personality.

Some tips for good doggy headshots:

  • Showcase the head and shoulders
  • Make sure both eyes are visible and focused towards the camera
  • Try to get the animals ears standing up (if they have those types of ears!), ears down can make the pet appear nervous/scared
  • Try not to have the head turned at a strange angle. You don't want the whites of the dogs eyes showing. It feels awkward.
  • Try not to have the face tipped too far up (looking in the dog's nose)
  • Teeth showing is ok, but no aggressive looks!
  • Tongue out is cute sometimes but can often feel like the dog is stressed.
  • Props can be helpful if you can get the dog to wear them. 
  • If possible remove leashes
  • Make sure no fencing or cages are visible
  • Avoid direct sunlight (to reduce harsh shadows and keep the dog from squinting)
  • Shoot from the dog's level

Here are some examples from this past weekend, where I photographed two dogs looking for their furever homes. They are available through The Greater Derry Humane Society

This is Captain. He is a young pit bull mix. Approximately 30-35lbs. 

This is Chevy. She is also a pit bull mix. She has velvety soft fur and was nervous around the camera. She was approximately 50lbs and was super happy when the camera wasn't aimed in her direction. Because of her anxiety with the camera, it was difficult to make her look happy. I've since found out that she may have met her match! Yay Chevy!

To see other pet photographers showing off their headshot photos, head on over to see Tim of Tim Evans Photography servicing Mississippi.

Come find me on Instagram to get your fix of puppies!

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sandramccarthy@comcast.net (Sandra McCarthy Photography) dog dog photographer dog photography nh pet pet photographer pet photography photography sandra mccarthy photography https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2018/4/headshots Fri, 20 Apr 2018 08:00:00 GMT
Leading Lines https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2018/4/leading-lines A really effective way of getting focus on your subject, is to use leading lines to draw the viewer's eye towards your area of focus. You can use all sorts of lines for this purpose including fences, pathways, benches, logs or a rock wall. They can be man made or made by nature. The lines don't need to be straight as long as they lead to the subject or incorporate the subject along its path. 

When I'm out on a session, I look for these lines and below I've got some examples.

The first is found at plum island, Mass. This walkway and many others like it are perfect places to place your subject. In the summertime, dogs aren't allowed in the park so I took the opportunity to shoot over there in the winter to get this image. 

This second image was taken indoors in the hallway of a mill building. This little escape artist got out of his loft home to venture out into the exciting hallway. The repeating and converging lines help make the image more interesting. 

 

This next image is of a girl named Delilah, who was found roaming in the compost pile outside a home. She was extremely emaciated, was missing part of one foot and was swollen all over from apparent allergies. I took her photo to help bring attention to this girl and help her get the resources she needs to recover. I'm happy to report she has put on weight and is being treated for her allergies. She is currently in foster care through the Greater Derry Humane Society until she fully recovers. We'll never know what happened to her in her past. I can only hope her future is bright.

Here I used the lines of the garden gates to frame this beautiful girl. 

To see other pet photographers use leading lines, head on over to see Linda of VP Shoots Photography servicing Tampa Bay Florida.

Come find me on Instagram to get your fix of puppies!

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sandramccarthy@comcast.net (Sandra McCarthy Photography) dog dog photographer dog photography nh pet pet photographer pet photography photography sandra mccarthy photography https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2018/4/leading-lines Fri, 06 Apr 2018 08:00:00 GMT
Revisit https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2018/3/revisit Sometimes you look back at previous images and think about what you could have/should have done differently. Ok, its not sometimes for me; it's all the time. I second guess everything.

  • "I should have gone at a different time of day"
  • "Dang that one's out of focus, but it's the perfect pose" 
  • "Shoot, I didn't notice that tree sticking out of his head"
  • "That background is really ugly"
  • "Why didn't I try this or that or the other thing......"

