I’m not much of a cross border shopper and I have to admit that I haven’t spent much time exploring Buffalo and the surrounding area. However, when I discovered that pet photographer extraordinaire Jamie Pflughoeft of Cowbell Photography in Seattle would be in Buffalo AND was offering mentoring sessions… I spazzed out slightly and booked myself in immediately.

On the day of, my intrepid driver and dog handler du jour, Carole Tothe of Tothe Photography, barrelled along the back roads of Niagara in an effort to beat Outlet Mall and border traffic. We kicked up a lot of dust behind us and managed to arrive at the meeting point a little behind schedule but none the worse for wear (read: no speeding tickets).

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would have an opportunity to work with someone of Jamie’s calibre. Naturally, I was pretty pumped because I had 4 hours of time with someone who has pretty much done it all in 10 plus years of experience as a pet photographer. I wouldn’t exactly call it a short cut, but I’m glad I was able to capitalize on her learning and shave down my learning curve time somewhat.

We met one-on-one first to chat about my shooting style, which Jamie described as leaning towards modern and she said that they made her feel like she is there (excellent Smithers!); then we culled my portfolio down to the creme de la creme and finally she showed me some digital darkroom techniques to take the best examples of my work from really good images to WOW!

Next we headed over to a nearby park with Canadian super model Gibson (my long haired Weimaraner muse). It was so much to take in that I’m still amazing I retained a thing from our session. Tips on shooting and techniques for working with both dogs and their parents! I was quasi exhausted at the end but still so energized I couldn’t stay still, or shut up according to Carole [insert smile].

When we were done, we waved the wonderful Jamie off (I was sad that I didn’t get to meet her dog Fergie, but Fergie was a little under the weather), then Carole and Gibson and I headed over to Niagara Fall’s landmark spot Viola’s for a double steak and cheese sub. It was as delicious if not more so than Carole had purported and I would highly recommend it… with all the fixin’s no less.

Here are a couple of my favourite shots from the shoot with Jamie, emphasis that day was less on shooting and more on other information, but I was happy to have at least one more image for my portfolio.

Long haired Weimaraner Gibson Long Haired Weimaraner Gibson schmizing