7 Reasons You'll Fall For Autumn Pet Portraits

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is hands down my favourite time to photograph pets outdoors. The changing leaves are a gimme, but some of the other reasons may surprise you.

  1. The colours - Hello, Captain Obvious! The changing leaves make Fall arguably the most photogenic time of year (at least here in the Northern Hemisphere). Dog breeds with red and gold coats look gorgeous against the reds, oranges and yellows of the trees. Black and white pets pop with contrast against the colourful backdrop. Even overcast days have a warm and cozy glow.

  2. Clear skies, less haze - Cooler temperatures do away with the hazy skies of summer, leading to more crisp blue skies that contrast strikingly with the warm tones of the leaves.

  3. Speaking of the cooler temperatures, they are ideal for the comfort of your pet! This is the perfect time to capture action shots, without fear of overheating. Less panting and drooling makes for more photogenic pooches.

  4. Beaches and parks are deserted - Especially if you live in a touristy area (as I do, on the Bay of Fundy south of Moncton, NB), beaches parks and trails can be crowded and full of distractions during the summer months. Once the kids are back in school, these outdoor spaces become way less crowded, especially during mid-week.

  5. Fewer bugs - Springtime holds many of the same advantages of autumn. Cooler temperatures, clearer air, plus flowers and blossoms. You know what else Spring has? Blackflies. And Mosquitos. By autumn, the worst of the biting insects have usually passed, creating a much more enjoyable outdoor experience for pets, families, AND photographers. Win, win, win.

  6. Earlier sunsets, later sunrises - Capturing that beautiful magic hour light around sunrise and sunset makes for some extremely early mornings and late evenings during the summer months. By the time autumn rolls around, we can get up at much more civilized hours or get lovely light before dinnertime.

  7. It's the perfect time to start thinking of holiday gifts and cards - Prints for family members and fans, or perhaps a holiday gift for yourself. What better way to spoil yourself and show your over the top love for your furry friends than by preserving their images in gorgeous, timeless, heirloom portraits?

Pet Photos with the Lensbaby Burnside 35

 A winter day with Sage, Penny, and the new Lensbaby Burnside 35 mm lens, at Humber Bay Park West, Toronto.

A winter day with Sage, Penny, and the new Lensbaby Burnside 35 mm lens, at Humber Bay Park West, Toronto.

It's always so exciting when Lensbaby come out with a new lens and let me get my hands on it pre-release to test it out and write a review. The new Burnside 35 has really impressed me with its versatility and sharpness. Photographing pets with a manual focus lens can be a challenge, but the wide angle Burnside 35 makes it easier to achieve focus than many I've used.

This lens even pushed me to get outside my comfort zone and enlist a couple of models to help me put the lens through its paces in a night shoot at Clifton Hill in Niagara Falls. I was surprised by how much I love the results.

 Testing out the new Lensbaby Burnside 35 with a couple of lovely models in Niagara Falls, ON.

Testing out the new Lensbaby Burnside 35 with a couple of lovely models in Niagara Falls, ON.

You can see my full review of the lens here:

A Sneak Peek At The Brand New Lensbaby Burnside 35

Today, Lensbaby announced their latest bundle of joy, the Burnside 35. They were kind enough to send me a top-secret advance copy of the lens a couple of weeks ago so that I would be ready to share my thoughts with the readers of Improve Photography. Here's my take on the Burnside 35.



Pet Photography Tips

I wrote this article, Pet Photography Tips From a Veterinary Technician, for the Improve Photography website, and I could have written a lot more. I'm thinking I might even have a book in me, on this subject, if only I had the discipline to write it! Anyway, I thought some of my subscribers might enjoy, so here it is.

Take better pet photos with the camera you've got.

Adorable chihuahua in a pink coat.
Adorable chihuahua in a pink coat.

Welcome to the tips and tricks section of Hair of the Dog Photography. My goal in writing this is to help you take better photos of your pets with the camera you've got - even if it's just a point and shoot or a smart phone. These tutorials will be aimed mostly at pet owners who want to take better photos of their furry friends and shelter staff whose intake photos of the animals that come through their doors could make the difference between life and death. The common thread is that both groups are usually trying to photograph animals in less than ideal conditions, with less than ideal gear. That doesn't mean you can't get a good photo, though - one that will make your Facebook friends gush or have streams of people wanting to adopt the cat with the cute shelter picture, it's just a bit more challenging.

I've spent a lot of time in the last three years learning about photography. The understanding I've gained has helped improve the photos I take with my "big girl camera" (my DSLR), by leaps and bounds. The thing is, even I don't always have my big camera with me when moments happen. When I'm at work, in the animal shelter, I need to be able to take decent photos of the animals with an outdated point and shoot and no photoshop to fall back on. What I have learned about how the camera works has helped me to get better photos, even with inferior gear. I understand, though, that if you're here, it's probably more because you're a pet lover than an aspiring photographer, so I will keep my explanations simple and show lots of examples and cute pet photos. When possible, I will also provide links to articles exploring the subject in more depth for those who are interested. I hope you'll have fun learning about pet photography along with me. You'll probably find that most of these principles will work equally well to improve your photos of your children and just about everything else, as well. If there are any specific topics you are anxious to see covered, comment below and I'll move them to the top of the list! If you want to make sure you don't miss a post, you can subscribe to my blog by email and you'll receive notifications whenever there's a new post. Alternately, you can sign up for my newsletter and receive updates once every month or so.