When shooting for clients, a do-over just isn't possible. Sometimes it means editing the photo in a different way. Editing can really change the feel of an image. You can do simple things like cropping differently or changing the image to black and white. It's truly amazing how much you can change about an image and often very easily.

Below is an image I took several years ago. It's an image of a friend's dog Chloe. She is a super beautiful girl who loves to pose and pose and pose. I love the original image of her, but I figured I'd try some alternatives to see what else I could come up with. 

Here is the original. 

This is just a simple crop. Isn't she beautiful?

Here she is in black and white. 

In contrast, here is the image with a tad more color :)

 

And here I've applied an oil painting effect. 

To see other pet photographers transform some of their prior images, head on over to see Nancy of Nancy Kieffer Photography servicing Central New York, the Adirondacks and beyond. 

Come find me on Instagram to get your fix of puppies!

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sandramccarthy@comcast.net (Sandra McCarthy Photography) dog dog photographer dog photography nh pet pet photographer pet photography photography sandra mccarthy photography https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2018/3/revisit Fri, 23 Mar 2018 08:00:00 GMT
Minimalist https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2018/3/minimalist This week's blog theme is Minimalism. Using a minimalistic approach means keeping things simple. This can mean removing as much as possible from your image such as other objects, a distracting background or a competing texture. It can also mean reducing colors that can compete with your focal point. 

This image is not completely lacking color but it is what I consider to be monochromatic; all of the colors are very similar and in the same tonal range.

This girl's name is Mona and she's available for adoption through Puppy Pimps Animal Rescue in Fort Lauderdale Florida. 

And since we got a dumping of snow here in New England, I took an opportunity to use the solid white snow as a backdrop to create a minimalist look. This one can also be called High Key where the majority of the image is white.  PS. I'm ready for spring, can someone make the snow stop. Please. 

 

To see what other pet photographers have written about minimalism, head on over to see the post from photographer Ursula of Ursula Garrison Photography servicing Northern Wisconsin and the Chequamegon Bay Area. 

Come find me on Instagram to get your fix of puppies!

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sandramccarthy@comcast.net (Sandra McCarthy Photography) dog dog photographer dog photography nh pet pet photographer pet photography photography sandra mccarthy photography https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2018/3/minimalist Fri, 09 Mar 2018 09:00:00 GMT
Wide Angle https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2018/3/wide-angle Using what's called a wide angle lens for pet photography can result in some really cute and interesting images. Traditionally wide angle lenses are used in landscape photography to aid in getting a view that is much wider than what the average eye can see. A wide angle lens can capture what is often on the periphery of our vision. The problem with these lenses is they sometimes introduce distortion into an image. Or as I like to call it: the bobble head effect.  

Objects that are closer to the camera can sometime appear to be larger than everything else in the photograph, sometimes disturbingly so, but it's really a fun effect. 

Here are some examples:  

In these first two, the paw/legs closest to the camera looks alarmingly huge. Their legs appear way too long or too big for the dog's body.

In this one, the dog's head just seems way too big for the rest of his body. 

 

To see what other pet photographers have written about wide angle shooting, head on over to see the post from photographer Danyel Rogers of Wag to My Heart servicing the Portland Metro area of Oregon. 

Come find me on Instagram

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sandramccarthy@comcast.net (Sandra McCarthy Photography) dog dog photographer dog photography nh pet pet photographer pet photography photography sandra mccarthy photography wide wide angle https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2018/3/wide-angle Fri, 02 Mar 2018 09:00:00 GMT
Silhouette https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2018/2/silhouette In my previous blogs about Catchlights, depth of field and Fill the Frame, I discussed techniques that create photos that help the viewer focus on your subject and direct their attention to the details of your subject, usually the dog's face or eyes. In this week's blog I am showcasing silhouette photos, where there is entirely a lack of detail in your subject, where your subject is rendered into a black mass that shows your subject in outline only; a representation of the dog. While none of the details of the dog are visible, the outline of the animal is fully present, usually against a gorgeous backdrop like a sunrise or sunset. 

