As a volunteer pet photographer at the San Diego Humane Society, you never really know what you’re going to get as far as subjects go. The rescue does such an excellent job at getting their pets adopted that you’re most likely to see fresh faces every time you go in. Occasionally, I’ll see a cat or a rabbit that I’ve previously photographed and are still looking for a forever home. But for the most part, these animals find homes pretty quickly. Today’s line-up weren’t the most playful bunch I’ve ever photographed, but I still enjoy their company. It’s totally understandable when cats just aren’t in the mood to get their picture taken. Being in a new place with a bunch of strangers, away from what they’re used to, not knowing what’s going to happen to them…I’d be a little reluctant to “smile” too! But, even if the cats aren’t busting out their best modeling skills for me, at least they’re engaging in some sort of interaction from a visitor, and that makes me feel good 🙂 If you’re looking to add a furry feline to your family, check out these guys and gals that are currently available for adoption at the San Diego Humane Society…
Little Man – 143862
John Travolta – 255285
Rosemary – 258834
Ditka – 258955
Koi – 259915
Huckpurr – 258419
Mitch – 253872
Rosie – 222222
Boots – 208840
Sadie – 256507
Midnight – 256144
Butu – 205132
Once you’ve decided to invest in a pet portrait experience, there’s a whole other list of decisions you’ll need to make. Not many, but some…when to do it? …what to wear? …where to go? But, there’s no need to panic. If you’ve found a good photographer, they will gladly educate you on your options and offer suggestions…or even make the decision for you in some cases 😉 One of the most common decisions clients need help with is how to choose a photo shoot location. I personally LOVE when clients rely on me to suggest a location. As a photographer, the only thing worse than a bad location is bad light. So, what makes a good location? Here’s a few things that pet parents should consider when trying to choose a photo shoot location for their pet family portraits:
Where is familiar/comfortable for your pet?
Think about where your pet spends most of their time. Most people would say their home. And, guess what…your home can be an excellent photo shoot location! You don’t need to live in a mansion or perfectly landscaped cottage to have a photo shoot at your home. Sure, you’ll want to tidy up a bit, but any professional photographer will be able to work with whatever type of environment your home provides. A home can offer several options for different shots: in the backyard, in the frontward, on the couch, in the kitchen, on your bed, in the car, or around the neighborhood.
I’m all for breaking some rules in order to get a good shot, but you can only go so far when animals are involved. For pet family portraits, it’s important to ensure that pets are actually allowed at the location. And if they are, what rules apply? Can they be off-leash? Are they only allowed during a certain time of year? Is it restricted to service animals? Luckily, San Diego is a very pet-friendly place. The majority of parks and other public hot spots allow pets. Most places require pets to be leashed, but that doesn’t mean your photos have to rock the leash too. Like I said, I’m all for breaking some rules (like unleashing for a minute or crossing a boundary line) so long as the situation proves safe enough. And if that’s not an option, there’s always the magic of Photoshop to get rid of an unwanted object 😉
photographed at Bressi Ranch in Carlsbad, CA
Try to avoid crowds (especially pet crowds).
The dog park may be your pet’s favorite place to play, but it’s not the best photo shoot location. Not only will there be an abundance of distractions, but there’s a good chance the other dogs will want to steal the spotlight. Your photo session is YOUR photo session. You don’t want tons of other pets messing with your experience. With that said, you don’t need to find a place where NO other pets will be. I mean, that’s almost impossible (unless you stay home). But, it’s beneficial to choose a location that provides options for getting away from others. The less crowded the location, the less distracted your pet will be, and the cleaner your photos will look.
photographed at La Jolla Cove in La Jolla, CA
Ask your photographer for recommendations!
There’s a reason photographers like me are called “on-location photographers.” It’s because we spend every shooting hour at a location (not in a studio). And when we’re not shooting at a location, we’re scouting them. And when we find a place we like, we make the effort to shoot there again. So, if you find yourself clueless as to where to go, or even if you have a preference but aren’t sure where exactly, just ask! I personally have a TON of uncharted territory to still scout in sunny San Diego, but a few of my favorites so far include: Guajome Park, Los Peñasquitos Canyon, Balboa Park, and Seaport Village.
