Project Dogs: A Letter to Myself (and Others)

Posted on: Friday, April 17, 2015

: from The Labs :


Have you ever heard the term “a project dog”? This is often the term us dog folks use for dogs with some special behavioral needs, in other words, a dog that needs work of some sort, either behavior rehabilitation, training or the like. A “project dog” is not a dog for everyone, simply because the amount of work, effort, time and dedication the dog needs.

If you have read or followed anything I write, you’ll know I love dogs and I am fascinated by canine behavior, I wrote a 4 part series on learning how to “speak dog”, I attended and graduated from Trish King’s Canine Behavior Academy, I volunteer at the behavior and training department for the Sonoma Humane Society doing behavior evaluations of shelter dogs… and yes, I have a “project dog” of my own. She happens to be the canine love of my life. Read More >

Themed Photoshoot : A Hundred Acre Wood Birthday (part 2)

Posted on: Wednesday, February 25, 2015

: from The Photo Lab :


Have you ever looked at a photograph and wondered “How did they do that?” Sometimes, a photograph can be as simple as freezing a passing moment in time, and others, especially for conceptual photoshoots, there is a lot of planning, prepping, scouting, training and if applicable, post-production work that goes on behind the scenes. For this particular themed photoshoot however, we will focus on the pre-production part of it, since there was little to no post-production on our photographs other than basic light adjustments and retouching.

Here, I will write about the top ten things on your list for a successful Themed Photoshoot. Adjust these as you will, but I find I have used them in every single one of our themed shoots, for years now. Technology may change, but some things really remain the same. To read Part 1 of this post, click HERE. Make sure you stop by Jaymi’s blog too to see her own account of our photoshoot behind the scenes :) Read More >

Themed Photoshoot : A Hundred Acre Wood Birthday (part 1)

Posted on: Wednesday, February 25, 2015

: from The Photo Lab :


Themed or conceptual photoshoots are a great and valuable exercise for creativity. Imagining something, visualizing it in your head and then translating it into something everyone can see and enjoy is not only a lot of fun, it can also be a lot of work and it is a great way to challenge yourself creatively. This is not just applicable to photography, but to every creative field.
If you are familiar at all with our yearly Halloween themed photoshoots, you’ll know themed or conceptual shoots are a dear favorite of mine; so when our friend, past client and fellow photographer/writer Jaymi Heimbuch approached us about collaborating on a birthday-themed photoshoot for her pup Niner (a dear BFF of our little Willow), we were thrilled and game for the challenge. Jaymi wrote about Niner’s birthday on her blog, please make sure to check it out HERE.

Read More >

On Love and Taking Back Valentine’s Day

Posted on: Thursday, February 5, 2015

: from The Photo Lab :


Have you had just about enough of pink and red hearts everywhere? Does it seem like jewelery commercials are on steroids recently or has that one Taylor Swift song played one too many times on your radio? (don’t get me wrong, I’ll sing along to it every time :) ) What I mean is, February seems to cash in on the idea of love and romance, often overdoing it and too often making it about “stuff”; “Get her this! she won’t be disappointed…” or the sheer amount of silly movies out there has some of us opting for binge-watching Hannibal or something anti-Valentine’s Day.

The truth is, for those lucky enough to be in brand-new, pink cloud relationships, Valentine’s is fun, and romantic. For those of us in loving, committed relationships and marriages, more often than not, it is just another day, when sometimes we might feel the pressure to spice it up a bit. Happy singles or folks waiting for the right someone maybe skipping this silly holiday altogether. But… Since when is Valentine’s Day only for romantic couples? Is it just me or isn’t love something worth valuing and celebrating everyday? That does not mean chocolates, champagne and roses throughout the year, like I said before, that is just stuff. Love does not have one, single face, it has many! And it is not just pink and red, it has many shades, FAR more than 50.
Love is worth celebrating, absolutely. But love is more than just romance, it is complicated, verbal and silent. It hurts, and it saves you. It is worth fighting for, it is certainly worth dying for. But most of all, it is that little light in your chest, when you have a horrible day at work and you let go of it by talking it over with a friend over a beer. It is holding your child’s hand. It is listening to your grandmother laugh. It is a wordless embrace with a brother or sister, where everything is said in that contact. It is remembering someone through a song. It is missing your mom or your dad and wanting them near you when things get rough… And for me, for many, it is a wagging tail and nose nudge during a walk in the woods, or a warm, purring weight on my lap by the fire. Because THAT is love too, and it is just as worth celebrating. Every. Single. Day. Read More >

