Vizsla puppy

I had only met one vizsla in person before this pup, and he was an older dog, so I was very excited to see a puppy vizsla. Plus it's always great fun to see a puppy, no matter what breed! For those not familiar, vizslas are a hunting dog, part of the retrieving group. They are smaller than most of the breeds in their group, which consists of German short-haired pointers and Nova Scotia duck tolling retrievers. I was more familiar with those latter breeds so this was a great way to get familiar with the vizsla.

dog photography columbus ohio

Here is Kona at just 12 weeks of age. Sweet, floppy, happy, excitable, tired Kona. Her owners actually threw her a "pawty" to welcome her into their lives. They had over 50 people come and meet the pup as of way of introducing her and socializing her. I can't imagine how tired she was after that.

When I met her family at their home for a consultation, they walked me around the house to give me the lay of the land and I noticed they had a couple books on vizslas. Immediately I had this idea for a portrait of Kona reading their books on vizlas. I went to the library and grabbed all the books I could find on vizslas - which was one - and books that had "dog" or "puppy" in the title...hence the book "What the Dog Saw" by Malcolm Gladwell, which is a sociology book. In fact the librarian and I got to talking about vizslas and she knew exactly what they are since she said she has a weimaraner. Small world!


This looks like a studio shot but I set up my backdrop roll of paper and the books in their living room. Kona did an awesome job. Just 12 weeks old and no collar and leash needed to get her to sit and look at me! The first shot I posted was just too cute - it was her impromptu gnawing of the book that adds so much character to the portrait.


Disembodied puppy! It's not an illusion or trick of the eye - it's actually Kona lying in the little hammock at the bottom of a cat tower. The day before our photo shoot she climbed in on her own and looked so cute that it was a priority for her family to get a shot of her like that while she's still tiny and able to fit in there! A couple more days and she's probably going to outgrow the hammock. We had just finished a bunch of action shots and she was all tuckered out. She had fallen fast asleep curled up into a tight little ball and her owners said it would be the perfect time to set her in the hammock. Kona is so floppy and flexible that her body was facing the window and she turned her head to look at me at the sound of my squeaker.

kona action

And speaking of action shots! Look at this pup on the move! The duck she's carrying is her favorite toy. It was a present from a guest at her "welcome home pawty." The duck is almost as big as she is! Kona is expected to grow to about 40 pounds. Right now she's putting on two to three pounds a week. Guess that's why she's so sleepy - it's a lot of work to do all that growing!

Want to document your new puppy's first weeks at home? I'd love to talk to you about puppy portraits! Contact me here.


This week's blog challenge is "Texture." Whether that means fur or fabric or texture of the image itself, it's up to us.

I decided this photo of Colby on the couch with her paws crossed - ever the lady, that one - would be a fun photo to turn into a painting. I added a canvas texture to mimic the effect of painting on a real canvas like one of the old Masters.

dog photography columbus ohio painting

Colby is a classic beauty. Watch out, Venus and Mona Lisa.

Here is a close-up of her profile to show the neat effect of the texture. It's especially prominent in those areas of white in front of the window.

texture dog

I might like the close-up better than the full image! It's a neat effect, especially when the dog is facing away from the camera, but I think I prefer sharp photographs of dogs and people when they're looking straight into the camera. The special effects are a nice change, especially in a profile shot or a wide full-body shot.

For any of you artistic folks reading, is there a principle in art that explains this, or is it just personal preference?  I feel the same way about black and white images - I like black and white when the subject is looking away from the camera, but for most photographs I like dogs in full vibrant color.

We're in week eight of the blog challenge - up next is Dog Biscuit Photos in Dallas, Texas. Keep clicking through and you'll wind up back here!

Natural light

One benefit in taking part of the 52 week photography challenge is pushing myself to try new angles, new ideas, and new locations. I didn't realize until this week's theme that it would challenge me by taking me BACK to where I started - and it's not easy!

This week we're featuring dogs in natural light. I spent the first year with my camera taking photos of anything I could in natural light, whether it was my own pup, a child, or a family. One reason it's so difficult now is that I typically use flash for everything and I can control for any kind of light in any kind of scene. I have super bright strobes, low-power speedlights, and every kind of modifier I can think of to prepare for all kinds of lighting situations. Natural light is its own beast because it's a lot of accounting for the right time of day, the right amount of shade, the perfect angle of subject, or the right quality of light.

columbus ohio dog photography indoor

My secret when I have to photograph in natural light is getting close to the largest softbox I can find - a window! Here's Colby looking like a diva. She is a friendly, sweet, happy, goofy, clingy dog 99% of the time...until the camera comes out. Then she develops an attitude with me. She doesn't like to work! This look reminds me of the model who said she wouldn't get out of bed for less than $10,000 or something like that. Colby looks like she won't get out of bed for fewer than 10,000 bones.

We're in the 52-week dog photography challenge, so you can see more natural light photos from Jessica Wasik with Bark & Gold Photography, celebrating the joy and love between Pittsburgh pets and their people. Keep clicking through everyone's blog entries and you'll make your way back here. Thanks for reading!

Franklin County animal shelter photography

Today was one of the most perfect days I can remember in a long time. Despite icy sleet and a general malaise in the air, it was a great day. I started before dawn with an hour at the gym, took my baby to a fun music class, and then spent a few hours this afternoon with homeless dogs at the Franklin County Animal Shelter, in Columbus Ohio. I had never been there, and I am certain that I will be going back. It was so fast-paced and fun and the volunteers were so appreciative of having the portraits taken of the dogs. It felt wonderful to play with dogs and do some good on a very dreary winter day.

pet photography columbus ohio

This black lab puppy against the white background seemed perfect for the 52 Week challenge. The theme this week is black and white, so it wasn't hard turning this photo into a black and white portrait. Those eyes! I love him. The toughest thing was not taking each dog home with me. If Colby was dog-friendly I'd have a house full of canines. These puppy's eyes keep speaking out to me. It takes all my willpower not to go back and load up my car with every one of them! The rest of the photos I took (in color) are up on the Franklin County Animal Shelter website.

Check out Kim Hollis of BARKography in Charlotte, North Carolina for the next entry in the 52 week challenge. Click through each blog post and eventually you'll be back here!