Photographing Doodles in Atlanta Piedmont Park
When Amy and I planned her session she mentioned wanting a park-like setting for her two miniature bernedoodles and let me know that as a traveling nurse currently stationed in Atlanta, she wasn’t exactly sure where to go. Immediately my brain went to Atlanta’s iconic Piedmont Park. I love Piedmont Park for dog photography. I even had my own engagement photos done in the park with our herd of dogs way back in 2010. And since then, I’ve photographed quite a few of Atlanta’s most loved dogs and their parents in and around the park. One of my favorite things about Piedmont Park is there is a ton of variety! You can check out some past posts with pet photo sessions in Piedmont Park here and here. For now, let’s take a look at Benson & Lily’s session: Photographing Doodles in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park.
There will be an effort to communicate with me on my level.
I will be talked to and, eve n if I don’t understand,
I can enjoy the warmth of the words.
I will be given a name so that I may know who I am among many.
My name will be used in joy, and I will love the sound of it!
Here in this house…
-Quoted from Here in this House, a poem
Doodles on Rocks at Piedmont Park
There are two reasons I loved photographing Benson & Lily, the bernedoodles, against the stone at Piedmont Park. One, I love the way curly doodle hair contrasts with hard stone. And two, Lily’s merle coat was perfect with the grays and browns of the stone. I was super excited to get to use this area of the park because it was a cloudy morning, most sessions at Piedmont Park have very harsh light along this stone wall and little patio.
I started with group photos, after years of photographing multiple dogs during sessions I’ve learned to start with the group photo while all my noises are still fresh. We usually try a few group photos through-out the session, and you’ll see another photo of both doodles together if you keep scrolling, but I like to mark that most requested photo completed early on so everything else is just icing on the cake.
Once we completed our group photos of both doodles on the stone wall, we also did a few individual photos, and photos together with mom. From there we just stepped onto the little stone patio space that is partially enclosed by the low stone wall. I really love the way the leading lines of the wall add to the composition of these images. Plus, with similar tones images from both the wall and the patio flow together beautifully in the album we designed after the session.
Doodles on The Lawn at Piedmont Park
Now it was time to play and get dirty, so we headed down to the lawn. The day before our session had been super rainy – in fact we worried the weather might cause a reschedule – so the grass was still damp. Damp grass and wrestling doodles in the back meant wet curly doodle fur!
One of things Amy mentioned she really loved about Lily were her baby curls since she is only 6 months old and hadn’t gotten her first big girl haircut yet. I made sure to capture a few super close up images that highlighted all those curls.
We finished up with some “puppy dog eyes” photos which are always on my list of must have photos. There is just something about those big brown puppy eyes looking right up at you that makes everything seem better. I save these photos for the end because standing above the dogs while holding something to my face can be a little too much at first for some dogs. By the end we’ve usually had time to get to know each other a little and both Benson & Lily were happy to earn a few treats for looking right into the camera. We even managed a group photo with both doodles looking straight into the camera which is going to be perfect over the mantel!
From the Park to the Walls
When we leave the session all I have is a bunch of data on an SD card (with a backup copy on a dual slot CF card). Lots of pixels that live in a digital world. And no one is framing an SD card and sticking it on their wall. You can’t arrange those strings of 0’s & 1’s into a photo album you can put in your lap either.
So while we all want digital files to put on Instagram and Facebook and the lock screens of our phones, our images also deserve to live in the real world. This is one of my favorite parts of a session (other than petting all the dogs). Once we all go home, I go through all the images and find the best of the best. Leashes are removed in post processing, color corrections are made, and I clean up any eye boogers that don’t belong in a final portrait. And then, we make art.
For Benson & Lily, it’s this gorgeous saddle leather album with a metal cameo cut out cover. The pages are gilded in black and we have their names debossed on the back inside cover. Amy even added extra customization by having her favorite poem “Here in this house” printed on the first page. She said she reads this poem to Benson & Lily every night at bedtime and it’s her promise to them.
We couldn’t stop with just the album though, remember we have that perfect image for over the mantel, and those group photos of Benson, Lily, & Amy together. We created a beautiful 3 piece gallery over the bed and a perfect framed image over the mantel.
Amy is leaving her post in Atlanta for her next traveling nursing gig and these images of her precious doodles in Piedmont Park will be such a great memory to have of her time in the city.
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