Our 2015 Calendar Revealed: Dogs, Cats and Beautiful Words

Posted on: Tuesday, November 25, 2014

: from The Labs :

Throughout the year, we pour our heart and soul into the work we do. Whether it is a photograph we create, a design or illustration project or an original piece of writing, our Lessons from the Water Bowl Calendar is the culmination of a year’s worth of creative works. We curate some of our favorite images from this year and I sit down to ponder what lessons the animals we have met have taught us this year. After I write each lesson, I arrange the text and place it over each photograph. I am a typography nerd, so this meticulous task takes a lot of time.

When you have one of our calendars hanging on your wall, you are supporting every hour of care and attention to detail we, as artisans, have put into our craft. From the moment our camera shutter clicks, to putting pencil to paper to write these words and sitting in front of the computer making everything look perfect. We care about the products we create, so we carefully sourced the paper that the calendar is printed on to ensure it does justice to our photographs, but also to contribute to the protection of the environment. Support small business and artists by giving a gift such as this one, to those you love.

We are thrilled to bring you, for the third year in a row, our Lessons from the Water Bowl 2015 Calendar. It is our hope that these works bring you joy day to day and remind you each month to live life fully and well, the way our companion animals do.


Our calendar is currently being printed and ready for pre-order in limited quantities and will be ready to ship after December 6th. To get your calendar, and many other original gifts, please shop HERE.

Take advantage of our Black LAB Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday specials!
Friday through Monday, 
calendars are $28.00 ($32.00 original price). Buy 3 or more calendars and receive a FREE Dangerous Foods for Dogs magnet!

And now, it is my great pleasure, to unveil a closer look at our 2015 Lessons from the Water Bowl :)

**All photography and original text Copyright of ©Photo Lab Pet Photography. All Rights Reserved. Text or image may not be used without permission. Pin and Share if you like, but please be kind and give credit. Thank you!**



**All photography and original text Copyright of ©Photo Lab Pet Photography. All Rights Reserved. Text or image may not be used without permission. Pin and Share if you like, but please be kind and give credit. Thank you!**

Corbin’s Gift : Celebrating 10 Years

Posted on: Friday, November 21, 2014

: from The Photo Lab :

Photo Lab Pet Photography was inspired by a certain black Labrador. On November 23rd, our favorite guy and the dog that started it all is turning 10. This is a huge milestone for us, especially with Corbin being a twice-now Cancer survivor. We cherish every day we have with him, and photographing him and our lives with him has not only been a pleasure, but a very important mission: to do the same for you and your beloved companion animals.

So, in honor of Corbin’s 10th birthday as well as his feline sister Leeloo (who also turned 10 this year), we put together a little something for you:


Read More >

Once Upon a Dream : A Halloween Theme Photoshoot

Posted on: Friday, October 24, 2014

: from The Photo Lab :

If you spent 5 minutes talking to me about creating for a living, you will hear me say time and time again how important I think personal work is. When putting food on the table depends on your creativity day in and day out, it is very easy to feel drained, tired and uninspired; the ever feared “creative burnout”. This is where I find it crucial to make time for personal work, to actively do something to make us fall in love with our craft all over again.

Great things come from personal projects; in fact, from last year’s Halloween shoot, we booked a few more jobs because people loved what we created. It is still one of my favorite things we have ever done, and in part it is the story behind those images that makes me even more attached to them. We had so much fun last year, that we decided to make it a yearly affair. Why Halloween? Because it is the perfect excuse to make some magic happen!

