Recent Work

Portraits for dogs

Better Than a Baby Gender Reveal, A German Shepherd Puppy Reveal!

Do you know the very best way to surprise a 10 year old girl?

Puppies! Of course! German Shepherd puppies, to be specific.

Now, before I get into the nitty-gritty of this particular puppy photo session, let me back up a couple of steps and explain just how this sweet surprise came about; 

Madison had been wanting a dog for a while. About four years, as a matter of fact! She would beg her family, promising she would take excellent care of the new dog, if just given the chance. Every plea from Madison, brought about the same family response of, "not right now."
Most kids would get tired of asking and just give up. After all, in the life of a 10 year old, four years is nearly half of her life! 
But Madison persisted. 
Meanwhile, Madison's family had been waiting for the right opportunity to bring a new dog into their life. German Shepherd dogs have long been a breed favorite for this crew. So when the time was right, they concentrated their efforts on finding a German Shepherd puppy.

Do you know how, sometimes, when you get one thing, you start to think; "if one is good, two must be better"?

Well, Madison's family had that train of thought when they were researching German Shepherd puppies. Turns out, Madison's grandparents ended up with a German Shepherd puppy, too!

Madison's mom wanted to make this Puppy Reveal extra special for her daughter. A photo session at my studio was the perfect solution. After all, I have been photographing Madison's family for just about 17 years!
Brittanii, Madison's mom, called me with her idea and together we made a plan. 
Madison came to my studio thinking she was here for a regular portrait session. We began the session with some quick shots of Madison. Then Brittanii took some time to primp Madison and pretend to fix her hair. While Madison was distracted, her grandma and aunt snuck in through my back door with one of my milk crates, filled with two puppies! (I told you this was a family affair!)

 SURPRISE! You just got yourself two German Shepherd puppies!

SURPRISE! You just got yourself two German Shepherd puppies!

We were all tickled at how long it took Madison to notice there were puppies just behind her. But I should have known, Madison has always been an outstanding photo subject for me, since she was a newborn. Of COURSE she would follow directions and keep her focus on me and my camera!
After some quick thinking, and some silent giggles, I had Madison turn her head a bit.

And then, voila!, the puppies were discovered!

 What could make these puppies even more precious? Add flowers, of course!

What could make these puppies even more precious? Add flowers, of course!

This Puppy Reveal could not have been more perfect! Madison's reactions to the two newest members of her family was priceless! She squealed and asked if she could hold them. Madison later told me that, when she first saw the two German Shepherd pups, she thought they were mind. What can I say? This kid knows me well!
As the initial excitement wound down, we got to work photographing the puppies' first portrait session. These two little dolls immediately stole my heart. They slept through most of the rest of the session. Clearly, the excitement of the evening had worn them out! I was able to caputre some really cute images of this little boy and girl.
 

Oh yes, and if you're curious, these two cuties are named; Hawkin and Millie.
Sweet names made even sweeter once I tell you, these two German Shepherds are named for Stranger Things characters!
Hawkin is the police sheriff and Millie is the name of the actress who plays Eleven. 
If you're a Stranger Things fan, you get the references. And if you're not, well, you can still appreciate the adorable names <3 

Leo the Great Dane teaches us why puppy portraits are important!

Leo the Great Dane

This is a story about my first Great Dane. His name was Leonidas Demetri, but we all called him, Leo.
Leo was a massive dog. Even for a Great Dane, Leo towered on the taller side of average. And his head!... Leo's head was massive! He had huge jowls that hung down over his lower jaw, creating the perfect pockets for his drool. Leo had a lot of drool, it was one of his most enduring AND annoying qualities. <3

Great Dane puppies grow very quickly.

Great Danes certainly grow more quickly than an average size dog. And puppyhood, which is already a fleeting moment in a dog's life, feels especially like the blink of an eye in the life of a Great Dane. I decided it was important to capture Leo as the small puppy he was in those early days of coming home. I knew he was going to go through some drastic growth spurts over the next year of his life, and I didn't want to forget those first moments, when I could still carry him in my arms.

Leo's puppy portraits were perfect!

I was so happy with Leo's puppy images. The portraits absolutely captured his small(ish) size, his awkward feet that already looked bigger than his body could use. 
Leo still had blue eyes at the time of his puppy portraits. I had high hopes that Leo's eyes would remain blue. But as he grew, his eye color changed to a more standard brown that are more common in the Great Dane breed. I'm glad, now, to have portraits of Leo's sweet blue eyes while he was still a tiny baby.

Leo, my sweet, giant merle patterned Great Dane, is no longer with us. He passed over Rainbow Bridge a few years ago. One of his puppy portraits hangs in my home. His wall portrait is a precious reminder of the days he was small. Those months that lasted only mere moments in the course of his life, are still fresh in my memory as I walk by Leo's grand puppy portrait each day, in my home.

I loved that boy with all of my heart. Leo was my first introduction to the Great Dane breed. I am forever grateful to have him in my heart. And also to have his portrait hanging in my home. 

