A different type of studio portrait for the dogs of Arkansas Children’s Northwest.

Last year I had the opportunity to take portraits of some of the therapy dogs for Arkansas Children’s Northwest at my photography studio in Fayetteville, Ark. The pup portraits are used on “business cards” that the owners hand out to patients at the hospital. It’s a really cute idea, and we photographed the dogs on blue, the color of the hospital. I had fun trying a new lighting style, and since dogs don’t wear glasses I knew I wouldn’t have issues with reflections, lol.

I am a dog lover, but this was the first time for me to photograph a dog other than my own, and my first time to photograph dogs with studio lights. Going into the project, I expected the dogs to be perfectly trained and thought this would be a piece of cake. I had a visual of the dogs that belonged to the trainers that helped me with obedience for my dog…. and boy I was wrong. While some of them were very obedient, others were really good at chilling out. I found that the only consistency with these dogs is their temperament and their love for treats.

Here are a few things I learned during this shoot… 

  • Dogs love goldfish just as much a I do.
  • Some dogs can’t deal with the texture of the paper. They don’t want to sit on it, lay on it or even step on it.
  • There’s an art to calling a dog to get it to look at the camera, and not come to the camera. I’m still working on this one.
  • Some dogs just don’t care what you’re asking them to do, they just want to lay down.
  • Some dogs shake with excitement if you make them wait to long for their treat.
  • Therapy dogs are the sweetest.

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