Client Session ~ Logan the German Shepherd mix at the Gold Coast

At the time of our shoot back in August 2013, Logan the German Shepherd cross was just six months old. Based on how BIG his legs and paws were at that age, I predicted he was going to be a big boy. Having seen him since I certainly wasn’t wrong!

I had such a great afternoon hanging out at the beach with Logan and his mum and dad in the perfect blue sky winter weather. I was pre-warned that Logan might have to be a bit “bouncy” at the start of the session so he’d have enough endurance to last until the end.

We started off in the dunes where he promptly found a suitable stick and started giving it a hard time.

Blessed with brains as well as good looks, he quickly worked out that all he had to do was sit and look pretty to get constant treats. What a great game!

It can be tricky balancing the light when shooting black dogs with backlight, especially at a bright location like the beach. Often you’ll need to do a lot more in the editing stage to bring out the contrast and colour of the shot. Here’s a before and after that I shared on Facebook of the below image, with a basic overview of what went into the editing side of things.

I always try to include a “puppy dog eyes” style of shot in most sessions – I just love this angle! Don’t those brown eyes just melt the heart? Logan also manages to look just that little bit cheeky as well…

Next we headed down to the beach, where Logan was up for a game! He had an absolute ball racing around, meeting and greeting dog and human alike, finding sticks and random bits of rubbish on the beach, digging in the sand, racing up and down the dunes and generally having the time of his life.

I find the best way to obtain fun, engaging shots is to actually get involved and play with my doggy subjects. It doesn’t all need to be hard work for the dog, standing still and looking handsome. Logan gave me some great play bows and cheeky expressions while we were having a game of fetch with his tennis ball.

One way of photographing black dogs is to place them in a wash of full sun, just as long as the sun is low enough in the sky. Towards the end of the session as the sun lowered over the dunes, the light was perfect for doing just that. I love how the sunlight has picked up the colour in his eyes in this image too.

You might have heard the term “the golden hour” in photography speak. It usually refers to the hour or so before sunset when the colour temperature of the light appears to change to a warmer hue.

I tend to think that the golden hour is more like a golden 15 minutes though, which goes all too quickly when trying to convince a rather hyper puppy to stay in the one spot for more than five seconds.

But with Logan, we managed by using a combination of leash work and plain old bribery and cajoling, and ended up getting a stack of shots at this gorgeous, perfect time of day.

The low sun also made it the perfect time for some backlit portraits with Logan’s mum and dad. He was a little reluctant to give up his valuable play time, but we got there in the end with a gorgeous family portrait!

Along with some more candid moments.

Just as the sun is touching the horizon is the perfect time to capture some silhouettes. The sun setting behind the dunes meant we could use the beautiful dune grasses as a point of interest as well. And how clear is that sky? We were blessed with such a perfect day!

After the sun has gone down, the light softens and the sky becomes awash with pastel colours. Logan was getting a bit tired by this stage, which made a few more portrait style shots to finish off the session easy to capture.

I always love a challenge, and photographing a black dog at the beach on a bright clear day is definitely one of those – especially when they’re a big bouncy puppy! It’s always rewarding to end up with a bunch of shots the owners love though. Ula and John ended up with a Storybook Album, some Float Blocks and a canvas wall art collection for their new house.

They also had some lovely feedback for me about their pet photography experience:

“Charlotte was amazing throughout the entire process from booking the appointment, to the photo session itself and the ordering session at the end. She was incredibly patient and helped us choose the perfect location for the photo shoot. During the photo shoot she was really professional and friendly and immediately got the trust of our 6 month old pup. She knew exactly how to get him to pose for her in the cutest positions and she also got a lot of un-posed ‘action’ shots of him running around and playing on the beach. The photos captured his playful puppy personality perfectly.

“During the ordering session, Charlotte provided a very comfortable and personal environment for photo selection and supplied many physical print samples to aid in the decision making process. We initially only wanted to buy some wall art but loved our photos so much that we decided to get an album as well. The quality of the products exceeded our expectations and we are so happy and excited that we got them!”

– Urszula & John

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  • John Muir

    20 January, 2015 at 1:42 pm Reply

    Awesome shots of the handsome Logan! It was a great afternoon. Thanks Charlotte.

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