Clients often ask me “what if my dog cannot be trusted off leash?”  During a custom photography session, your pet’s safety is my #1 priority.  Sometimes, a dog simply cannot be trusted off-leash for a variety of reasons.  I get it.  Depending on the location and situation, I wouldn’t trust my own dogs off-leash either!  When it comes to distractions, both human and canine, my bubbas have a mind of their own and nothing will stop them if they decide to go.  I am sure some, if not all, of you can relate.

So, I thought it might be helpful to show you that we CAN get beautiful images of your pet, even if they are being held on-leash by someone or are tied up to a tree, park bench, or stop sign.  The images in this series were taken in a variety of settings under different conditions to show you how we can always make it work, even on a leash.

For part one of this series – which I’m calling Unleashed – we have two photos taken of former BARCS shelter dogs, Lou and Bisin (now re-named Lily).  Both of these dogs have been adopted and are loving life in their new homes.  Now, these might not be the best examples, but it does show what can be done to a leash during post processing.  Naturally, we absolutely cannot let the shelter dogs off leash for photos so for both of these photos, I had an assistant (my husband) holding the dog while it was on leash.  If these photos were for a client, I would definitely clone the leashes out for them.  Granted, these were a little more tricky because of the thick leashes and because I wasn’t really trying to shoot around the leashes I like would for a client, but I think you get the idea.  So check out the before and after shots of Lou and Lily. 

I didn’t spend a ton of time cloning the leashes out for these examples so I apologize if they are a tad messy.  However, I think it gives you a good idea of what can be done to an image after it has been taken.  With meticulous post processing techniques, the leash can virtually disappear as if it was never there at all!

If you wanted to take it a step further, you could even remove the collars from your images.  Check out the before and after photos of Lou and Lily below.  Now they look like two dogs just hanging around outside, wild + free.  Had I not told you these were shelter dogs at the beginning, would you even know? 

Again, I didn’t spend a lot of time cloning the collars out due to time constraints, but I think you get the idea.  Any dog can be photographed on-leash and have the leash removed during post processing.  The process of cloning out a leash takes patience and time in order to do it properly and it works best if you use a Flexi-lead (retractable leash) since they are thin and blend in much easier than the thick, chunky leashes I use at the shelter.  Because this process is so time consuming, I cannot clone out every single leash from the proofing gallery.  However, I am more than happy to do this for images which will be purchased and displayed proudly!

Keep an eye out for Part Two of this Unleashed series.  For that, I took a field trip with my two bubbas – alone – to a local park in order to prove to you (and myself) that it is possible to take photos of a leashed dog by tying them to stationery objects and working with the surroundings.  I can’t wait to show you the results of this little experiment!  More importantly, I’m super proud that I was able to handle two large, hot, impatient, grumpy dogs by myself and still get some really great shots.  Quite the accomplishment for me.  I wasn’t sure how it would turn out… but I’m definitely pleased with the results.  Stay tuned!