Typically silhouette images are taken late or early in the day, but it's not a requirement. These times of the day will give you some colorful skies, but a silhouette can be against any bright background. To get a full silhouette where the dogs head, and legs stand out against the background, you should position the animal high enough that their entire body is visible in front of a open sky. This may mean positioning them on a hill or a rock. You as the photographer may need to get low to the ground to achieve this. 

You also want to have a side view of your subject so you can easily recognize the dog's features. If they are facing into your or away from you, the animal will not be recognizable as a dog since his features won't be discernible. 

Here are some examples. 

 

To see what other pet photographers have written about silhouettes, head on over to see the post from photographer Cahlean Klenke of About a Dog Photography (servicing St Cloud, St Paul, Minneapolis and Central Minnesota)

Come find me on Instagram

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sandramccarthy@comcast.net (Sandra McCarthy Photography) dog dog photographer dog photography nh pet pet photographer pet photography photography sandra mccarthy photography silhouette https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2018/2/silhouette Fri, 23 Feb 2018 12:45:00 GMT
Catchlights https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2018/1/catchlights Catchlight is a term you may not be familiar with. It is defined as a light source reflecting on the surface of your subjects eye, producing a light spot/sparkle on the eye. It is this catchlight that often gives life to the portrait. When a photo doesn't have catch lights, it can sometimes feel dull or flat. You may not know why that is, its just a feeling the image gives, but often it is because there are no catchlights in the eyes. 

Any light source can produce catchlights. This includes the sun, a static light, a flash. As the photographer you can control the placement of these catchlights. Light sources coming from below will produce catchlights in the bottom of the eye and light sources from above will produce catchlights in the top of the eye. Catchlights on the top of the eye tends to be more pleasing since it replicates what the sun will naturally do.

If you are using natural light, simply face your subject towards any light source, an open sky is a good choice or if inside, towards an open door or window or any reflective surface. 

If you are using an artificial light, you can easily control the placement of the catchlight by placing your light sources directed at your subject. You can also control the shape of the catchlight. A circular artificial light will produce a circular catchlight, whereas a square on the end of your light can produce a square catchlight. Is Square or circular better? This is really personal preference but round ones are more natural looking.

This first image was taken outside but with flash, so the catchlight was produced by an artificial light. This is Rosie.  A super wiggly lab who looks really serious in this photo don't you think?

This next photo was taken indoors with a flash.

If you look closely at the eyes, you'll notice the catchlight on the left eye is round, whereas the catchlight on the right eye is square. That is because there were two artificial lights; one round and one square. 

There are of course ways of adding or removing catchlights in software such as photoshop after the photo has been taken, but do yourself a favor and get in right in camera. It will save you a lot of work. 

To see what other pet photographers have written about catchlights, head on over to see the post from photographer Shelly Ellis of Shelly Ellis Photography (servicing Orangevale and Greater Sacramento, CA)

Come find me on Instagram

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sandramccarthy@comcast.net (Sandra McCarthy Photography) dog dog photographer dog photography fill the frame nh pet pet photographer pet photography photography sandra mccarthy photography https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2018/1/catchlights Fri, 26 Jan 2018 09:00:00 GMT
Fill the Frame https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2018/1/fill-the-frame Last week, I made a blog post about using the Rule of Thirds to produce interesting images. This week, I have another photo technique called Filling the Frame.  Filling the frame really just means getting in close to your subject. Many of us tend to be too far away from the item that is the focus of our image. This can leave too much area around the edges of our frame which often contains distractions which can lure the eye away. By getting in close, you remove many of those distractions, plus you let the viewer see the close up details of your subject. And who doesn't want to see those cute close up details of our pups or kitties! 

So how do you get in close? There are several ways.

The first way is to move closer to your subject! Get those feet moving and get closer. This particular method may not work with all dogs, since some dogs may not feel comfortable with you or your camera.

