Canadian dog photographer


PAWSH08_2013_FALL_Oct14_Cover-1October 21st cannot arrive soon enough! I’m so excited to share our newest edition, “The Simple Things” with you. As its title suggests, it is all about taking pleasure in life’s little things, about celebrating special moments whether big or small, about making the ordinary extraordinary and doing it all with our faithful furry sidekicks!

With Pawsh Studio now in full swing, I took the liberty of photographing this issue’s cover and had such a blast working with this handsome fellow. He’s sporting the latest fashions from Canada Pooch — a stylish winter-friendly parka that is available for larger breeds! I think he looks rather dapper personally.

I hope you’re excited for the new edition! After October 21st there will be a flurry of activity here at Pawsh to look forward to.

Our Halloween content will commence (lots of ghoulish goodies planned!), we’ll be exhibiting at Pugstock on October 27th (let me know if you’re coming!), we will be unveiling our new Pawsh Prints in the print shop, and we will be announcing a super special project that we’ve been piecing together since June! Weeeee!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone! xo


train-a-dog-not-to-bark-pawsh-2About a year ago, I moved to Toronto and into a new apartment. It was everything I was looking for in a space — hardwood floors, separate office space, working fireplace (a nice perk). But being in the heart of Toronto it was also a little noisier than Rory was used to compared to our sleepy Ottawa residence.

As a result she developed a bad habit — barking. Not only would she bark whenever she heard anything unexpected, but she would bark and charge down the hallway whenever she heard neighbouring dogs, people on the street or even our upstairs neighbours shuffling around in their apartment. Needless to say, it was a habit that had to stop.

So I started a strict training regiment. Using nothing but positive reinforcement, Rory’s frantic barking is now manageable and civilized. Here’s how I did it:

There is a saying — “if you can’t beat them, join them” — and that is the approach I took with Rory’s barking. There is no way you are ever going to stop a dog from barking and nor should you try.

A dog barks to tell you something isn’t quite right, that there is ‘danger’ nearby and to raise the pack’s attention. Trying to debark a dog through bark collars and negative reinforcement is like trying to combat a natural, engrained instinct that is programmed into a dog’s DNA. So instead, I chose to embrace Rory’s barking.

It is good that she raises the alarm when something is not quite right in her books — the key then became controlling the bark. In other words, I needed to train her to have an ‘off switch.’

Every dog has at least one trick that they love to do and never fail to do when asked. For Rory this trick is ‘go to your bed.’ So I began to use that phrase to redirect Rory’s charging bark. Every time she started barking, I would tell her to ‘go to bed.’ Of course, she didn’t always go when asked in the beginning, so I would need to choral her to her bed and once all four paws landed in her bed, reward her with a treat right away.
train-a-dog-not-to-bark-pawsh-1STEP 3: TREAT RIGHT – AND RIGHT AWAY
Just any old treat wouldn’t work in this situation, because you are trying to distract your dog from a high-energy and agitated state. In order to aptly capture Rory’s attention, I needed to be offering something truly fantastic, so I alternated between cheese and dehydrated cow’s lung.

I also made sure to reward Rory as soon as all four paws were in her bed so that she associated completing that action with the tasty treat. Any pause between command and completed command can cause confusion in a dog’s mind.

The trick to this sort of training technique is consistency. I couldn’t intervene in Rory’s barking display once in a while and then let it slide at other times. Regardless of what I was doing or where I was whenever at home, if she barked I intervened.

Every single time she barked I would follow, tell her ‘go to bed,’ direct her there if need be and instantly reward with a high-value treat. Every – single -time. You would be amazed how quickly dogs can learn new habits when rewarded positively.
train-a-dog-not-to-bark-pawsh-3THE RESULTS
Now we have a happy quiet home once again. Yes, Rory still barks when she thinks something is wrong, but she is now enabled with a debark word/command. One quick bark, a word from me and she settles down again. In fact she has now got to the point that she barks once, sometimes twice, and then takes herself to bed to await cross-pawed for a treat.

Rather than punish Rory for giving in to her natural instinct and alerting her family that there might be danger, I have instead managed to reign that enthusiastic barking into a controllable and manageable habit. Rory feels like she is doing her job (protecting) and I am no longer getting frustrated (albeit sympathetic) calls from my lovely neighbours. It is a win, win, win situation.