Photographed at Balboa Park in San Diego, CA
So, now that you know HOW to choose, WHERE would you like to go?! Call or email me to schedule your complimentary Consultation, and we’ll discuss all your location options.
It was a short and sweet photo session at the San Diego Humane Society today. And by short and sweet, I’m talking about the bunnies, of course! Most people aren’t really amused by bunnies, or see why people own them as pets. I personally have never owned one, but I’ve got to say…these guys (and girls) crack me up. Maybe it’s the way they hop around or wiggle their little noses. Maybe it’s that side-eye stare they give you that looks like they’re thinking “I’m watching you, lady!” Whatever it is, they never cease to entertain me when I visit them at the shelter.
It’s no wonder the San Diego Humane Society seems to always have a good amount of bunnies up for adoption. The Oceanside campus (where the bunnies are cared for) sits about 100 yards from the San Luis Rey River (well, what used to be a river, anyways). So does my house. And when I’m out in my backyard, which faces the river, I can probably spot 10 bunnies in 15 minutes. They’re everywhere! It really gave me a new perspective on the phrase “hump like bunnies.” Haha! Anyways, there’s a lot of bun buns up here in North County San Diego, and the San Diego Humane Society is doing a terrific job of taking care of the strays and finding them loving homes.
If you’re in the market for a bunny to call your own, visit the San Diego Humane Society Oceanside campus on Airport Road. You’re sure to find a fur ball to cuddle with. Here’s just a few that I had the pleasure of photographing today and are ready for adoption!
Betty Davis – 255724
Anna – 244187
Bailey – 172503
Jello – 181609
What could be better than spending some quality bonding time outdoors with your Pittie, getting beautiful images for your home, AND supporting a local non-profit that supports Pit Bulls? Because we LOVE Pitties so much, we’re donating 50% of ALL session fees that are booked during National Pit Bull Awareness month to our friends at Passion For Pitties or San Diego Pittie Parents.
Here’s how it works:
- Review the Experience, Session Details/Investment, and Products pages of this website (alipeterson.com) to learn more about how the photo session works and what kinds of products you can order.
- Call, email, or submit a contact form to let us know you’re interested.
- Schedule a complimentary in-home Consultation to decide if you’d like to book.
- Book your session (this is typically done during the Consultation).
- Enjoy your images, products, and the fact that you helped support the Pitties!
Here’s the fine print:
- ONLY sessions that are booked during October 2017 qualify.
- The photo shoot itself does NOT have to take place during the month of October, however, the appointment MUST be booked (with payment made) before November 1st.
- This is NOT a mini session. A full session must be booked.
- You may choose which non-profit you’d like to donate to. Options include Passion For Pitties and San Diego Pittie Parents. If you do not wish to choose, the fee will be split 50/50.
- You do NOT have to own a Pit Bull to participate. We accept support from all breeds 🙂
You don’t have to own a Pit Bull to know that they get a bad rap. Any dog owner could tell you who Michael Vick is, and even if they’re not a fan of Pit Bulls, they wouldn’t agree with the practice of organized dog fighting. Having owned 3 Pit Bulls at one time (my middle child passed away in May 2017, you can read all about that here…warning: you may need a tissue), I know first-hand the negative Pit Bull stereotyping and judgments that are thrown in the faces of Pit Bull parents on a regular basis.
For those who don’t know…imagine walking your dog and seeing some one cross the street in front of traffic just to avoid walking passed you. Imagine being forced into a home you can’t afford or a town you don’t want to live in because they don’t allow your dog to be there. Imagine meeting a fellow dog lover who suddenly wants nothing to do with you because they discovered what breed of dog you have. This is the kind of treatment Pit Bull parents receive regularly. It’s just not fair to them, and it’s not fair to the dogs.