The second way is to use the zoom capability of your lens to zoom into your subject. This is great if the lens you are using gives you enough zoom capability.

The third option is to crop your image after you've taken the photo. This of course requires software that provides cropping options. This last option gives you the most flexibility since you can try cropping in numerous ways and can choose the best crop. 

Let's look at some before and after examples of Filling the Frame. In these first two examples, I cropped the images in photo editing software after the photo was taken. 

Thoughts? I think they both are much more interesting close up. You can see more details of the animals and many distractions have been removed, helping the viewer focus on your subject. 

Here are a few more examples of filling the frame. 

Don't be afraid to get in close. 

To see other examples of Fill the Frame, head on over to see the post from photographer Kate Falconer of Furry Toes Photos (servicing Santa Cruz, CA)

Come find me on Instagram

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sandramccarthy@comcast.net (Sandra McCarthy Photography) dog dog photographer dog photography fill the frame nh pet pet photographer pet photography photography sandra mccarthy photography https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2018/1/fill-the-frame Fri, 19 Jan 2018 09:00:00 GMT
Rule of Thirds https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2018/1/rule-of-thirds For any of you who like to photograph your own pets, there are several ingredients that go into creating a beautiful image. These can include good lighting, a good expression, a nice background, eye contact or an interesting composition.  One of the the ways to get an interesting composition is using what's called the Rule of Thirds. The "rule" is merely a suggestion to put the focus of your image in one of 4 places in your frame. When you bisect an image into thirds horizontally and vertically, you get four points where the lines intersect. One of these four points is where you put your focus. You can see an example of these four points in the image below. 

All too often, photos will have the focus point right in the middle of the frame. While this can produce lovely images, it can get boring.  Putting the dogs face or eye in one of the four positions indicated by the Rule of Thirds can create some variety in your images. Here are some examples: 

Give it a try with your pets. It doesn't require any special equipment!

To see other examples of the Rule of Thirds, head on over to see the post from photographer Kelly Marcuccio Middlebrooks of Little White Dog Pet Photography  (servicing Sioux Falls, SD)

Come find me on Instagram

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sandramccarthy@comcast.net (Sandra McCarthy Photography) dog dog action dog photographer dog photography nh pet pet photographer pet photography photography sandra mccarthy photography https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2018/1/rule-of-thirds Fri, 12 Jan 2018 09:00:00 GMT
Blank Slate https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2018/1/blank-slate Happy New Year!

The new year begins, resolutions are stated, it's time to wipe the slate clean for the new year. It's only fitting that the theme of my first blog post of the year be Blank Slate. No preconceived notions about what my photos for this theme needs to be, just my own thoughts and ideas around what I'd like to focus on this week. 

One of my photography resolutions is to incorporate flash more into my work. Integrating flash allows me to take more dynamic photos than only natural light sometimes allows. Flash can help you overcome poor light conditions either indoors or out.  It's a great tool to have in your arsenal if the weather turns badly on the day you planned your shoot and you need to head indoors or if you are in low light or no light conditions such as after sunset or before sunrise or in dark places. 

Here are some photos of Rosie, a pitbull mix. These were taken with a combination of natural light from a window, a flash and a reflector to direct light towards the dog. Naturally a very shy dog and often one to turn away when a camera is pointed at her, Rosie was a real trooper and came out of her shell, which is remarkable when you think not only was a camera pointed at her, but lights were also flashing at her. 

These next two photos were a little more complicated since I was trying to incorporate the nice blurry feel (bokeh) of the lights on the Christmas tree behind the dogs. Less successful than those above because there is no catch light in their eyes, but just as cute in my opinion since they are my own fur babies. 

Lots of room for improvement, but I'm making progress already. Let me know what you think. 

To see what other photographers did with this challenge, head on over to see Jessika Wasik of Bark and Gold Photography to see her example of the "Blank Slate" challenge.

