Saturday morning was a fun morning. We got out early enough to beat the heat and stayed in the shadows of the buildings for the most part, so even the heat of a Phoenix summer didn’t deter us from taking some cool engagement portraits. Then add one very cool dog… It was a fun photo session with some cool results.

The slideshow is below and then my favorite images from the engagement session. Enjoy.

Downtown in any city is a great place to shoot (provided that it is a safe city).  There are obviously interesting backdrops everywhere you look, but one of the great advantages of photographing, in this case, engagement portraits, in the city is that the buildings give you cover from the sun at any point in the day.  No matter where the sun is, you can always find a shady spot.  So we took our engagement portrait shoot downtown in Phoenix, Arizona.  I always enjoy the painted lines and text on streets in a photograph and in this one, the street lines and the lines of the dog’s leash converge quite nicely, making an accelerated sense of perspective.


Cute shoes, cute dog.  No need to photograph anything else.


She is a super small girl, so she almost disappears when she snuggles in, but there seems to be a joyous safety in that and I can see that in her smile.


Again, I am using the converging lines of the parking entrance as the major design element in this shot.  And of course, her leg is perfect.  And the shoe too.


This dog is the coolest dog.  He was a rescued dog and she was his “foster parent”, but fell in love with him.  Can’t blame her for that.  The dog was low key and casual and was super cooperative as a subject.  Hence, lots of photos were taken with the dog.


Everytime I photograph animals at a wedding or engagement portrait, I am reminded of my earlier years in photography when I shot Christmas portraits of peoples’ pets on Santa’s lap at a local PetSmart store.  My favorite was when Santa (an elderly animal shelter worker lady) was handed a very large snake to hold.  She had a tough time with that assignment.  Then later, at a commercial studio, we shot the isle blades and catalog images for PetSmart.  We had dogs, cats, hamsters, snakes, parrots, lizards, fish and everything else you can think of on the set.  It was quite the experience.  Anyway, one animal becomes easy after that and this dog was a real cool customer.  So he was great.

I especially love this shot.  It was taken in an alleyway next to the hotel laundry room, so hot air was blowing on me as I shot in the already increasing temperatures of the Phoenix sumer morning, but the lighting was perfect.  No artificial light was necessary.  The only major light source was coming from the street where the dog is looking and bouncing off the walls as it filtered toward us.  That bounce with a little general fill light from the sliver of sky above gives the shadows just enough light to keep them full of interesting detail.



This next shot is in the same alleyway, so the light is similar, just with a very weak fill flash to soften up the drama.


And the parting shot – one of my favorite buildings in all of phoenix is the Orpheum Theater, which has been fused with the more modern Phoenix City building towering over it.  It was an beautiful way to merge the old and the new together.