Richy and Happy

30th March 2013
It has been such a long time since I did a blog post. For those of you following the Memphis Mutts Pet Photography Facebook page (and you really should be following it, look, I even made that a direct link for you to click on and go to the page, so that you can like it and stay up to date on all the newest Memphis Mutts photos), you probably saw a few photos of Richy and Happy. Richy is a ten year old Greyhound and Happy is a 12 year old cattle dog mix; they share their home with three other greyhounds, whom I hope to eventually photograph. Until then Happy and Richy are here to tide you over. Richy and Happy's session was purchased as a Christmas present, by Richy and Happy's owner's son. Despite receiving their gift certificate a little before Christmas, Richy and Happy's owners decided to wait until the weather was a bit warmer. We first attempted to schedule our session in early March, but of course after a short stretch of warm weather, the day we had planned on was forecasted to be in the chilly thirties. So we rescheduled our session for March 17th. With full intentions of heading to a local park for our photos, the weather laughed at us and gave us some misty precipitation with a slight chill. After talking to Richy and Happy's owner, we decided to take the pictures at their house so Richy and Happy could easily go inside if they were getting cold. While it wasn't what I was planning for, I think the switch from park to home was a good one.

So I guess it is at this point that I say, ON TO THE PICTURES!

This first photo of Richy is a great example of why deciding to do the pictures at home was a good one. Richy doesn't typically do much running, but since he was in his backyard, and the weather was perfect "be frisky" weather, he started dashing around the yard and gave us a few laps.

This second photo is the other reason why it was great to have switched to photographing at home, Richy and his football. Which he has had for years and likes to use as a pillow.

Then there is Happy. Who I was told typically refuses to look at the camera. But with my amazing mind powers I hypnotized her into looking. And by "amazing mind powers" and "hypnotized" what I really mean is with some of her favorite treats that her owners had and some that I had brought with me. At one point during our session, after taking a few photos, Happy walked up to me, wagging her tail and looking up at me. I thought we had really bonded and were now besties, when her owner told me she was expecting a treat. I couldn't help but laugh. I handed her her treat and she, living up to her name, was quite happy to receive her payment.

But she wasn't so enthralled with the camera that she wasn't capable of doing what makes every photographer's dog great, the pensive into the distance stare.

Richy's owner wasn't sure if she wanted to be in any of the pictures, but I managed to sneak this one in, and it quickly turned into one of my favorites.

Richy for the most part kept his ears back, but the few times his ears were forward I was surprised. I never realized that greyhounds' ears stand up (or maybe Richy is just special). When I think of greyhounds and their ears, I guess I typically think of them as back. Here's a photo of Richy to demonstrate the upright greyhound ear position.

And then there is the greyhound nose. Which, until you are staring at it taking a picture, you probably don't think much about either (or until you are editing the picture). Yes, their face is long and narrow (everything about them is streamlined for racing at incredible speeds), but the actual NOSE sticks out from their face. It fascinated me because it doesn't cause an overbite.

Not to be out done by all this greyhound business, Happy needed to show off her tongue. Which is purple. But it isn't JUST purple. No. It has Jaguar spots and what not on it. Her tongue wasn't seen much in our session since it wasn't hot enough to warrant too much panting, but I did manage to snag this picture of her awesome tongue. And really, who CAN'T love a purple tongue?

Here is the before picture of one of Happy's poses against the brick wall. I really loved her pose, and after some debate on whether the hand should stay or go, it was decided it needed to go. Because without the hand, Happy goes from just looking at a treat, to seeming incredibly proud and almost super hero-esqu as if she is ready to take off in a moment. Happy is meant to be the main focus of the picture, no need to have a competition between looking at her owner's hand and Happy's beautiful face (and coat). The red wall of the brick really exaggerated her black and just made her pop.

So here is the after. Hand gone, red popping, and her smokey colored coat visible, awesome, and beautiful.

I really enjoyed my session with Richy and Happy and hope to one day post a blog for the other three resident greyhounds. When I first realized I was going to photograph a greyhound I was insanely excited (and was excited the entire time I was taking pictures and saying hello to the five dogs greeting me at the door). Happy managed to slip in through my greyhound excitement and steal a chunk of my heart as well. She was adorable and made me laugh, reminding me of Brittany and Bello in the fact she was willing to do just about anything for a treat, but could be pretty obstinate without one. For those curious -- and I'm always curious -- Happy was adopted from a shelter in Boca Raton, FL and all the greyhounds are adopted retired racing greyhounds. This family has opened their heart up to FIVE rescue dogs, and those are just the current dogs, not even counting those who have unfortunately passed away. Richy and Happy's owners do a lot of work with Mid-South Greyhound Adoption Option, so if you have been considering a greyhound please check them out. Ten percent of all purchases from each session goes to the rescue of that person's choice, and of course Richy and Happy's owners chose Mid-South Greyhound Adoption Option.


Photo comment By Irene Becker: Erica, we didn't expect to be blogged - how nice of you to do that. Only one teeny thing; we've had Happy for 12 years and adopted her from a shelter in Boca Raton, FL, but other than that, a lovely piece. You write very well and we wish you much success with Memphis Mutts and your college "career".

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