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sandramccarthy@comcast.net (Sandra McCarthy Photography) dog dog action dog photographer dog photography nh pet pet photographer pet photography photography sandra mccarthy photography https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2018/1/blank-slate Fri, 05 Jan 2018 09:00:00 GMT
Relaxing https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2017/12/relaxing This time of year, most people are busily getting ready for the holidays; getting gifts, shopping for dinner, going to parties, preparing for some time away from work. I know it's that way for me and most of the people I know.

So to combat the holiday stresses, here are some photos of some puppies relaxing.

Now, my idea of relaxing isn't your typical lay on the couch sort of thing. For me relaxing is doing something I truly enjoy, which often means some athletic activity; so today, here are some shots of pups "relaxing" in the snow: 

Ok, we do our fair share of sitting on the couch too:

I hope you take some time this holiday season to kick back and do your own form of relaxing. Happy Holidays!

To see what other photographers did with this challenge, head on over to see Jessika Wasik of Bark and Gold Photography to see her example of the "Relaxing" challenge.

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sandramccarthy@comcast.net (Sandra McCarthy Photography) dog dog action dog photographer dog photography nh pet pet photographer pet photography photography sandra mccarthy photography https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2017/12/relaxing Fri, 15 Dec 2017 09:00:00 GMT
Water https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2017/11/water This week's photo theme is water. Lucky enough for me, I recently had a photo session that had several water locations. This session was for a client with two dogs, one a hound mix named Oliver and the other a cattle dog mix named Maggie. 

We met at Kent Pond in Vermont. If you've never been there, it's worth the trip.

The session itself had been rescheduled a few times over the summer months because of weather, so I was glad we were finally going to be able to make it happen. The trip is 2.5 hours away from my home, so I was awake early and on the road so we could get some good morning light. The entire drive was a complete fog fest. I was sure I'd arrive at the location only to be socked in with fog. Even as I neared the location, the fog was just not lifting. Just as I drove up to the pond, the fog seemed to clear a bit. It left some beautiful fog on the pond but cleared enough for good visibility. Yay!

This location had the pond itself as well as a river flowing into the pond for a backdrop. The two pup's mom is a dog trainer, so these two were very well behaved. Maggie wasn't too keen on the camera itself but she was still a willing model. 

Below are some of the photos with water as a prominent aspect of the photo. 

 

Both dogs are avid hikers (though Oliver doesn't venture too far these days) and have hiked trails all throughout Vermont and NH. They and their mom are active on the Happy Trail Dogs group on Facebook. I hope I was able to capture some special memories of them for their family.

To see what other photographers did with this challenge, head on over to see I Got the Shot Photography (serving Northeastern, PA) to see her example of the "Water" challenge.

 

 

 

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sandramccarthy@comcast.net (Sandra McCarthy Photography) dog dog action dog photographer dog photography nh pet pet photographer pet photography photography sandra mccarthy photography https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2017/11/water Fri, 17 Nov 2017 09:00:00 GMT
Bokeh https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2017/7/bokeh This week's 52 Week Project theme is BOKEH.

"What is Bokeh?", you might ask. Its the soft blurry background typically found in portraits. To achieve this beautiful result, you will want to photograph your subject with a shallow depth of field (f1.4 for example) rendering the background blurry/out of focus, but with your subject beautifully in focus. In some cases, this technique will render with a soft background blur, while other times it will create soft circular reflections that are quite pleasing to the eye. You will also get a much nicer result if the background is not too close behind your subject and if there are twinkling lights or light patches in the background. 

The technique is used for portrait photography as it helps to focus the viewer on the subject of the photo while creating a very pleasing background. 

Here are some examples of bokeh:

To see what other photographers did with this challenge, head on over to see Linda Perdue at VP Shoots Photography (serving Tampa Bay Florida) to see her example of the "Bokeh" challenge.

