A Dog named Baxter
This week I was rescued by a big lug of a dog named Baxter. Here is the back story.
I still consider myself a beginner photographer. I bought my first camera in August 2014. To say I was naive about all there is to learn about photography is a huge understatement. I thought I could buy a nice camera and I'd be a professional photographer. If you want to be a photographer you need to learn about photography. How to obtain a proper exposure using aperture, shutter speed and ISO. You have to learn how to use your camera. You have to learn how to use Lightroom and Photoshop so you can edit your photos.
Each of these tasks is really complicated. There is so much more to photography than obtaining a proper exposure but you need to start there. The camera itself is so complicated especially when you shoot in Manual mode and Lightroom (LR) and Photoshop (PS) aren't a piece of cake to learn either. I tend to prefer a more natural vibe to my photos so I don't over-process in LR and PS but if you're shooting in RAW (vs jpeg), you must use either LR or PS to edit your photos. If you want to remove unsightly eye boogers or edit out a leash from a photo, you must use Photoshop.
Add in that my subject is a dog that may be moving constantly and he may also be afraid of my camera makes the art of dog photography even more challenging.
A few months after having my camera I became so frustrated with photography, I put it in my closet and didn't look at it again for months. Only when I found a facebook group geared specifically for dog photography, did I have the courage to get the camera out again and see what would happen. Once in a while I am fortunate enough to say it feels like magic.
There are a few people who really helped me early on in this process. Sarah McGraw of McGraw Photography was the first. At the time she lived in Charlotte and I'd seen her work. I called her and asked her if she gave lessons. She politely said no but referred me to Charlotte Reeves of Charlotte Reeves Photography. Charlotte is an Australian based dog photographer who has authored several ebooks which are a must have especially if you're new to dog photography. Through Charlotte I found Nicole Begley, Hair of the Dog Blog author and owner of Nicole Begley Photography. The Hair of the Dog facebook group truly changed my life. I am not being dramatic... it truly did and I am forever grateful to these three women who probably don't know the impact they've had on my life. If you want to see some amazing dog photographer's work, click on the links to their pages.
I love photography. Sometimes I don't love it though when my images don't turn out as I want. It still happens. Recently it has been happening.
But this week I met a dog named Baxter. Baxter is an 80 lb. ten year old chow mix that loves other dogs and people. His mom told me that his eyes are really expressive and that she loves the white tip on his tail. Baxter used to live in Charlotte but he lives in St Augustine FL now. He was visiting Charlotte and his mom and my neighbor wanted to have a session with Baxter and then they wanted a few images taken of their two dogs together.
I did 2 sessions. One just after sunrise with Baxter at Freedom Park and then just before sunset we met my neighbor and her dog Jack at the Mint Museum.
Here's the another thing about photography especially if you're a natural light photographer like I am. (I don't use flash hence I'm a natural light photographer.) Lighting matters. Can you tell a difference in the photos? Can you tell which ones were taken during the morning and which ones were taken in the late afternoon? I'm not sure if I would've seen much difference a year ago but I see it now. Do you? Do you have a preference?
Occasionally I meet a dog and have a photo session that renews my confidence in my abilities. Sometimes magic happens. That magic happened this past Tuesday with a dog named Baxter. Enjoy Florida Baxter and maybe one day I'll get to photograph you on the beach.