{Photography via Pawsh Instagram}

PAWSH PERK: Expert advice for training a dog not to lick.



Pawsh-dog-photography-toronto-BusHere’s a little sneak peek at one of my latest family/pet photo sessions. What I love most about working with animals, dogs in particular, is the clear, unabated emotion that you can see in their furry faces. If you watch closely you’ll witness every human emotion in a dog’s facial expressions, from pure love to total cheekiness!

This loving ‘surprise attack’ has me smiling goofily to myself and I’m so happy I was there to capture it on camera! More to come from this vintage-inspired photo session soon!



dog-picnic-2-toronto-dog-photographer-pawshFor the past week or two I’ve been hinting at changes that will be affecting Pawsh this fall. The biggest of these changes is that Pawsh (aka yours truly) will now be running it’s own fine art pet photography studio. And today I’m sharing one of my first official Pawsh Studio sessions.


Pawsh-Studio-Holiday-Dog-Prints-3Why should I invest in having my pet’s photograph taken?
If you are visiting Pawsh’s website (welcome, by the way!) you probably already know the answer to this question. Pets are beloved members of the family – they make us laugh, they provide comfort, they even look out for us! Having your pet’s photograph professionally taken is a wonderful way to remember and cherish their sweet personalities forever.

Pawsh Studio’s modern, yet quirky style focuses upon those real moments that you would otherwise only be able to see in your mind’s eye. Pets are faithful companions, even soulmates, and their time spent with us should be celebrated, treasured and documented in a meaningful manner so that it is never forgotten.

What does your complimentary consultation include?
Great question! A lot of fun – that is first and foremost. Each pet photography session comes with a complimentary 30-40 minute consultation before your photo session. All of my consultations are essentially an opportunity to get to know one another better, talk about your pet’s personality and go over your photo session in detail.

We’ll meet at a cafe or coffee shop (or park if it’s nice outside!), sip hot beverages, chatter away about pets and have a few laughs too. This is also your chance to pepper me with any questions you might have. Seriously, don’t be shy! My main concern is making sure you and your pet are comfortable working with me!

Why do I have to put a 50% non-refundable deposit down to book my photo session?
Putting a deposit down is a common photography business practice when it comes to booking a shoot. Not only does this reassure you that that time is yours, but it also helps me to be most efficient with my schedule. Of course, I completely understand that sometimes emergencies happen. If you are unable to make your scheduled photo session time, all you need to do is give me 48 hours notice and we can reschedule.

If you change your mind about a photo session that you have already booked, your deposit is non-refundable because by keeping that date reserved for you, I have likely turned down other clients interested in that time.

Do I have to sign a contract?
Yes. I have a comprehensive contract and release form that I require all photography clients to sign. This is a formality that helps both you and I stay on the same page. It outlines everything promised in your pet photography package and what you can expect when working with me, including image delivery deadlines etc.

Why don’t I get hi-res digital files of my photographs?
A lot of time, energy and skill goes into fine art pet photography, both on behalf of the photographer and the pet parent who books him or her. You spend a lot of time looking through portfolios and meeting with photographers before finally choosing someone who reflects your style and vision for capturing your furball’s many antics. Sadly, however, a lot of beautifully taken photographs can end up looking sub-par, even terrible, when subjected to poor printing practices and ill-favoured formatting.

To ensure that I can deliver the style and look you are dreaming of for your photographs, I process all of your printing needs in a high-end and luxurious manner. I offer a variety of different paper options and archival inks to ensure that the photographs I take for you look their very best and last forever.

Each of my pet photography packages offer all sorts of built-in print options to save you money without sacrificing quality. I also offer a wide variety of add on print options to help bring your photographs to life.

Why will my low-res digital files be watermarked?
The practice of watermarking photographs helps to protect the photographer’s work and you. Unfortunately, a lot of online creative content is stolen and plagiarized by individuals and companies alike.

Imagine walking through a department store one day and seeing your photograph on a product box without your permission? It would shocking, yes? Putting watermarks on images helps to deter other people from using those images for their own purposes, as removing a watermark is far more challenging than lifting an image that is unmarked.

How do I choose my final photographs?
I will supply you with a private online gallery in which you can review your photograph proofs. Each image will be clearly numbered to make the selection process as simple as possible. I am also happy to meet up in person with you to help make final selections if you would like a second opinion curating your photographs.

Can I see examples of your print products before deciding to purchase any?
Yes absolutely! I bring all sorts of print, canvas and album samples to our consultation so you can see and handle them in person. If there is anything specific you would like to see, please just let me know!

Can you help me choose the right print options for my photographs?
Of course! I am always happy to get together after your have reviewed your proof gallery to help you choose formats, finishes and one-of-a-kind designs that will truly show off your pet’s beautiful photographs in a unique way. Just ask and I’ll be there to talk through everything with you.

Why can’t I order the RAW files from my pet’s photo session?
Raw photographs – or photographs that are straight out of the camera and have not been retouched at all – are not available. This is because they are not an accurate representation of my work. Raw photographs are just one step in the process of creating a beautiful, lasting professional image. You wouldn’t ask an author to sell you the first draft of their book or a movie director to screen their unedited footage filled with bloopers. Similarly, a professional photographer will not sell you raw images.

What is your early booking discount?
I am so happy you asked! This is an opportunity for you to save a few pennies! If you book your pet photography session with me four months in advance, you instantly save 5%! No strings attached! Consider it my way of saying thank you!

How soon after my pet photo session can I see my photographs?
Very very soon! I will be just as excited as you are to see your final photographs! Within two weeks of our photo session I will share a sneak peek of 2-3 images from the day. Complete photo collections will be fully edited and ready for viewing within two or three weeks of your pet’s photoshoot, at which point we can plan your print products.

My dog NEVER sits still. How will you get him to pose for a photo?
By simply not posing him! In fact, I never pose an animal for a photo session, because it simply isn’t natural for them. Instead my job is to follow their lead with the camera and capture real pet moments as they naturally unfold. My lovely assistant and I will work with your pet to get them as comfortable, relaxed and engaged as possible, while I focus on looking for picture perfect moments – even if they happen in the blink of an eye!

What if my pet doesn’t like being in the studio?
It is completely normal for dogs to be very excited and/or nervous when entering Pawsh Studio for the first time. It is a new space with lots of new smells and sounds and being ‘on set’ is a brand new experience – and who knows, they might be worried this excursion is a surprise trip to the vet!

I do everything possible to maintain a warm, welcoming and calm atmosphere that will relax your pet and help them feel comfortable. I take great care to spend time with your dog sans camera so they get used to me and to the idea of having their photograph taken. We can even all sit down for a quick cup of coffee to help your dog relax and see everyone present as a fun friend.

Pawsh Studio also does not use strobe lighting, meaning there are no scary flashes to startle your pet. I also always have lots of tasty treats on hand (dried liver anyone?) to help pets have fun. My main objective is always to make sure that any animal I am working with is completely comfortable and safe. I absolutely will not force an animal to do anything they are uncomfortable with just to get a nice photo. In any case, the best photographs happen when your dog is being his wonderful goofy self!

If despite our best efforts your pet is getting very frightened, hyper or stressed, I will not proceed with our photo session as I do not want to put any animal in a situation they are not enjoying. Instead, we will regroup and reschedule our photo session for an outdoor location where your dog feels confident – you will of course be refunded the difference. Or, if you really have your heart set on a studio look, we can always arrange a special ‘Pop Up At Home’ studio experience so your dog can remain in the comfort of his own home.

However, in my many years of doing pet photography I have only ever had one dog who did not warm up to the idea of being in the studio.

I would like to give a Pawsh Studio photo session as a gift. Is that possible?
Absolutely! I love helping people surprise their loved ones and offer all sorts of convenient gift certificate options. Simply choose the pet photography package that you would like and I will create a stylish printed gift certificate for you to slip into a card! Easy peasy!

I would LOVE to book another pet photo session, but can’t afford it right now…
I completely understand that fine art pet photography is a lasting investment and that it isn’t always in the budget to book multiple sessions. So please be sure to ask about Pawsh Studio’s amazing referral program!

If you have already had one photo session, you are immediately eligible for our amazing referral program that essentially earns you discount points that you can save up and put towards another pet photo session for your pet! It’s fun, it’s easy and it offers significant savings! Seriously significant savings!

I don’t see an answer to my question…
Then please feel free to email be at info@pawsh-magazine.com and I will do whatever I can to help!


Please visit Pawsh Studio’s page for latest work, special offers, pricing guides and more!