This contact sheet is from a wonderful client with a family of 4 chihuahuas, all rescued from Tony LaRussa's ARF. Their home included some amazing large pieces of artwork that featured animals, so our collaboration was all about adding to thier current collection. I was photographing and composing with that end-goal in mind, which helped me guide my subjects and create images with a lot of texture filling the frame. This entire family was so focused on loving each other, and there was a great sense of pride in the way the humans and dogs cared for each other. I knew that taking the time to compose a beautiful family portrait would be a powerful way to reflect that love and emotion back to them. And, of course, it became the largest Loft print that we installed over the fireplace.
Selecting the right portrait of woman and dog below was very difficult. You can see that I was going back and forth between the three images that were almost identical. The differences were in the tilt of the woman's head, the level of genuine joy on her face, and where each of the dog's heads were facing. The image on the bottom right was the winner, which my clients loved. There is texture, there are visual cues that the photograph was taken in their back yard which tells a story of their home, and the 4 dogs are standing tall- showing a sense of pride that is reflected in the woman's expression.
Each fine art dog portrait that I create is informed by a different story, a different relationship, and a different expectation from my client. I don't just take 3 or 4 pictures, and walk away. On the other hand, I don't just set my camera on fully auto multi-shot mode and let the camera haphazardly 'snap' hundreds of pointless images. The method I use when photographing keeps me incredibly grounded and present during the entire session, where each image I create is intentional and every photographic choice is for a reason. I photograph through moments, which is why a contact sheet is such a helpful tool in my image selections.