I know, I know… I’m a guy, I don’t “get it”.

March 08, 2020  •  Leave a Comment


Rare is it to find a guy who does care and even more rare to find a woman that doesn’t care about what they look like.  I think you all know what I’m talking about, and if you don’t, try this…  Guys, some morning before your wife showers and does her makeup, hold up your phone and tell her to smile.  She’ll think you’re taking her photo and most likely freak out!  Women, why bother? You already know what your men will do, most likely make a face or stick out their tongue.  Generally, we just don’t care…  (Yes, of course, there are exceptions.)


Now imagine a professional is pointing the camera at you!!  OMG!  Right?  Wrong, the last person in the world that wants an unflattering image of you is the photographer.  Curious why?  YOU WON’T BUY IT!  Simple as that.  This is mainly the reason why we don’t allow you to view all the images from a session.  My job as a photographer is to get the very best images of you.  The more I get, the more you have to choose from and are likely to want.  Still following me?  Good… 


Where am I going with all this?  How about a short story?  The names have been changed to protect the guilty…


A few years back, I was contacted by a client, Ms. Vicky.  She wanted some photos of her son and his fiancé's dogs.  Not just any photos, they were buying their first house together and Ms. Vicky wanted some photos for them as a housewarming gift.  “What a brilliant and thoughtful gift idea!”, I remarked.  As it would turn out, setting the appointment would be the easiest part of making this happen.


How would get the dogs away from their humans and not raise suspicion?   Would they come to me?  Would I go to them?  We couldn’t have them groomed, that too would raise suspicion.  How was this going to work? 


We hatched a plan…  Every Sunday morning the engaged couple would go for a jog.  Usually about 45 minutes to an hour-long.  They would drop the dogs off and head out for their jog.  This is a very short window for a dog session, let alone a two dog session, but I’m always up for a challenge. {Gulp}


Sunday morning came, as if we had synchronized watched, I was there exactly when I scheduled. (I’m OCD about being on time, this isn’t a surprise.)  I set up the lights, set up the backdrop and away I went.  The pups worked with me reasonably well.  Click, flash, “sit”, “stay”, repeat…  I’m sure they could sense the nerves and anxiety filling room as the clock ticked away the minutes.  Slowly but surely, we were getting the images we needed, but at this point weren’t even close to having ‘The shot’.  As a photographer, you just know when you have “it”, “The shot”…  and we weren’t there yet. 

Then it happened…  The front door opened.  You guessed it, the fiancé walked in and busted us red-handed.  About the only thing to do was fess up, come clean with our plan.  She promised not to tell Ms. Vicky’s son and to be part of the secret.  I continued shooting.


I couldn’t help but notice that the color of her scarf matched the dog's coloring.  I asked if she wouldn’t mind sitting in for a couple of shots.  She adamantly refused my repeated requests.  “I have no makeup!”, “My hair isn’t done!!”, one excuse after another.  I wasn’t giving up, I knew what I wanted… One last time, I asked, but promised her she could see the image and I would delete it immediately if it was as horrendous as she thought it would be.  Off came her gloves, then her hat, then vest.  As she reached for the scarf, I stopped her.  “Leave the scarf on.”, I said.  Confused, she agreed and asked what I wanted her to do.  If she was like any other dog lover, I already knew what she was going to do and I was ready.  I simply asked her to sit on the bench next to her pup.  She did just as I requested.  As she did, I clicked the shutter.  She had no idea I had already taken a photo. As she sat down, she put her arms around her pup and gave him a kiss.  She looked up at me and said, “Ok, what do you need me to do?”  I smiled and said, “You’re done, go finish your jog.”  Even MORE confused than before, she stood up, and just looked at me.    Ms. Vicky and I looked at each other, we knew…  I just captured “It”, “The shot”.   The daughter-in-law to be went on her way, I packed up my gear and headed home.


As I normally do, I edited the photos and got them back to Ms. Vicky within a few days.  I was extremely happy with the “It” shot and very happy with the rest of the images.  Ms. Vicky took her time selecting the images she wanted.  She even included the daughter-in-law to be in the selection process.  It was no real surprise to me that they selected the “It” shot as one of their images.  As a matter of fact, they ordered that image as the large canvas print that now hangs in their living room. 


This is that image.


Just the Basics

October 01, 2018  •  1 Comment

I have an entire week away from all the stresses of life.
A week away from technology, a week away from the internet. I have an entire week to do anything I want. So what am I doing? Here I am in the middle of the woods, camping. I'm on my laptop, typing away, as the music is bluetooth'd to my portable speaker. Aerosmith and light fluid fumes fills the air as the charcoals burn down on the grill.


It's time to share some knowledge...
Good photography has (almost) nothing to do with the camera setting and technology behind how it works. That's the truth for the most part. Photography is about capturing an emotion plain and simple. Most people (other than photographers) don't think about the rules of photography and the technicals when they look at an image. They look at an image for who's in it, is it a happy picture? Is it sad? What were the people doing? Whatever it is, it stirs an emotion, if it's a good image. Let's talk about the basics.


Timing is everything.
Most people will be shooting with cell phones and some will have nicer DSLR camera's. It's all the same. The best time to photograph is during the soft golden hours, at dawn and at dusk. This is when the light is soft. When your shadow is longer than you, you've got the best light.