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sandramccarthy@comcast.net (Sandra McCarthy Photography) Dog Dog Action Dog Photographer Dog Photography NH Pet Photography Sandra McCarthy Photography https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2017/7/bokeh Fri, 07 Jul 2017 08:00:00 GMT
Movement https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2017/6/movement This week's 52 Week Project them is MOVEMENT. Dogs are always on the move. The key is capturing that movement, capturing that moment of shear joy. When dogs are moving fast, you often don't really get to see their expressions, but with a carefully taken photo, you can stop the action, grab that expression, that emotion, that look in their eyes that says "I love to play", which in turn makes us love them all the more. 

Here are a few shots of dogs just enjoying being a dog: 

To see what other photographers did with this challenge, head on over to see Cynthia Wood at Pets We Love Photography (serving Toronto Canada) to see her example of the "Movement" challenge.

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sandramccarthy@comcast.net (Sandra McCarthy Photography) Dog Dog Action Dog Photographer Dog Photography NH Pet Photography Sandra McCarthy Photography https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2017/6/movement Fri, 09 Jun 2017 08:00:00 GMT
Colorful https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2017/6/colorful This week's 52 Week Project them is COLORFUL. It is up to the photographer to interpret the theme. I've recently been seeing alot of photos come through on my Facebook feed showing dogs in a sea of bluebells. The photos have been gorgeous. I've never seen bluebells in New Hampshire so that really isn't an option but I figured I'd go on the hunt for some beautiful colored flowers. 

As an alternative to the bluebells, I went in search of Lupines. Last year they were in full bloom at a local college, so I drove by there this past weekend. I found only a few and not bunched up so they weren't going to be the best backdrop. I have seen a lot of them in bloom along our highways, but that location is not exactly conducive for pet photography. 

But lo and behold, I'm driving home the other day and in a new housing community there is a huge pile of newly dug up dirt with a sea of yellow flowers blooming all along it, so I decided that was my location for this week. 

Bogey (my pup) and I headed over there a few days later for our photo shoot. One house in the new neighborhood is inhabited and of course they were outside when we pulled up and got out of the truck with camera gear in tow. (I'm sure they thought we were strange). Anyways, into the flowers we go (checking for possible tick infestations - none, phew). As we walk into the flowers, I realize they are really tall. Bogey had to be strategically placed so the flowers didn't hide his face. He also thought those flowers were awfully tasty so he spent some time munching on them. It took me a few minutes to get his attention focused back on me. 

Here are a few choice shots: 

I'm still on the hunt for lupines. If you see any, let me know where!

To see what other photographers did with this challenge, head on over to see Cahlean Klenke at About a Dog Photography (serving Central MN) to see her example of the "Colorful" challenge.

 

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sandramccarthy@comcast.net (Sandra McCarthy Photography) Dog Dog Photographer Dog Photography NH Pet Photography Sandra McCarthy Photography https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2017/6/colorful Fri, 02 Jun 2017 08:00:00 GMT
Sunsets https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2017/5/sunsets This week in my pet photography challenge (Week 21), the theme is sunsets. This is very convenient since I recently did two shoots, two days in a row that had beautiful sunsets. I don't often see spectacular sunsets, but I was in Cape Cod where the weather was fantastic, the camaraderie exceptional and the dogs gorgeous. 

My models were Minney the Chihuahua, Haley the Bernese Mountain Dog and Bogey the Australian Shepherd. Bogey is my fur baby and he is a star model. He will do anything for treats and on this day he posed for hours. He was such a trooper. All the dogs at these shoots were stars. They were well trained and put up with several hours of posing and being directed around. They of course, also had an opportunity to have fun on the beach playing in the water and with each other. 

I took two different approaches with my shots.

One technique is to silhouette the dog (and owner). Below are a few of those shots.

