With a look like this…

Some curses are blessings in disguise. Last fall, I inherited responsibility for taking the dog’s photos for their website profiles. A lot more work, but simple enough? Not so!

For every shot that makes it –

there are dozens more that go into the recycle bin.

I try to get the dogs shortly after they arrive so we can share them as quickly as possible with the team and expedite their going homes. Those first couple of days can be an adjustment for the dogs resulting in sad faces. Some of those looks tug so hard at the heart that they help them get home immediately…like Talulah.

But what I really hope to capture is the dog’s true personality, be it playful, rowdy, sweet, or silly which often means revisiting them over the course of a week or so.

Adorableness is easy-just stick a puppy in front of the lens.

But in sussing out their true selves, I get some of the strangest, goofiest, and loudest looks!

A good assistant is highly recommended. Squeak-makers, tennis balls, and treats are required. Getting at dog eye level means mud and wet are part of the deal. And you had better learn quickly just when to step out of the way lest you get run over.

They can be devilishly frustrating.

I can’t tell you how many times tongues have been stuck out at me.

It is impossible not to smile back at a face like this.

It is time-consuming work, but incredibly rewarding. I get to be one of the first people they meet and watch their personalities transform.

And as their frequent “going home” photographer, I get to bookend their time with us.

A blessing indeed.

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I am a nascent gardener, rescuer, and photographer, chronicling the journey of the dogs at Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary near Sacramento, CA - and the Memorial Garden we have devoted to them.

17 thoughts on “With a look like this…”

  1. Audrey,
    You have a beautiful gift for photos AND words. Thank you for telling the beautiful stories for these amazing dogs!

  2. I’m in love, multiple times over! If I had a house big enough to fit them all, and a wallet full enough to feed them, groom them, and take them to the vet when they needed to go, I’d adopt them all! I love all those goofy, fun pix!

  3. I think evidence of your success as a “puppy photographer” is that each and every dog you’ve introduced has stolen my heart! I think your photography is absolutely perfect! And yes, you DO capture each dog’s special essence and personality. I feel like we get to know them–at least a little! 🙂

  4. I loved this tale, Audrey! This year, a photographer friend of mine published a book of dogs who frequent the large park nearby. Like you, she has a gift for capturing the best of dogs and a lot of tips and tricks and I’ve watched her at work in amazement. It is so wonderful to see the pups at Gardens for Goldens through your eyes, especially the transformation of these adorable ones. Thank you for sharing!

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