Hiking in Northern California

One of the reasons I started Coop & You was because I realized how hard it was to take photos when handling our dogs. Before we got Fidus, I could at least hand off Cooper to my husband if I wanted to take a photo of the surrounding landscape or a shot of them together. Once Fidus the entered the picture, I couldn’t hand Cooper off as easily because Nicholas’ hands were full with him.

They’re fantastic dogs, but they both have reactivity issues we’re working on. Taking them hiking requires our full attention to make sure they’re comfortable and learning correct behaviors. Since we’re still getting used to the Northern California area, we try to scout out hikes on our own before determining if it’s one they can handle.

During Super Bowl Sunday this year (with the hope not many people would be out), we took the dogs hiking on a not-as-popular trail in Auburn, California (Greenwood and Gerle Loop). It was so worth it to miss the game. Cooper did amazing. We even came across a whole group of pre-teen boys (her biggest fear) and we were able to walk behind them for a bit without her barking.

Since the hike wasn’t too populated, I was able to snap a few quick photos of the gorgeous trek.

Not long after this hike, we explored a trail in Martinez, California — this time without the dogs since it was our first time trying it out.

The trail wrapped into the hills above the bay, providing lovely views of the ocean and lots of grazing cattle in the valley’s below. We went on the hike at the height of spring which meant ridiculously green hills and blooming flowers.

We can’t wait to explore more spots! Since these hikes, we’ve explored Bodega Bay twice, Davis, and the Sacramento Zoo, as well as Shady Cove, Oregon. Photos to come!

Valentine’s Day & Cooper’s Birthday Photoshoot

Cooper turned three-years-old on February 2 — a perfect excuse for a Valentine’s Day themed photoshoot.

I ordered Valentine’s Day themed balloons from Target and gathered decor for the shoot from around the house, including a cream blanket, blush-colored pillows, fake flowers, a few real flower petals from our backyard, and some antique-looking teal bins.

Originally, I was going to use a photo backdrop, but decided that the teal wall in our guest room tied in perfectly with the decor colors.

Cooper and Fidus have become rather grumpy about food and treats in the last year. As a result, I generally take their photos separately when I know I’ll be asking them to sit still for treats so that they aren’t stressed about the other dog taking food from them.

Cooper was up first. A border collie through and through, Cooper is amazing at following orders. With a little nudging and persuading with treats, I got her in just the right spots in the photo space I’d set up.

After a ridiculous amount of herding the dogs around, it was Fidus’ turn. He is much more treat-driven than Cooper. While Cooper is happy to have a treat, she’s far more pleased to complete a task. Fidus, bless his soul, just wants the treat. Nothing else exists besides that treat. His nose slowly moves closer and closer to the camera (where I’ve balanced a treat atop the lens) during shoots.

Can you see his eagerness?

When doing photoshoots that involve props with pets, be sure to keep an eye on them. Cooper was a little too interested in the fake flowers and the real flower petals. After some redirections (and moving the decor further away from where she was seated) she stopped. Fidus, surprisingly and unsurprisingly, did not try to snack on anything besides the treat teased in front of him.

We didn’t do anything too special for Cooper’s birthday this year — but the next weekend we took her and Fidus on a hike during the Super Bowl when we knew the trails would be emptier than normal. We are thrilled that the hike went well! Cooper learned to politely sit off trail without barking or becoming fearful of the people passing by — a huge step forward for her. Photos coming soon.

Behind the Scenes with Zip

Back in October, I had the delight of photographing Zip, an energetic border collie, as a Christmas present for one of his owners. I’ve held back posting some of his photos, wanting to wait until after the holidays to avoid spoiling Zip’s photo surprise.

I met Zip and his other owner in Davis, California at Northstar Park which provided a varied backdrop for our photos. The park features two ponds, large open green spaces, trails, sports fields, and more.

I had a wonderful time running around capturing Zip from different angles as he used his border collie stare to lock in on any one who daned to pass by — something I’m very familiar with thanks to my own border collie, Cooper. Can you tell which photos below he’s using the stare in?

We walked along the park’s main trail and stopped at different spots to take advantage of the park’s different looks. Take a look at some of our favorite photos from the shoot below!

Behind the Scenes with Elsa

Earlier this month, I met adorable Elsa for a photo session. Elsa is a 3-year-old chihuahua/terrier/splash of dachshund mix up for adoption with Happy Tails Pet Sanctuary here in the Sacramento area.

Shy but super sweet, Elsa had a great time exploring the park we were in while I snapped photos. Despite all the folks running around, she was content sniffing in the grass and wandering from tree to tree.

You can read more about Elsa on the Happy Tails website! We hope she finds her forever home soon!

Behind the Scenes with Riki

A week or so ago, I had the privilege of photographing Riki for Happy Tails Pet Sanctuary here in the Sacramento area. He was so curious as we wandered around his foster’s apartment complex and snapped some photos for his adoption page. He didn’t even care about the geese and ducks by the pond!

He’s not quite ready for adoption yet, but keep your eye on on the Happy Tails website!

Fun Facts About Riki

  • He is very outgoing
  • He loves to run
  • His favorite treats are turkey jerky and people food
  • His foster parent’s favorite things about him are how sweet and loveable he is.

We hope he enjoys his time with his foster and is adopted soon once he’s ready!

Hello, Northern California!

A short few months after launching Coop & You: Dog Photography & Adventure Packages in Orange County, we’ve hit the road and moved up north to Sacramento, California.

Change & New Beginnings

Once the pandemic hit, my husband and I had to make some touch decisions for the health of our own pups, Cooper and Fidus. Our dogs were still acclimating to their new found apartment lives when the world became a whole lot smaller amidst lockdowns and social distancing measures.

