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Dexter’s Ready For His Close Up

I have tons of pictures of Dexter on my cell phone, so many that I wind up deleting them to make room for more. In spite of having all these pictures of Dexter right at my fingertips, I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve never printed, much less framed any of them. When an opportunity to have a professional photo shoot with Dexter came up, I jumped at the chance.

Dexter can be a little bit difficult, and he picks up on energy, like all dogs.  While he is well socialized with other dogs, he is lukewarm towards people and has some fear aggression.  As far as traveling to someone else’s house, someone I had never met before, well, I didn’t know how he would act or what he might do to embarrass himself or me.

Raymond Janis and Charlie Nunn of Charlie Nunn Photography are professional pet photographers with an amazing body of work. They’re experts at pet portraits with creative and inspiring work.  They claim to use minimal props with simple backdrops to focus on capturing a dog’s (or cat’s) personality, but I questioned if Dexter would let them capture his.

Would he bite them? Poop on their floor? Lift his leg in the house? Nuisance bark? All these things remained to be seen and I was slightly nervous to see what would happen.  The day before the shoot, I had Dexter groomed (naturally) so he would look his absolute best. I explained to Dexter as calmly and clearly as possible that I hoped he would behave on the following day and that I was counting on him to make me proud.  On Friday afternoon, when we we’re driving over to the studio, despite pleading with Dexter for good behavior, he still acted like a maniac in the car, crying and barking the entire time. I hoped this wasn’t a sign of things to come…

We were greeted at the door by Raymond and Charlie and they warmly welcomed us inside their home. Experts at pet behavior, they wisely ignored Dexter while he explored their house. I was relieved that Dexter wasn’t showing any signs of aggression.  Dexter seemed very interested in exploring the yard, so Raymond invited us outside to meet their dogs and have a visit. Dexter enjoyed meeting the other dogs and I could tell that after spending some time in the yard, he was more comfortable and ready to come inside and have his picture taken.  

Raymond and Charlie showed me some of the pictures they had taken of other dogs and I was impressed. Each portrait was a piece of art; every frame captured a different part of the pets’ personality. All custom printed and framed, they were gorgeous and stunning. We chatted awhile about some of the pets in the pictures and then it was time to move to the studio.

Their studio is located in their home but they also have a mobile studio with the ability to set up anywhere. Dexter marched right into the studio space as if he was born ready for his close-up!

For this special occasion I had bought Dexter an all-in-one bow tie and collar. He looked very handsome wearing this but Raymond and Charlie also have plenty of options to offer in the way of accessories and props.

Dexter sat comfortably on a backdrop while Charlie readied his camera. Raymond sat next to Dexter reassuring him and giving him treats. Dexter was right at home, eating treats with abandon and letting his new friends pet him. Charlie began to click away with his camera while Raymond worked his squeaky magic causing Dexter to look into the lens. Dexter did so well, I was impressed (and relieved) by his good behavior.

Both Raymond and Charlie’s presence was reassuring to Dexter and kept him on his mark even while the flash went off. When it seemed Dexter was getting restless, Raymond knew exactly what to do to re-focus his attention. I could not believe it! Dexter was not only behaving but he was enjoying himself. If I didn’t know better, I wouldn’t have had any way of knowing that this was Dexter’s first time having his photo professionally taken.

After changing positions and lenses, Dexter had a “costume change.” Raymond and Charlie chose a different bow tie for this additional set of pictures and Dexter was so used to it all by now, he even let Raymond put this one on him. Dexter was completely comfortable with Raymond and Charlie and basked in all the positive attention he received.  At the end of the shoot, they were even kind enough to let me sit in with Dexter on a few of the shots. I can’t wait to see them!

We wrapped up the shoot and said our goodbyes. On the drive home, Dexter sat quietly in the back seat of the car; apparently his afternoon in front of the camera wore him out. Reflecting on the afternoon, I concluded how wonderful of an experience this was for Dexter and how so many other dogs would enjoy it, too. If you love your dog, YOU NEED to do this for him.

I cannot recommend Raymond and Charlie enough to anyone considering having professional pictures taken of their dog. If you are in the Los Angeles area, give them a call at 310-424-8065 and tell them I sent you. Even better, share the pictures with me. Woof!


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