Dogs fill my heart. They are goofy, live in the moment, and share the joy of living everywhere they go. When I established my pet photography business in 2011, I named it “Share the Joy Photography,” because that is what our loving pets do — they share joy every day. I love capturing their special doggy expressions and their loving connections with their owners.
I am a bit of a nerd, so I am always experimenting and studying the technical aspects of photography and post-processing. Owners are often surprised when they come into my studio and see four lights aimed at their precious dog. But this expertise allows me to photograph black dogs so they don’t look like blobs, white dogs so they don’t make your eyes squint, and to capture the fastest action.
I have some favorite sessions that truly inspire me.
Puppies! I love documenting the growth of puppies in fun and unusual ways.
Shy pups. I am often warned that a dog is so shy that a photo session might overwhelm him. I am proud to say that even the shyest little dogs warm up to me and have fun being super models.
Memories sessions. These are for older or sick dogs that do not have much time left. These sessions are very emotional, but invariably the dog still has fun and beautiful, memorable images are captured. If any images are going to bring an owner to tears, these are the ones.
Getting a dog’s attention. I am quick and tricky in this regard. I wear a necklace of noisemakers and have a box full of toys. I time these attention-getters to be used right before an image is taken so I can get the sweetest head tilts and wonderfully inquisitive looks. I don’t use treats very often because, well … drool.
I’ve shared my whole life with wonderful dogs and cats. I am very active in therapy dog work with my Golden Retriever, Julie. I visit hospice patients who love dogs but can no longer keep one. Seeing their reactions to my dog is a constant reminder of the power of these dogs to bring comfort. I just published my first book, Hug Tails – Portraits of Therapy Pets, which is full of photographs and heartwarming stories of over 100 therapy dogs and cats from Tony La Russa’s Pet Hug Pack. (www.HugTails.com)
Over the years, I have photographed hundreds of dogs, cats, birds, horses, and more. I am a certified professional photographer, master photographer and photographic craftsman with the Professional Photographers of America. That means that I have been recognized for excellence in photography as well as teaching and speaking about my craft. I have received numerous awards for my work including four-time PPA Photographer of the Year, California’s Animal Photographer of the Year, and Environmental Photographer of the Year.
I think I have the best job in the world.
To see more of the work Barbara Brady-Smith does through her business Share the Joy Photography, visit her website, www.ShareTheJoyPhotography.com.
Avery was rescued from ARF and was trained to be a most wonderful therapy dog. His specialty is visiting the pediatric wing of John Muir Hospital where he puts his dancing moves to work bringing smiles to all the kids.
This is Sonnet, a beautiful Silken Windhound. He had terminal cancer, and this image was captured during his Memories Session. I think his expression speaks volumes.
This adorable creature was rescued by one of the founders of Umbrella of Hope Rescue in Antioch. I have photographed a lot of Umbrella of Hope’s rescue dogs, so they have wonderful images to improve their chances of adoption. This pup’s name is Humbug and he certainly has a grumpy look, but he is the sweetest and happiest little dog.
This dog’s name is Sparkle, and I tease her owners that Sparkle needs to have her own YouTube Channel for how to apply eye makeup. She is so pretty.
There’s Always One
This little group of puppies was quite a handful to photograph. In one short instant, all of them looked one way except the goofball in the middle. I got a lucky shot.
Main article photo by: Barbara Brady-Smith