It is always bittersweet to feature a portrait session as heartwarming and heartbreaking as this one from Peta Santoro of 100 Loyal Faces Photography. Barney was a handsome and well loved senior Border Collie.
From Peta: “I recently shot a session with an older dog, a Border Collie named Barney, with his family. This included their other dog, also a Border Collie, Lexie.
The session was done on a “drop everything” basis as my clients had found out that Barney was ill – it just so happened that the session was held on my client, Dennis’ birthday which was also the same day that he received Barney as a puppy, for his birthday, 12 years ago. For some unknown reason, Barney had become anemic and the vet was not sure whether Barney would pull through. As you can imagine, it was a super emotional photo shoot given that it was Dennis’ birthday, the 12 year anniversary of him getting Barney as well as coming off the back of Barney receiving an emergency blood transfusion to try and save his life.
Sadly Barney did pass away. I always find it hard when I hear a client has lost their dog – I get more attached to people/animals than I realise. And I never know what to say about it without sounding contrite. My eye’s kept welling up every time I tried to edit Barney’s photos
Barney’s family sent along my favorite quote:
“Everyone thinks they have the best dog…. and none of them are wrong.” ~W. R. Pursche
From Barney’s family: “Barney was truly a special dog. He was my constant companion, loyal friend and always lots of fun. When I remember Barney, I see him sitting on his old grandpa chair out the front of the house, watching the world go by. When I studied I remember him lying so close to my feet that I couldn’t move the chair. I remember his sandy nose at the beach and his brisk gallop during walk time at the park. I remember the enthusiastic joy on his face when it was food time! I remember the wind rustling through his hair and cheeks when his head hung outside the car window. Most of all, I remember looking into his gorgeous big brown eyes and feeling nothing but love and comfort.
The family was blessed with 12 wonderful years of his company. Dignified to the end, he was a gentleman of a dog who put up a brave fight, but succumbed to illness 2 months ago.
Barney – to the world you may have just been a dog, but you truly were our world. We miss you so much old fella.
My heart goes out to Barney’s family, I know it isn’t easy to lose a loved one. I’m glad they were able to get these wonderful photos by 100 Loyal Faces Photography! If you haven’t had your pet professionally photographed recently, I hope you will! Photos are such a wonderful keepsake for those left behind.
To see the rest of Barney’s session visit 100 Loyal Faces here.
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Since a lot of photographers read Daily Dog Tag, I wanted to share this additional information from Peta: “Due to Barney’s health, the session was done at my clients’ home. I found this challenging as location features so prominently in my work and I usually choose my lighting situations quite carefully. Nevertheless, I think I did okay making use of the main bedroom and front garden. I tried to look for the best light as well as light that reflected my style (backlit afternoon sunshine). I also did a lot of research before going in to the shoot, and in particular, studied the work of photographers who do a lot of work with older dogs, such as Sarah Beth Photography (her Joy Sessions are amazing). I actually showed her work to my clients to see if they liked that approached. This was so useful as it helped us focus on achieving that type of look.
My aim was to be a storyteller – my clients wanted to show the connection they had with Barney as well as have a “classic” looking portrait of him. I shot really shallow – where appropriate – around f/2.8 for most of the shots. I wanted to give the photos that soft, dreamy feel to them that I find so appealing. I wasn’t too concerned about unimportant parts of the images being out of focus, so long as my main subject’s eyes were sharp.”
About 100 Loyal Faces Photography: Based in Perth, Australia, Peta Santoro is Perth’s leading natural light pet photographer. Peta specializes in bespoke, fine art pet portraiture sessions for Perth and South-West clients.