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When I first saw this stunning beach photography shoot by Photo Lab Pet Photography I recognised two things. The playful exuberance you only see with a teenage pup – such fun! – and the true bond between a girl and her dog. For me there’s nothing sweeter in life. Meet Juneau…
The first words I ever heard from Sarah, when she was booking her photo session for Juneau were: “My relationship (with Juneau) is very important to me…” Right then I knew we were in for something special. Sarah had adopted Juneau as a young puppy and had fallen in love from day one. At roughly 8 months old, Juneau is growing into a stunning adolescent, bringing along all the challenges that come with that age! With Husky, Shepherd, Pit Bull and your guess-is-as-good-as-mine physical traits, and a signature pink nose, this Dingo-looking dog was a gem to photograph.
With an energetic, teenage puppy, shoots tend to be fast-paced, but we were prepared. We tend to work with whatever the dog is willing to give, and the most important thing in every shoot we do is for it to be fun, both for the dog and for their person. My favorite part of that morning’s shoot was hearing Sarah and her mom (who had come to watch the shoot) laugh, and sigh and just have a great time.
Because Juneau has some Husky blood in him, and he’s still learning the ropes of being a well-mannered and attentive adult, Sarah was nervous about having him off leash. We decided to shoot in this tiny, enclosed cove in Larkspur, and attach a long line to him; this way, Juneau could relax and have fun without the weight and strain of a leash, and Sarah could have fun herself having the peace of mind that if Juneau’s independent streak should kick in, it would be easy to reel him back… To her surprise and delight however, Juneau was so attuned to her every move, wanting her to be part of the fun, that he never strayed too far and the long line became obsolete. She took every opportunity to reward him for that attention with our favorite treats to bring to every shoot, which Juneau went gaga over.
Sarah wanted to make sure we got two images in particular: A close-up of Juneau’s face and an image of his gangly, awkward “sit”. We got those images for her, but we also gave her what we saw in Juneau and their relationship: a happy (yet serious) energetic puppy who loves to run, just like his mom (she’s a runner too), a dog that is not too cool to have fun and a girl who is in love with this best friend of hers.
The final photographs we took are my favorites, Juneau is by then tired and allows Sarah to pick him up for a snuggle, which he reciprocates with a salty, sandy facial and soft, squinty eyes. We love shooting at sunrise at this location, it is simply magic.
Sarah later told us Juneau slept soundly for the rest of the day; she couldn’t believe it.
Bill Parsons and Natalia Martinez are the team behind Northern California-based Photo Lab Pet Photography and Design Lab Creative Studio. With a shared passion for animals, their work centers around photographing them in a natural environment letting their individuality shine. They work with private and commercial clients and volunteer services to shelters and rescue organizations. Photo Lab Pet Photography is a proud member of HeARTs Speak and honored to be a favorite to a variety of companies, organizations and publications including Bark Magazine, PLAY Pet Lifestyle and You, K9 Scrub Club, as well as the Sonoma and Marin Humane Society.
They live in Petaluma, CA supported by their pack: dogs Corbin and Willow and cats Leeloo and RT.