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 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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Pet Photography Tips

We’re lucky to live in a world where our cell phones are often the only tool we need to capture a moment with our beloved pets. Here’s some tips for capturing quality photos of your animal friends.

10 Pet Photography Tips

  1. Be somewhere they are comfortable
    • Whether planning a shoot with Coop & You or just taking photos yourself, make sure the location is somewhere your dog is comfortable. Photos taken in your own living room, back yard, or a favorite park will often yield the best results because your pet is free to be themself without worries of a new place.
  2. Have treats
    • Like myself, most pets are motivated by food. Have their favorite treats handy to coax them into the pose or location you want them to be in. You’ll also want to give them some yummy snacks as a reward for their good work after the shoot!
  3. If they’re uncomfortable around the camera, don’t add costumes
    • I’ve made this mistake with my own dog. She did not like her Halloween costume a couple of years ago, but we strapped it on her because we had to take family photos in our group costume. Poor thing looks miserable in all of the shots. Not worth it! If your pet doesn’t like costumes skip it or be sure to slowly get them used to wearing it in the weeks leading up to the shoot or occasion.
  4. Use toys as props
    • One of my favorite things about my Google Pixel 3 is the slow-motion camera capabilities and portrait mode. I like to throw my dog her ball and capture it in slow-motion. The results are hilarious and authentic because she doesn’t know I’m taking her photo, she’s just playing fetch!
  5. Capture them in action
    • This one might depend on your phone or camera, but instead of trying to get your dog in a specific pose or in front of a backdrop, just capture them being them! Get some action shots at the dog park or playing in the backyard. I’m a sucker for candid photos and they usually end up being my favorite.
  6. Use their tricks
    • Like using their toys as props, use the tricks your dog knows to get the photo you want. “Sit. Stay.” is perfect for getting them to sit still in front of a backdrop. Ask them to shake hands for an adorable shot. This is more applicable for dogs than other pets, but perhaps I’m not giving other pets enough credit!
  7. Take them for a run before-hand or incorporate into a training session
    • Again, perhaps more applicable for dogs, try to tire them out before a photo session so that they are happy to be sitting or laying down in one place. An energetic pet may be desired for a candid shoot, but for a general session, you’ll want them calm. You can also incorporate photos into your normal training sessions by giving them treats everytime they do something you want them to do during the shoot. This will help keep them engaged.
  8. Be patient
    • Dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, any pets, unfortunately, do not speak English. They don’t know what you want from them. Be patient and remember to keep it calm and fun for them. If they aren’t into it, you may just have to call it a day and try again another time.
  9. Minimize distractions
    • Pets, especially dogs, can be easily distracted by loud noises or quick movements happening around them. If possible, find a location with minimal distractions like your own home, a dog park at a not-so busy time, or just try to keep your distance from others.
  10. Make it fun
    • In the end, your pet will probably never enjoy having their photo taken as much as you enjoy capturing those moments. But the key is to make sure they have a pleasant experience so they don’t mind you whipping out the phone/camera here and there. Give them lots of positive praise and treats.

So why pay for professional pet photography?

Part of the reason I came up with the very idea for Coop & You was realizing I wasn’t in many photos with my own dogs. Not to mention, it’s hard when out adventuring to stop and take photos of your pet, especially if they are always anxious to keep moving (like our big dog, Fidus) or nervous (like our little dog, Cooper). When I’m out with them, I have to give them my full attention (the way it really should be with any pet). And at home, while I can get individual photos of them with ease, it’s hard to get family shots even with a tripod and a timer.

And, while phone cameras are extraordinary today, they still don’t hit the same mark as DSLR or mirrorless cameras. This can be particularly frustrating if you want to blow up a photo for a print or canvas but your phone’s image quality just isn’t good enough. By booking with a pet photographer, you’ll get the image sizes you need for prints and you’ll also get professional photo editing.

When you book with Coop & You, or any professional pet photographer, you get to just enjoy being in the moment with your dog, running along the beach, playing at the park, or snuggling at home. We’ll capture that moment for you so you can remember it forever.

More Information

Send us a message to learn more about a session with Coop & You!

Spring & Easter Mini-Sessions 2020

We are excited to announce two mini-sessions this March in Orange County! We’ll have a trail-based photo shoot in Irvine and an Easter themed photo shoot in Orange. While we’re dog obsessed here, families and others without pets can take advantage of these sessions, too!

dog at sunset in field

Friday, March 6, 2020 – Natural Photos | $52 (including 20% discount)
4:30 pm | 5:30 pm

Our first mini-session will produce more natural and candid photos. In these 20 minute sessions, I will accompany you and your pup/family/friends along a trail in Irvine to get a couple of different backgrounds and authentic moments as you enjoy golden hour along Irvine’s beautiful hills. Since this is our first official mini-session, sessions are 20 percent off!

There are only two session times left so book soon! Email ashley@coopandyou.photography to reserve your spot.

Spring decor on a picnic blanket

Saturday, March 14, 2020 – Prop Photos | $65
3:30 pm | 4 pm | 4:30 pm | 5 pm

If you’re looking for a more traditional Easter mini-session, the following weekend we will have a mini-session in Orange at a local park. These 20 minute sessions will take place in one spot amongst spring-y Easter props under a tree at the park.

There are four open sessions left for this shoot! Email ashley@coopandyou.photography to reserve your spot.

What do Mini-Sessions Come With?

Dog at sunset

The price for the mini-sessions includes a 20 minute session and at least 8 digital images from the shoot along with one fun polaroid shot. All digital images are for your personal-use: share them on social media, make personal prints, whatever you’d like! We just ask that you credit us on social and keep our small watermark on prints.