Goodbye, leash: A before and after dog photography challenge

January 11, 2019
West Highland White Terriers on a wagon

To leash or not to leash … that is the question.

Actually, it isn’t. The answer is always to leash. That’s just my degree in English literature and William Shakespeare creeping to the forefront.

(I thought I had banished it to the darker areas of my brain but every once in a while … boy oh boy.)

Yes, to leash.

Let’s talk more about that, shall we?
boxer on a leash in dog photography challenge boxer edited in photoshop for dog photography challenge

A leash for safety’s sake

This week’s Project 52 dog photography challenge is entitled Before and After.

I’m taking that not only as an opportunity to show you what an image looks like straight out of my camera and the finished version, but also to stress why I want your dog on leash during your session.

Since I like to book a lot of sessions at Spokane parks, keeping your dog on leash is merely following the rules. Unless we go to a designated off-leash dog park (of which I can think of only four), all Spokane parks require dogs to be on a lead.

No matter how good your pup is at recall, we’re going to have him on a lead.

It’s a matter of safety, but it’s also important for keeping your dog’s focus during a session.

(I know Bella is crazy about ducks and rabbits. She was my bridesmaid at the falls at Mirabeau Point Park in March 2015 and the rabbits were running everywhere. If she hadn’t been on leash at the time, she’d still be running around chasing those damn bunnies.)

We simply aren’t going to get the best images of you and your dog if we’re chasing Rover down after he’s gone chasing after another dog or a duck or whatever.

Removing the leash is an easy part of my processing workflow.

West Highland White Terriers on a wagon

West Highland White Terriers at Mirabeau Point Park

As you can see in the above example, these West Highland White Terriers from Spokane Valley are on a leash.

Their mama used retractable leashes, which have a pretty thin but sturdy connection from handle to collar. That thin lead is ideal for your dog photography session! It makes my image editing work easier.

So. Much. Easier.

The trouble with harnesses

I love harnesses.

I hate harnesses.

I love harnesses.

I hate harnesses!

Why do I love harnesses? I was introduced to the magic of harnesses in 2015 by our dog trainer Brenda. By that point, my husband and I were both losing our minds because Bella, then just a wee 80-pound one-year-old, was pulling and pulling and pulling on our walks.

We wanted to be able to have nice leisurely walks with our baby girl.

We put the Halti harness on Bella and, like magic, she stopped pulling.

We not only got her into the harness, but we also got her trained successfully to walk nicely, sit, heel and other fun things.

The hate part?

We use the harness to this day. And while I love to have practice sessions with Bella in the backyard, it’s so much more fun to head out into the great wild of Spokane and North Idaho to find new locations.

The harness has to stay on, otherwise I’m getting pulled all over there and beyond while trying to manage my camera gear.

And if I want a lovely picture of Bella without that ugly harness, it is hell to edit out.

big white dog in a harness
maremma sheepdog on spokane river

Keeping your dog on leash is something we’ll talk about during the consultation stage of your portrait session.

Reach out and let me know what other questions you have about booking me to create lifelong memories of the best kind of love in the world … #doglife.

All around the circle for a dog photography challenge

Now don’t forget … Project 52 is part of a worldwide blog challenge to share stories about dog photography. Head on over now to Jessica Wasik with Bark & Gold Photography, celebrating the joy and love between Pittsburgh pets and their people.

Keep clicking through the stories until you find yourself back here.

Happy trails!

    8 Comments

  • Tracy Allard
    January 12, 2019
    Reply

    Those Westies! So cute and terrific edit and nice job on Bella’s harness. Those are so hard to deal with!

  • Lynda Mowat
    January 12, 2019
    Reply

    Oh, Bella is beautiful! I have had goldies for 20+ years so I’m a bit biased🙂. Great edit of her harness. Love the wee cart for the little dogs too!

  • Jessica
    January 12, 2019
    Reply

    Welcome to the blog circle! We did almost an exact approach with this topic; it’s great to reinforce the power of a leash removal. This particular post actually helped me get an inquiry who was holding back due to believing her dog needed to go off-leash.

  • Elaine
    January 12, 2019
    Reply

    I have the same love/hate relationship with harnesses, but we use them here for our own dogs when out for walks. Love the final edits and your final photo is my favorite (although I had a hard time choosing between it and the Highland Terriers!). Welcome to the circle!

  • Darlene
    January 11, 2019
    Reply

    I can relate to the harness! Having a Husky mix – serious puller who is also “dog reactive” – we harness out and about. We do a lot of photos in our fenced in backyard – haha! The image of Bella is gorgeous! Great job with the edit!

  • Cahlean Klenke
    January 11, 2019
    Reply

    My resident dog wears a harness too (and we’ve recently started to use a prong collar for walks). Instead of editing it out (he’s a pittie so short hair) I just embrace it as its part of his story.

    Lovely images by the way!

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