New! Fantastic Pet Photography - Washington Photo Safari - Washington DC Professional Amateur Photography Field Trips Workshops Classes Training Institution

New! Fantastic Pet Photography

New! Fantastic Pet Photography


Welcome to the wild world of pet photography!  In this Safari, you will learn the basics of taking stellar photos of pets--your own cats and dogs or others if it’s a business for you.  We’ll meet at Arlington’s centrally located Bluemont Junction Park, learn some pet-specific photo exposure and equipment basics and shoot pawdel dogs in the park’s gorgeous afternoon light.  Or, basically have fun with your camera and some dogs for 3 hours!  You’ll benefit from this Safari if you want to take better photos of your own family pets, be a volunteer photographer at your local animal shelter, or already have a photography business and want to expand into this popular niche.  You’ll discover common and unusual pet photography challenges—do you wonder why black and white dog or cat photos never come out right? -- and how a few tricks and treats go a long way to taming your 4-legged BFF. 

The Safari will cover the following topics:

  • Pet-specific Equipment: cameras, lenses, noise-makers and delicious treats.
  • Pet photography basics: Exposure: ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed; Focus for Sharpness: the Eyes have it; and White balance: the Gray card.
  • Working with Pets: safety first; know behavioral traits; and using noise-makers and treats.
  • Natural Lighting: for action; for sunrise/sunset; white and black dogs; using shade; and backlighting.
  • Barking it all together with composition: capturing pet emotion; wide-open running action; bridges with leading lines; faces, noses, eyes; getting down to the pet’s level; and pets with their families.

We will demonstrate these topics with hands-on opportunities to photograph dog pawdels in Arlington’s Bluemont Junction Park.  Bluemont has covered picnic benches where we will meet for introductory remarks, open fields for action shots, several bridges, paths through tree-covered shade and a colorful railroad car.  There will be ample time to ask questions and practice with the pawdels.  

Although we love dogs, please leave yours home for this Safari.

The safari will take place at Bluemont Junction Park (not to be confused with Bluemont Park which is right next door) which is located at 601 North Manchester St., Arlington, VA at the corner of Wilson Blvd. and N. Manchester.  The “4 Mile Run Trail” parking lot is entered from N. Manchester St.  We will meet at the covered picnic tables next to the restrooms. The nearest Metro stop is Ballston-MU and is a 1.5 mile walk from the park. 

Who should attend: Anyone who has an interest in photographing dogs and learning about pet photography.  Basic knowledge of camera settings is helpful.  Familiarity with 24-70mm and 70-200mm zoom lenses is a plus but not required.

Who should not attend:  Those whose only camera is their smartphone.  Pets and dogs move quickly even if only jumping into your lap!  You’ll be disappointed in using your smartphone which will not capture pet (or any) movement well.  Advanced photographers looking to set up a pet photography business might find this safari too basic.  But if you are looking to expand your existing photo business to add a pet niche, this class might be for you.

What to bring to the safari:

  • Notebook and pen
  • Compact/DSLR camera with lenses that cover the 24-70mm and/or 70-200mm range
  • Any noise-makers like whistles, kazoos, and/or smartphone app: Hunt Pro – Calls (IOS)
  • Bring some high-quality treats for the dogs: cut up cheese pieces, cut up hot dogs, and/or training treats from a pet store.  Bring 1-2 cups worth!  Note: if you run out of treats, the dogs may not be willing to pose for you so more is better! 
  • Water
  • Appropriate outdoor clothing in layers; you’ll be on the ground for some sequences so wear things that you don’t mind getting dirty.

Questions about the Safari?  Contact Julie directly at

A participant on the Pet Photography safari wrote to WPS afterward:"The Safari was awesome. Thanks for the comprehensive handout and the personal attention helping me with my camera settings. Your favorite spots for taking photos were fantastic. Thanks to you and Baxter for leading us through a fun and informative program. Thanks also to Cherry and Mariah for ideas and support along the way. Anita S."

About the Instructor:

Julie Gould grew up with dogs and taking photographs around the world with her family.  She was photo editor of my college newspaper and majored in Communications with a specialty in photography. With a master’s degree in urban planning, she pursued a 30-year career in housing and community development finance.  

In her encore career, she started Bright Eyes Photos in 2015, a growing pet and their families’ photography business serving the metro DC region, to pursue her twin passions of dogs and photography!  Her style is based on a documentary, journalistic viewpoint. 

On assignment for the Petco Foundation, her images of Molly, a 3-legged pit bull rescued by an Amtrak police officer who adopted her, were the centerpiece of Petco’s “Be a Lifesaver” national campaign in the summer of 2017.  She is a volunteer at a local animal shelter, the Animal Welfare League of Arlington (AWLA), as well as other non-profit animal rescue and training groups like Homeward TrailsLucky Dog Animal Rescue and Vets Moving Forward.  She is a member of the Professional Photographer’s of America association and has taken extensive training since 2015.