The second technique is to have the dog backlit by the sunset and then front lit using flash. Here are a few examples:

To see what other photographers did with this challenge, head on over to see Cahlean Klenke at About a Dog Photography (serving Central MN) to see her example of the "Sunset" challenge.

 

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sandramccarthy@comcast.net (Sandra McCarthy Photography) Dog Dog Photographer Dog Photography NH Pet Photography Sandra McCarthy Photography sunset https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2017/5/sunsets Fri, 26 May 2017 08:00:00 GMT
Low Angle https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2017/5/low-angle Each week, a theme is provided to challenge a group of pet photographers to try something different. It is up to each photographer to interpret the theme and provide photographs showcasing it. Week 20 of the Pet Photography Project 52 challenge has a theme of "Low Angle".

When photographing dogs, it's recommended that you get down at their level. This does a few things, first it makes the dog more comfortable with you and your camera since you are not towering over them with this big ugly one eyed machine that makes clicking noises at them, but it also provides a view of your dog that you and most other's rarely ever see. Traditionally, when you encounter a dog, you are looking down at them from above. Think about when you meet a dog being walked out on the street, you walk up and usually look down at them. Most dogs are generally much smaller than we are, so that's how we usually see them.

Bringing yourself down to their eye level gives you a completely different perspective that offers you a view as other dogs might see them. You can see their full body from the front and their full face and neck. It's far more attractive that just seeing a face looking up at you.

Here are a few examples:

This is Minney, an 8lb chihuahua. How often are you not looking down at such a small dog? Getting down to eye level gives her a much bigger presence. Getting to eye level with this sized dog means lying on your belly in front of her. 

Next is Bogey the Australian Shepherd. Isn't he handsome? In this case, with him on a rock, getting to eye level wasn't that difficult. 

Getting below eye level takes things one step further. If you can get yourself in a position where you are looking up at them, well now you're talking. In this position, the dog looks larger than life and it adds a majestic quality to them.

Meet Chloe, isn't she stunning? Doesn't she deserve to be put on a pedestal?

Here's another below angle shot with Bogey, again as my model. 

To take it one step further would be to take a photo of them from directly below (for example up through a glass table), that's on my list of something to try!

To see what other photographers did with this challenge, head on over to see Elaine Mueller Tweedy from I Got the Shot Photography (serving Northeastern PA) to see her example of the "Low Angle" challenge.

 

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sandramccarthy@comcast.net (Sandra McCarthy Photography) Dog Dog Photographer Dog Photography NH Pet Photography Sandra McCarthy Photography https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2017/5/low-angle Fri, 19 May 2017 08:00:00 GMT
Natural Light https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2017/2/naturallight Each week, a theme is provided to challenge a group of pet photographers to try something different. It is up to each photographer to interpret the theme and provide photographs showcasing it. Week 3 of the Pet Photography Project 52 challenge has a theme of "Natural Light".

I am primarily a natural light photographer, so most of my work is shot outside using only the available light. No Flash or external lights are used. Because I am at the mercy of the light produced by the sun, I try to time my shoots so that my subjects are never in direct sunlight since direct sunlight can be very harsh and produces photos that are not very attractive. That is not always possible or practical. In the following photos, the photos were indeed taken mid-day but the sun was blocked by clouds. 

My subjects for these photos were Rosie, Birdie and Bogey. These three pups get along fantastically, often joining one another for hikes and snowshoe jaunts in the mountains of NH. Only Bogey (the Aussie) likes to pose for the camera. The other two require lots of prodding and lots of tasty treats. 

 

To see what other photographers did with this challenge, head on over to see Jodie Pholl from Pawtrait (serving Ipswich Australia) to see her example of the "Natural Light" challenge.

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sandramccarthy@comcast.net (Sandra McCarthy Photography) Dog Dog Photographer Dog Photography Pet Photography Sandra McCarthy Photography https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2017/2/naturallight Fri, 17 Feb 2017 09:00:00 GMT
Love https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2017/2/love Week 2 of the Pet Photography Project 52 challenge has a theme of "Love". Each week, a theme is provided to challenge a group of pet photographers to try something different. It is up to each photographer to interpret the theme "Love" and provide an associated photograph showcasing it. 