To see and read about last year’s Halloween theme shoot, click HERE and then come right back!

This year’s theme came to me, funny enough, in a dream. I woke up excited and giddy, the way you feel about the possibility of something. After a brief brainstorm session with Bill, and a quick message to our friend Jen to see if she would be up for the adventure (she was!); we set out to quickly plan the shoot. I knew I wanted a moody, dreamy scene. I knew I wanted Willow to be a part of it again this year and I knew exactly where I wanted to shoot… only it involved a hike up a steep mountain… with gear, a dog, and some props. Thankfully, Bill and Jen caught the same excitement bug and were game for the challenge.

A little sweaty and out of breath, we made it to my ideal location. The sun was quickly setting, so we had to move fast to get our gear setup before we found ourselves in a pitch black Manzanita grove. While Jen did her makeup and put her costume on, Willow sat by very patiently (so incredibly proud of my girl!) while Bill and I raced around messing with flashes, light stands, camera and exposure. By 7:00, we were ready to roll. The sun was gone, it was dark and if someone had walked by and seen us… well, I can’t even imagine what they would think, haha!

Just like last year, serendipitously, everything fit and went smoothly. Jen was amazing, in character and looking bad-ass. Willow reprised her role of a wolf without any trouble, and as if she knew what we needed, she delivered, and then some. The result is even better than what I had dreamed once upon a time: a dark, enchanted forest where a misunderstood fairy queen met her loyal friend, a black wolf. And in my head, I heard Lana del Rey singing “I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream…”

Happy Halloween everyone! Have fun, and keep your pups and kittens safe!

PL_OnceUponADream**All images are © Photo Lab Pet Photography 2014. All rights reserved. Share and pin if you like, but please be kind and give credit.**


A Great Dane at a Great Beach : California Dog Photography

Posted on: Tuesday, August 5, 2014

from The Photo Lab

It is no secret; puppies grow up way too fast. Nowhere is this truth more evident than watching a Great Dane puppy grow up.


This is the first of three portrait sessions in our Puppy’s First Year package. We absolutely love doing these. We get to see a dog grow up and photograph them at three different stages within their first year of life. The changes, especially in large dogs, are remarkable; so we were thrilled when Claire Dane’s family (get it? Claire the Great Dane, Claire Danes :) )contacted us about doing the honors.




Claire’s family was initially worried that the foggy weather at Dillon Beach would not do much for our portrait session, but we were actually thrilled to see that lovely marine layer. Claire has the most stunning coat patterns and features, and the fog, light blues and taupe tones of the beach that day, combined with her moms’ black outfits, it was a dream of a color palette for us, and it all made Claire stand out from the environment.





Claire is your typical happy and healthy (and beloved) puppy. After an hour or so of running and digging in the sand, she started to get tired, and nothing sounded cozier than to come back in from the mist and settle in for a nice puppy nap.



Did you know that a dog’s pink/spotted nose will change throughout their life? The spots will change with age and weather, so it was definitely something we wanted to photograph.



We saw Claire and her moms again recently, and she had already grown so much! We are looking forward to the second session, and sharing her gangly, adolescent glory with you all.

**Pin and share if you like, but please be kind and give credit. All photographs ©Photo Lab Pet Photography**



VIDEO: Heart of The Labs

Posted on: Tuesday, June 3, 2014

We truly love what we do for a living. As animal photographers, a typical day at work for us involves time spent with dogs or cats and the people who love them, creating photographs that speak of a timeless bond, where pets are far more than just pets; they are partners, companions, friends, soul mates… they are family. Take a peek inside who we are — a couple of animal lovers and photography geeks who frequently still shoot with film, how we became a celebrated creative team — inspired by a certain black Labrador, what working with us is like — from the lips of some of our favorite clients, and most importantly, why we do what we do.

At the center and heart of who we are as The Labs are three things: a love and appreciation for companion animals and their people, to be of service and give back to our community and to have fun in our professional lives. These three things go hand in hand with one another, and the balance of the three inspire us to create work we are proud of and have a great time producing.

It all started because of a dog — a beloved black Labrador named Corbin. The word “cancer” is the last thing you want to hear from your vet’s mouth. Thankfully, we caught it early, and Corbie beat it. The love and support of fellow dog lover friends was key to helping us get through that fight. That support and compassion from others, combined with the realization of how precious our time with these creatures is, ultimately inspired and became Photo Lab. Photographing Corbin and our lives with him — and knowing that this was something we could gladly do for others — became our mission, and after a lot of hard work and preparation, our dream job.

Today, we work hard and play hard, and this wonderfully crazy idea has helped us connect to amazing people who share our values and passion for companion animals. Whether they are families we photograph or working with business owners involved in the pet industry, our dedication is the same: giving 150% to creating a great experience from start to finish and leaving them with images we put our heart and soul into.

HeartOfTheLabs_Linda_2 Processed with VSCOcam with c3 preset Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 10.59.19
Client Love

There is nothing quite like making a connection with a person over a shared love. Putting our heart and soul into everything we create has time and again left us humbled with the response from our clients.
Read More →
A Creative Collaboration

This gorgeous film is the result of the collective effort and participation of a small village of amazing people. There were more than a few laughs and good meals shared, making this whole experience one we will never forget.
Read More →
About Bill & Nat

Our world is one in which art and animals come together in a wonderful way. Photography is about savoring the “now” and preserving it to continue enjoying it later. It is a privilege to get to work with animals so tied to the human condition.
Read More →

Client Love: Heart of The Labs

Posted on: Tuesday, June 3, 2014

In photographing what we love and care about, we have managed to strike a chord with like-minded and passionate people. There is nothing quite like making a connection with a person over a shared love. Putting our heart and soul into everything we create has time and again left us humbled with the response from our clients.

Our number one goal for any photography session, whether it is a commissioned portrait, or a commercial/editorial shoot, is to create beautiful, artistic and engaging work while making it a fun and enjoyable experience for everyone involved, especially the dogs and cats being photographed. That connection and comfort, paired with our voice and style as artists is what ultimately makes our work what it is. Our work has an emotional response and that feedback is what keeps us going, working hard to be the best we can be.

Casting for our recent film really made us see how lucky we have been to have created such an incredible network. Not only was seeing all these faces again a fabulous thing in itself, now they will always be a part of us in the frames of this film.

See the film here.

HeartOfTheLabs_Linda_2 “The photos that they delivered…they made me cry.” — Linda

Linda and her dogs Kacee and Oscar were our first ever clients. It was Linda who planted the seed of photographing companion animals as a full-time job. She has since been our most devoted spokesperson and advocate and has been lovingly nicknamed our “fairy dogmother.”
HeartOfTheLabs_JaymiNiner_2 “Bill and Nat had such calm, patient energy that the photoshoot went super smoothly, we had a wonderful time.” — Jaymi

Jaymi and Niner have become one of our favorite teams to work with. Whether for commercial photo shoots or commissioned portraits, these two have such an enviable bond and connection, it makes them a dream to work with.
HeartOfTheLabs_Poppy_Jen_Steven_2 “It was just an immediate connection, we’ll have these photos forever and that makes Poppy timeless… so it makes us really happy.” — Jen and Steven

Jen and Steven are a perfect example of our core values when photographing families, honoring a bond and making a moment and a beloved dog (or cat) timeless. Photographing Poppy was like photographing sunshine.
HeartOfTheLabs_CameronCharlie_2 “Working with dogs and animals in general, you have to expect the unexpected. You have to improvise and really have a connection with animals, and both Nat and Bill do that. They are always able to get the best out of the dog.” — Cameron (Bark Magazine)

When Cameron Woo, creative director of Bark, contacted us with a request to photograph the cover for their spring issue, our jaws hit the floor. We had the pleasure of photographing the newest member of the Bark family of canines, a sweet little terrier mix named Charlie.

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