Blaze the American Eskimo

Ling Messer, dog photographer

Ling Messer, dog photographer

Ling is the owner & creative director behind Story Dog Media, creating vivid & unique imagery for show dog ads, and owner of Story Dog Photography, a human+dog portrait for home display.

Years before my husband met me, he owned two American Eskimo dogs, aka “eskies”. It was a part of his life that I wasn’t familiar with, but I got a glimpse of it when spending some time with Keira & Truong’s American Eskimos…I could see how this dog breed brought joy to my husband in a season of life that I didn’t know. Keira and Truong own and breed American Eskimos, with their boy Blaze, hailing from Laurie & Bob Boles of Stardust American Eskimos in Texas. These dogs show so much personality and intelligence that is reminiscent of a smart & loving cat-like personality.

In pursuit of dog ad photography

For several months, I had secretly been on the lookout for a special dog to plan a unique portrait session with. But not just “a nice photo of a nice dog”. I was looking to do a photo shoot that would utilize dramatic lighting effects to showcase my skills for dog photography, particularly for ads or commercial work.

Although I have been photographing dogs for over a decade, Blaze the American Eskimo is my first model for a photo shoot with the end usage being a dog advertisement for the breed magazine and for a dog show magazine.

Planning the photo shoot

My visit to meet Blaze was helpful in making sure the ad photo session was a success. Keira and I chatted about Blaze’s story over a hot bowl of Truong’s homemade chicken noodle soup. Just like a family photo session with humans, a dog with long-ish fur needs a hair stylist too! We coordinated the best day and time frame for the session that could work with Blaze’s groomer. If you are planning on doing a special photo session with your dog for purposes of advertising, you need to make sure that the dog’s coat is in the best condition. With my approach for photographing dogs, you will see every single detail in the fur or hair….shooting with camera settings at f/8 or f/11 with artificial lighting (in some cases) will illuminate details, but it will also create a clear and sharp image. After all, you want dog show judges and potential puppy buyers to see a dog clearly, right?

As a creative photographer, I love to create fun & interesting images with whimsy and sometimes flair. For the shoot with Blaze, being a dog from Stardust American Eskimos, we thought that a trail of stardust would be great. I thought that I could photograph snow being thrown in the air…that was the original idea. My friend and I tried it, and seriously it is really cold and takes dozens of tries to get the right angle and look. So I thought it was just better to photoshop in the stardust, LOL.

This photo shoot was done outdoors at sunset on a winter day in northeastern Massachusetts. Luckily, they didn’t have to travel far to the session location. Even though show dogs are often accustomed to travel, the less stress for a dog prior to a photo session, the better. We want happy dogs! Plus, the location is one of Blaze’s favorite parks to visit…a familiar location where he’s used to climbing over rocks, and skipping on the beach like a puppy.

Blaze’s Stats (as of March 20, 2023)

Keira & Truong Nguyen are proud owners of the #2 Owner-Handler American Eskimo in the United States! This is a huge accomplishment, as it takes a lot of time, dedication, and skill to properly show a dog well in front of judges over time.

Blaze will keep on blazing his own trail as an American Eskimo of quality genetics!

One Response

  1. Outstanding…you captured all of Blazes beauty and form. He is truly a stellar furbaby …. You can just feel his loving and playful personality, which his owners have instilled in him….
    Beautiful job, your work and the perfect subject….

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