Think about it…it’s one thing to dislike a certain breed for whatever reasons (maybe you just aren’t fond of big dogs, or your need a dog that serves a specific purpose), but for those who are hating on Pit Bulls just because of their past are literally holding a grudge against some one who was forced to do something against their will. These dogs don’t WANT to fight, they’re being forced to. There’s dogs in China that are being forced to wear kid’s clothes and walk upright on their hind legs just for some viral video craze, but no one holds a grudge against them. They feel sorry for them. But because of what the Pitties were forced to do (kill other Pitties), suddenly they’re classified as horrible, vicious dogs.
But, it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, a significant amount of progress has been made in preventing dog fighting from existing, as well as educating the public on all the good qualities that Pit Bulls have. Take Gigi, for example…she spent her childhood unwillingly participating in the Missouri 500 dog fighting games. The organization was busted in 2009, freeing Gigi, along with over 350 other dogs who were brought into shelters in hopes of finding loving homes. Shortly after, Gigi met her soulmate parents who have since rehabilitated her and certified her as a therapy dog. Despite her brutal past, which is evident by her scarred appearance and one blind eye, she now happily volunteers at Love on a Leash Pet Therapy. Together with her mom, they visit veterans, seniors, and adults with mental disabilities to brighten their days with her wagging tail and infectious smile.
With that said, we have a long way to go before Pit Bulls and their parents are “accepted” in society the way other breeds are…the way they deserve to be. And it’s up to us to do something about it. Trying to convince the public that Pit Bulls are sweet, loving animals will not be easy. They are, in fact, genetically dispositioned to attack and destroy. And they do, in fact, account for the majority of fatal dog bites in the U.S. BUT, I believe we can help minimize the chances of these types of incidences from occurring. With education and responsible pet ownership, we can help Pit Bulls become the dogs they’re meant to be. It’ll be a long journey to get there, but we have to start somewhere. So, to begin, there’s one simple thing you can do to help show the public how wonderfully beautiful these dogs are, inside and out.
What’s that one simple thing? Share pictures of your Pittie. Seriously! Show the world how loving they are by photographing them giving kisses to you and/or your family members. Nothing says “what a sweet pup” like a photo of a dog licking a baby’s face or the two of them getting along like best buds. Praise their skills by sharing pictures of them performing tricks and other talents. These are dogs are eager to please which makes them fast learners. They’re smart! Make a commitment to teach them a new trick every other month, then share it. Get them certified and take them to visit hospitals, veterans, elderly homes, kids with special needs. Take pictures of them interacting with these people that benefit from having them in their lives.
Dozer may be a big Bull, but he’s not a bully. Having almost not survived his first few days of life, he was rescued and now lives happily with and his brother, Sawyer. And they are two peas in a pod. They sleep, play, and eat together. Dozer even lets Sawyer ride on his back like a horse!
Hurley & Titan have a sister with Down Syndrome who they absolutely adore. And it goes without saying that she adores them back. Pit Bulls like Hurley & Titan are the epitome of “family dog,” showing nothing but unconditional love for their family members.
If we all show the world how big our little Pittie’s hearts really are, we’ll continue to make progress towards their acceptance. Pit Bulls deserve to be given a chance. With out help, they can be treated with the same love, respect, and kindness that other breeds receive. Like I said, it’s a long, tough journey ahead, but we’ve got to start somewhere. Every little step we take towards educating ourselves on responsible ownership, and educating the public on our progress helps. So join the cause, learn about the breed, practice safe ownership, strengthen their non-violent skills, help raise awareness, take some pictures of your Pittie and share them! If you’re not the best photographer and you feel you can’t do your dog justice, call or email me. I would LOVE to help you 🙂
Want to help stop negative Pit Bull stereotyping in a bigger way? Donate to your local Pit Bull non-profit. Awareness groups and rescue organizations (like San Diego’s “SD Pittie Parents” and “Passion For Pitties“) are always looking for help. Also, keep an eye out for my special promotion that I’ll be having during National Pit Bull Awareness month (October)!
Photos taken at Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve.