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Capturing the Light Within and Without

I have the best job ever. I get to play with dogs in beautiful places, which is ever so freeing for my happy subjects and their owners. Being on location lacks the constraints of studio work. And with beauty all around us, we have the freedom to follow the light and the waves (because it’s all about the light, within and without).

To see dogs romping on the beach is to experience happiness. You just can’t help smiling at their sheer joy in running, bounding through the surf, chasing the ball, or just walking and watching the waves. For my part, I gently encourage a direction, and then it’s up to me to put myself in the right distance and angle to capture all the cuteness. ’Cause I know they’re going to be completely adorpawble. It’s one of the many reasons we love them. It’s my job to be ready to capture all of that cuteness.

Dogs give everything 100 percent, and they are going to strike poses and expressions to melt your heart, but they’re not going to hold it or repeat it if you missed it — I know that you know exactly what I’m talking about. I also get just how much your pets mean to you. They’re our companions through thick and thin, nonjudgmental, loving, playful, compassionate, devoted, and loyal. They’re the only thing on earth that loves you more than they love themselves. And I know how deeply the looks they give you touch your heart. My job is to be the Omega in the pack for the day. I don’t want to upset the balance, because I need them to look at you the way they look at you when you’re alone together. Luckily for us, dogs are amazingly accepting. If I speak just a little doggie body language, like getting down on the ground and making sure that the dog is closer to their human who explains I’m with them today, the dogs are totally cool. In no time at all, the pooch is circling back to me and checking in with me as a part of his or her pack for that day. Pawfect.

That’s why we don’t rush, because dogs never fake it. They smile when they’re genuinely happy, and one of the easiest ways to make your dog happy, is to visit the great outdoors. I’ve found some of the most gorgeous, dog-friendly locales on the southern Mendocino coast and the greater Bay Area. Through my lens I dog-ument your pup playing, making memories, and connecting you both to this gorgeous moment in space and time. And the art I create brings all of that together in images that make folks awww aloud. Pretty doggone cool, huh? Yep, it’s true. I love what I do. And really, how many professionals do you know who get kissed by every one of their clients, legally? Yep, when people want pawtrait art that stars their dog, they call in the PawPawrazzi, me.

 A longtime animal advocate, Anne Mary Schaefer of Mendocino is an artist, author, and owner of PawPawrazzi Pet Photography (Where Your Pets Are the Stars). She loves her dogs and cats, puttering in the garden, and beach sunset walks. To plan a session, call 707-888-0828 or 510-862-4649. Email her at or visit or the PawPawrazzi Facebook Page.




Main article photo by: Photos by Anne Mary Schaefer