Dog Photographer: German Shepherd Puppy Dog

I am a HUGE fan of German Shepherd Dogs.

This dog breed has long been a favorite for me. German Shepherds are dependable. They are loyal. They are SO smart. And they love to please their people.

A little known fact to many people; I grew up with German Shepherd dogs. My (human :) ) son is named for my first German Shepherd my family had, when I was a baby and young girl. His name was Benjamin. We called him Benny. I have many fond memories of laying on beanbags with Benny and watching Sesame Street.

A well bred German Shepherd puppy is truly a sight to behold. Leah brought me just such a puppy when she commissioned me to photographer her Zender. I knew Zender and I would get along well, the minute he walked through my door. Armed with a sweet personality and all of that puppy fluff, Zender melted my heart on his first sweet nose kiss!

Zender's German Shepherd father is named Ven. I have always enjoyed Ven, both in the studio and in the field. And, lucky for me, Zender is just like his father! Both dogs share the same personality and the same drive to please their people. Zender and Ven also share their love for being photographed!

Little Zender already knew his basic commands.

He also knew some more advanced commands, like "chill." The "chill" command is used when Leah wants Zender to put his chin on the ground. IT IS SO CUTE to see Zender do this trick!

Zender has a great start to life with his human, Leah. And all the backing from a wonderful kennel, Lytle's K-9's, where Zender was born.

Melissa Laggis Photographer: Black Labrador Retriever Puppy

It's official! The Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog breed in America.

And is it really any wonder that the Lab is the most popular dog breed? I bet if you sit down right now, you can name AT LEAST 6 friends who currently own a Labrador Retriever. As a matter of fact, odds are high you own, or have owned, a Lab yourself!

This is the 26th year in a row that the Labrador Retriever has snagged the number one spot in popular breed rankings. The lab is a versatile dog who loves to please her humans. Labradors are quick to learn and have enough stamina to be on the go all day.

Any time a Lab puppy comes into my studio, I 100% understand the attraction to this breed. The face of a Lab puppy is awfully hard to beat! Those big eyes, that sweet expression, those floppy ears... argh! I just can't get enough!

Enter, one of the cutest little Lab puppies on the planet, Kimber.

This baby girl was SO much fun to photograph! There just wasn't a single moment when she gave me a bad expression. Every single thing she did was simply adorable! I told Angelia, Kimber's human, that if Kimber belonged to me, she'd get away with everything.

I mean, come ON, I am convinced the term "puppy dog eyes" came from folks who owned Labrador Retriever puppies. You just cannot deny those eyes!

Kimber also had another thing going for her when she entered my studio. She is a black Labrador Retriever. And while I love all the different coat colors of Labs, the black ones just have a special place in my heart. But, as my clients all know; any black or white dog is special to me! It seems those are the only two colors I "collect" :)

*Funny side story: When I got my latest dog, who is white, my veterinarian took one look and said to me, "you do know that dogs come in other colors besides black and white...?"

Alaska Dog Photographer: Shy Puppy Mix Breed

I loved this mix breed puppy, Zoey! She had a beautiful face with big, dark eyes and a soft expression. When Zoey enters a room, you cannot help but fall in love.

But Zoey isn't the type of puppy you want to run up to or get in her face. You see, Zoey is shy. But lucky for her, I'm pretty good with shy puppies. I've had years of experience working with puppies who tend to be anxious or unsure about their new surroundings. One of my most shy puppies was my own Great Dane girl.

Zoey walked in to the studio, a little cautious. She did not show any signs of fear. Instead, she just moved slowly, staying close to her Human and watching everything around her. I knew immediately that my impulse to get close to Zoey and pet her would not be well received. So I kept myself away from her and tossed her bits of delicious cheese. Slowly but surely, Zoey came out of her shell to sniff out, and eat, the cheese trail.

Eventually, Zoey was ready to make portraits. Her shy puppy personality was still there, but her confidence was increasing by the minute.

I took my time with every portrait image I made of Zoey. She and I spent plenty of time between making images to engage in quiet play. I always let Zoey tell me when she was finished with me. And I was always prepared to back off and not force her into anything that may cause stress.

By creating a safe environment for Zoey, I was able to drastically increase her confidence in herself. But also, this shy puppy was able to trust me and give me the behavior I asked for during the session.

Zoey's time in front of the camera did not last as long as many of my dog portrait sessions. It was more important to me that Zoey be comfortable than that I get the perfect shot. Besides, I happen to be pretty confident in my camera work, myself. And I knew I could get what I needed from her in a short amount of time.

Zoey proved she was more than just a shy puppy. When Zoey came back with Tracey, her Human, to view the images, Zoey pranced right into my studio, as though she lived here! What's more is Zoey LOVED sitting with me. Gone was the shy puppy who preferred me at a distance. Instead I was greeted by a confident girl who wanted to snuggle with me and play.

Tracey has already booked a second session for Zoey. This time, I'll be photographing Zoey's doggy siblings along with her!