52 on Friday :: Consider Your Vision

This year’s 52 weeks project is a little different; each week I and my fellow professional pet photographer friends will follow themes based on chapters in the book “The Visual Toolbox” by David Duchemin.  This week’s theme requires us to “consider our vision.”  We are asked to look over  some of our favorite images and evaluate our vision and how we express it in our images.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about my vision before doing this project and feel pretty comfortable with what elements I use in my style as an artist.   I am definitely not a photographer that goes for the ordinary…I try to seek unusual beauty in my work…The things my clients don’t necessarily see, but fall in love with when they see my results.  Below are some examples of elements that are a part of my work.

I think it is obvious that I seek vibrant colors and placing my subjects in scenic places and landscapes.  I’m fortunate to live in historic Old Town Alexandria, VA so I have a lot of unusual architecture and homes to photograph among.  I also live along the Potomac River and have access to many close by parks, woods, meadows, fields and other scenic areas.  I am inspired by a dog’s personality and love showing them being their dog-self in these natural and artistic backdrops rather than a studio or with props.
shelley-castle-scenic-dog-photographyWhile often, I am hired to just photograph a pet, I love photographing pets with their owners also.  Some may be posed portraits, but my vision prefers to create images capturing a dog’s lifestyle, bond with their owners and showing their place in the family.  I like there to be purpose, emotion and a story behind my images.   I spend a lot of time getting to know my clients and their pets…and I am fascinated with observing how people interact with their fur-kids. It’s one of my favorite things to capture and I am always trying to find creative ways for it to be represented in their photographs.
images-showing-bonds-with-dogMy number one passion and vision in my work is seeking and playing with light.  I prefer animals photographed in natural light and obsessed with the challenges of working and being creative with it.   I use a lot of  back lighting, silhouetting, sun flares and many other unique ways to use light.    I am always hunting for light, even when I don’t have a camera in my hands; I am constantly studying it and snapping pictures in my mind.  BUT… it’s not all about the light…it’s also about the shadows and showing form.  One of my most recent pictures is the one below of the black pit bull…Notice anything unusual about this picture?  When walking with my client, I was instantly captivated by the shadow dancing on the pavement.  Starbuck here is kind of famous and her mom is an advocate for pit bull issues.  When I saw the shadow I immediately got the vision of the photo I wanted and the story it will tell, along with a clever message presented on social media to play on that vision.  While you wouldn’t notice by the picture of her,  Starbuck’s shadow shows that she is a tripawd.  I used this juxtaposition to bring awareness that black dogs, pit bulls and dogs with disabilities are often overlooked in shelters but they have the same hearts, loyalty, love, and joy to share with their owners as any other dog.
shelley-castle-unusual-lighting
We were supposed to take a picture showing these elements from our vision. (I confess…the weather was horrible this weekend so I just took a picture from one of my most recent sessions that I am editing right now.)  This picture of Juno and her family represents pretty much all the elements–Color, play on light, showing their bond in a natural scene.   I love how Mom and Juno are connecting here…and it’s a genuine smile….The sun dramatically flaring on them producing unusual hues, with the last of the colorful leaves still hanging on the trees.  This session still had many traditional photos taken in it, but using my vision produces unique photos which I feel better captures personalities and memories of clients and their pets.
dog-owners-sunflarePlease go and check out Robyn Fear at Haute Dog Photography to learn more about her vision in her images.

January 15, 2016 - 11:40 am

Teann Dhariwal - I can definitely we your vision throughout all your images. Your use of light to capture emotion as well as shadow and form is beautiful! Gorgeous work!

January 15, 2016 - 6:18 pm

KellyM - Your images are beautiful! I love your use of light and shadow especially with black and whites. :O)

January 20, 2016 - 5:19 pm

Trina - Gorgeous work! Love the options you have for backgrounds where you live!

January 21, 2016 - 6:55 pm

Blue - Fantastic work! The way you use both light and shadow is absolutely gorgeous. I can really see your unique vision in your photos.

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