When we had a chance to move somewhere where the dogs could have a backyard again, we had to take it.

We’re very excited to begin new photography adventures here in Gold Country. In the short time we’ve been here, we’ve already been able to get out on our paddleboards more times than in the seven months we had in Southern California.

We cannot wait to make a list of hiking trails and lakes to explore in our adventure packages, but for now, our photo packages are officially available in Sacramento and the surrounding areas!

Have a suggestion for dog-friendly photo spots in Northern California? Let us know!

Behind the Scenes with Chance

dog running

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of photographing foster dog, Chance, in Yorba Linda. Chance may be one of the most photogenic dogs I’ve had the privilege of working with so far. While his high-contrast black and white fur made for a challenge (gotta make sure both colors pop in photos!), he was all smiles no matter how many different backgrounds and poses we tried.

Fun Facts About Chance

  • Chance enjoys car rides, walks, and jumping onto his pillow bed.
  • He loves to go to the park and the vet (what a winner!) to see all of his human friends.
  • He spends most of his day snuggling with his foster parents and taking naps. Or he spends time exploring his big backyard.
  • Great with people and dog savvy kids.
  • Knows commands like sit, down, come, place, and crate!
  • Chance is between 5-6 years old.
Chance and his foster mom, Chelsea

Chance is still learning how to walk peacefully on a leash and how to get along with other pets. His foster mom believes with patience and consistency he will do well with furry friends down the road, but he should be the only dog in the house for now.

“At the end of the day, this boy is a beautiful soul and is so deserving of a loving and kind family after the hard life he has had,” says foster mom Chelsey Haardt. “Chance wants to be the best dog ever and deserves a family that will continue to bring out the best in him!” 

Learn more about Chance on 4Life Rescue’s website!

Behind the Scenes: Photo Shoot with Pookie and Zoey

Recently, I had the pleasure of shooting some photos of foster dogs Pookie and Zoey. It was my first time back out on a shoot since shelter-in-place started which was thrilling. To keep everything safe, we met at a wide-open park and I shot at a distance and kept a mask on.

Pookie and Zoey are best friends and so sweet. I could tell they were excited to be out and about, sniffing everything they could possibly get their noses on. The two are available for adoption with 4Life Animal Rescue. Zoey is a shih-tzu and bichon frise mix and Pookie is a cocker spaniel and bichon frise mix.

These two must be adopted together — they’ve been friends for 11 years after all!

Fun Facts about Zoey & Pookie

  • They love going on walks (long or short) and laying out in the sun together
  • Zoey enjoys playing with rope toys and tug-of-war
  • Pookie is a lap dog and loves to cuddle
  • Zoey is more independent and her foster mom says, “she’s spicy!”
  • They are good with other dogs
  • Since they’re seniors and need more peace, they probably shouldn’t be in a home with young children

To learn more about Zoey and Pookie, visit their adoption page with 4Life Animal Rescue.

Behind the Scenes: Mini-Session with Jager & Family

This family and their Boxer, Jager, were the first ones to book a pet photography session with Coop & You and for that we will be forever grateful! The family took part in our Spring Mini-Session in Irvine a couple of weeks ago.

The energy between their dog and youngster made for an exciting family photo shoot, with me running around hoping to get the perfect shots where both pup and child were engaged and looking towards the camera.

My primary experience is capturing images of dogs, mainly from all the practice taking photos of my own, so I was very thankful to have the opportunity to take photos of Jager with his entire family. A huge shout out to Jager’s mom for trusting me with her family photos!

We had so much fun during the shoot that it ran a little later than we planned. We began to lose some light behind Irvine’s hills, but we took full advantage of the golden hour light we were gifted through most of it.

Enjoy more photos of this beautiful family below! You can follow Jager’s adventures on Instagram at @jager_themeister.

We love that this youngster brought his Woody and Buzz Lightyear toys to the shoot. It captures his personality!

Want to book a session for your pup? Contact us with the form below and/or sign up to our monthly newsletter for updates on future mini-session dates!

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Behind the Scenes: Mini-Session with Kaya

Last week, we had our first Orange County pet photography mini-sessions in Irvine along a beautiful trail at sunset.

Our first session was with Kaya, a beautiful Samoyed pup who is just nearing her first birthday! This dog’s coat was so white and clean, folks on the trail joked that she would be a different color after finishing the hike.

Kaya was so well behaved and picture ready! Like most Samoyeds, she was friendly as could be, stopping to say hello to anyone who came along her path. This was one of Kaya’s first hikes and we’re so glad we could come along to photograph it!

My parent’s actually have a Samoyed, Bear, a favorite model who you’ll see in many of our photos. They are the sweetest dogs in the world, particularly with people. Their only flaw, besides being stubborn as heck, is that they love too much. If you’re looking for a guard dog, a Samoyed is probably the wrong choice. If you’re looking for a heckin’ good adventure partner who can go out in public with you, Samoyed’s are a great choice since they love everyone, even strangers!

We had so much fun with Kaya and hope to see her again! Check out more of our favorite shots from the shoot below.

Want to learn more about Samoyeds? Read all about the breed on the American Kennel Club website. Have one yourself? You can meet up with other Samoyeds at a SoCal Samoyed meetup. Follow them on Instagram at @socalsamoyeds.

You can follow Kaya as she grows up on Instagram at @kayabear_samoyed.

Want to book a session for your pup? Contact us with the form below and/or sign up to our monthly newsletter for updates on future mini-session dates!

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