Photo #1 (on the left) is of Albert, a one year old labrador that I met at a local pet pool who was totally in "love" with his tennis ball. Albert was enamored with his tennis ball, and when he had more than one, he was even happier. He played for over an hour with reckless abandon, paying little attention to other dogs in the pool (much to the dismay of my poor pup). 

Photo #2 (on the right) is Birdie. She is sporting her New England Patriots gear and showing her love of the team. Well maybe she's showing off her parents love of the team! Fantastic win for her favorite Patriots in SuperBowl 51. #GoPats #GOAT

To see what other photographers did with this challenge, head on over to see Darlene Dykas Woodward from Pant the Town Photography (serving MA and NH) to see her example of the "Love" challenge.

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sandramccarthy@comcast.net (Sandra McCarthy Photography) Dog Dog Photographer Dog Photography Pet Photography Sandra McCarthy Photography https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2017/2/love Fri, 10 Feb 2017 09:00:00 GMT
Photo Editing Magic https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2017/2/photo-editing-magic This is my first post for a photography challenge called Pet Photography Project 52. Each week, a theme is provided to challenge a group of pet photographers to try something different. This week's challenge is "Before and After" and suggests we give you a behind the scene's look at a photo before and after it has been edited on a computer. 

Sometimes your location conditions are not ideal. Perhaps your pet doesn't feel comfortable anywhere but at home, but you just don't have the space in your home that has that perfect background or has the best lighting, or you find yourself in a situation where you could really use a flash but don't have one with you.  Through the magic of products like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, some simple corrections can be made to make it look like you were taking photos in the studio with great lighting. 

In my photos shown below, the original photo (on the left) was taken in a bedroom with window light coming in from the right. You'll notice an outlet on the wall and some light strips cast by the windows. You'll also notice the dog's fur is quite yellow. The photo was taken without a flash, but really could have used one. Using Lightroom and Photoshop, I am able to adjust these distractions to get you to focus squarely on the Dog (photo on the right). I also adjusted the exposure a bit, cropped in a little tighter and voila, the dog looks fantastic! Isn't he adorable?

To see what other photographers did with this challenge, head on over to see Jessica Wasik from Bark and Gold Photography (in Pittsburgh) to see her example of the "Before and After" challenge.

 

 

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sandramccarthy@comcast.net (Sandra McCarthy Photography) Australian Shephard Dog Photographer Dog Photography NH Pet Pet Photographer Pet Photos Photo Editing Photography Sandra McCarthy Photography https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2017/2/photo-editing-magic Fri, 03 Feb 2017 09:00:00 GMT
Barkelona https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2016/4/barkelona I've been toying with getting more serious with my photography, but not just any old photography: Pet Photography! To understand what I was getting myself into, I decided to attend Barkelona (an out of this world pet photography workshop), located in where else? Barcelona, Spain! 

It may seem crazy to go all that way just for Pet Photography, but it was hosted and taught by three incredible photographers: Kaylee Greer (http://dogbreathphoto.com/), Nicole Begley (http://nicolebegleyphotography.com/)  and Charlotte Reeves (http://www.charlottereeves.com.au/) and situated at an extraordinary villa an hour away from Barcelona. 

It was a wonderful experience and incredibly inspiring to learn from not only the instructors but various other photographers in attendance. We had fantastic weather, lots of great adorable dog models and some fantastic food. I look forward to putting what I've learned into practice and creating some incredible pet photography.

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sandramccarthy@comcast.net (Sandra McCarthy Photography) #Barkelona Pet photography https://www.sandramccarthyphoto.com/blog/2016/4/barkelona Sat, 23 Apr 2016 23:51:41 GMT