Everyone knows that Golden Retriever love nothing more than chasing after tennis balls. Probably more than any other dog on the planet, a Golden can play fetch endlessly. So when I asked my client where she and her Golden 'Libby' were happiest and most at ease, she didn't hesitate before saying "the park." Just like that. Very matter of fact. My client has been taking Libby to the same dog park for 13 years, sitting on the exact same bench by the exact same fence looking out at the exact same view of San Francisco for 13 years. And Libby, the Golden Retriever that she is, does not care about any of the other charming dogs that have crossed her path at the dog park over the past 13 years. All she cares about is the BALL. That's it. My client just throws that tennis ball over and over for her beloved Libby, watching dirt fly and golden fluff fly in all directions and a great big smile on Libby's face (see below).
Though I always want to meet my clients where they are their companions are most at ease, my dog photography sessions do not typically happen at the dog park for a handful of reasons. Firstly, dog parks are full of other dogs and people, making it a distracting environment for my client and their companion. When I'm photographing, I want to be able to control what's around me to ensure I have the attention and focus of my subjects. Secondly, it's sunny at the park! I'm no vampire, but I don't enjoy direct sunlight when photographing dogs. It's just not part of my style- I want smooth, open shade not harsh direct light. And thirdly, people tend to feel a little awkward at first during their photography sessions, which is completely normal. But to ease that anxiety, it's best to be somewhere private. This helps my clients feel more relaxed, which in turn makes their dogs feel more relaxes, which in turn makes me feel more relaxed and the work just flows better that way. You know?
That being said, I was more than happy to accomodate this dog park request, as the history behind it was so beautiful. I sat with my client in her usual spot, and photographed their usual routine- throwing the ball over and over and over until my camera and I were covered in dirt and Golden Retriever fluff. A productive day at the office, I'd say.
Thanks for a great session, guys!