Dog Photographer Ron Schmidt
For the last two years, we have been featuring the photography of Ron Schmidt in our store. Many people have seen these pictures of dogs playing football, paddling canoes, reading the newspaper, and even making lemonade. Here is some information about the artist and the dogs that inspire him.
A dog lover, Ron was always a photography buff, having studied the subject at the Brooks Institute. So how does a fashion and celebrity freelance assistant branch out on his own into the world of dog photography? Ron’s branches extended via a Christmas tree, a Labrador Retriever, and the cover of a holiday card.
“I took a picture of my dog, Indy, carrying a tree on her back," he says. "A bag full of cheese and a hundred photographs later, the photo became our Christmas card that year. It was a fun, conceptual image that was a big hit with everyone who saw it. Since I love dogs and photography, this worked out really well.”
As an artist, Ron considers his images concepts and not portraits. Sitting with his idea book, he flips through magazines for objects and inspiration to start the creative process. He explains, “I want my images to be strikingly interesting and classic humor but not over the top.”
As Ron tells it: “All the images represent the freedom that a dog would have without someone holding its leash. These are the things dogs would do if no one was around and they had absolute freedom.”
Case in point, the photographer’s favorites: Lewie and Clark, two Labrador Retrievers on an eternal quest for a tennis ball. Ron builds the props for his images, including a bottomless canoe built in his basement for the famous "The Adventurers" shot. “That image sums it all up, having this pair on a timeless adventure for an ever-lost, just-out-of-reach tennis ball is a great story,” he says.
With all of these off-the-beaten-path doggie depictions, the photographer has experienced some unforgettable moments. As Ron’s wife, photo assistant and dog handler, Amy tells of one encounter. “For the shot of Biscuit [the dog licking the bakery window] we had a woman who came for the shoot with five Boston Terrier show dogs. I had to pick them up and have each of them lick cheese off the glass. It turns out I am very allergic to Terriers and was completely covered in hives by the end of the shoot!”
If you've tried to photograph your own dogs in an attempt to capture that one perfect photo, you know how difficult it can be. “Take lots of pictures, since you can always delete the ones you don’t want,” Ron says. “Sunlight is always helpful for dark-colored dogs, especially for black Labs who are notoriously hard to light. Take photos from a variety of angles.”
During some shoots, Ron says he takes 500 to 1,000 pictures to capture just the right expression, with the right twinkle in a dog’s eye.
Much like the dogs he photographs, Ron is a free spirit following his dream, embracing his passion, and capturing the timeless energy and essence of canines in their purest form.