Stay in the shallows.
To easily achieve the cinematic, blurred background look, move away from your subject matter. Use your telephoto lens to zoom in and compress the image's foreground to background to create a shallow depth of field.


Seek out natural framing elements, trees and branches, rock formations and knot holes to add more layers to your image. Be sure to leave space around wildlife to frame them within their natural habitat.


The eyes have it.
Change your perspective whenever possible to photograph at an intimate eye level with your subject. Place the eyes in the 'power points' (This is the intersections in the 'rule of thirds.') and be SURE to keep the eyes in focus. The viewers eyes will ALWAY go right to the eye's in a photo. If you have to, don't be afraid to get down on the ground. You can worry about the laundry later. Getting the photo right is the more important thing.


Use a monopod.
It's a one legged tripod. If you are using a heavy telephoto lens for photos, consider using a monopod to stabilize it. This will help stop those blurry images, especially in low light.


Do photo yoga.
Take a few versions of a composition with a verity of perspectives, both vertical and horizontal. The best image is not likely to be the first one.


Shoot in burst mode.
Burst mode is when you can shoot many image with one click. This is especially true with pet photography. Shooting in burst mode will increase the likely hood that you'll capture a candid behavior, head position or unique angle of your subject. Be careful, you don't want to over do it with burst mode. Otherwise you'll be sifting through 50 images for the one 'keeper'.


Keep it simple.
The best camera is the one you have with you. Don't get bogged down with all the gear and toys. All you need is a camera, your brain and a little creativity and you can create beautiful images. You can create memories you can create an emotion that your friends and family will enjoy for years and even generations.


Well, that's about all the time I have. The sausages are done and the wife is waiting on me to eat. Tom Petty plays as I end my writing for the day. You, go out, take some photos. As for me, lunch awaits!




Ms Willow

September 12, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

The story of “Willow” by Amy H.

I had lived away from Buffalo for many years but returned home about three years ago when my mom needed to get a transplant. We talked about getting a dog to help the family with everything that was going on and to also be a good companion for my mom. Unfortunately, with her medical problems, she is very limited to what type of animals she can be around- we knew it had to be a hypoallergenic and very clean, very mild mannered, very well trained dog... which is like finding a needle in a haystack.

We knew we wanted to adopt, we checked the shelters and adoption events constantly, but couldn't find anything that really suited our needs. Randomly, one day, I decided to just check craigslist. It kept popping up in internet searches for adoptable dogs. I scrolled through and found an ad for a family that was going through a divorce and had to re-home their two year old springer-doodle. She was shaved down in the picture and looked absolutely nothing like she does now. She was described as mild mannered and she was hypoallergenic so I decided to call the owner. I spoke to the woman for half an hour on the phone and the dog she described sounded like the perfect fit! The only problem was she lived half an hour away and already about five other inquiries about the dog. As she put it, "first come, first serve."

So I jumped in the car right away and drove over to meet Willow. She was the sweetest, gentlest dog I have ever met and within an hour she came home with me. It wasn't until after I had gotten her home did I discover not only was she covered in fleas, but she clearly wasn't cared for the way she should have been. She was covered in bites and scabs and probably suffering more than she let on. I had her treated that night and decided no matter what, she was going to stay with us so she could be taken care of properly.

Willow was the absolute perfect fit, she was just so kind and loving from the minute she came to us, covered in fleas- and she really helped my mom as well. That's when and why I decided to start training with her to do therapy work. We initially started in a basic training class. Then I had a consultation with the teacher who agreed that Willow would make a fantastic working dog. We moved on to intermediate training. After she passed her Canine Good Citizen test, Willow, was accepted into a therapy dog training course. We spent a few months teaching her how to interact with various people. Then, how to respond to various stimuli (sights, smells, sounds, etc) and after finishing the class we decided to join a local organization called "Paws for Love". Willow had to be tested in order to be accepted into the program and she passed with flying colors.

Willow has had her therapy certification for a little over a year now (as of August 2018) and she has completed over 60+ visits around Buffalo. She has also gained her AKC therapy title, which is nationally recognized. Willow visits the local nursing home each week, where she goes room to room allowing the residents to pets, kiss, hug and love all over her. She also goes downtown to visit the employees of the department of Social Services, as their jobs can often be very difficult. During the school year, she participates in a reading program at our local elementary school where children with learning disabilities get to sit and read to her. They absolutely love it! Willow has also done college exam stress relief visits, even a career day at a school where we got to talk about the work she does in the community!

Willow has just been such a blessing to us and to everyone she visits. We were so lucky to get her just by chance with a craigslist ad. We are so happy to share her with the community and give back.

Willow even has a her own facebook page called "Where's Willow", where we chronicle her visits so people can follow her.

-Amy H.





Over the past few years, I've worked with some awesome dogs and some of the most incredible people.  Every time I think it can't possibly get any better, it does!

I received a call from a young man, Andrew, asking if he could purchase a session as a gift for a friend.  "Of course", I said, what an amazing gift to give someone.  We all have well-meaning friends and family, but lets be honest, rarely do we actually get what we need.  Much less, what we want...  Giving someone the gift of a beautiful memory is a gift that will last forever.  The sad truth is, our pets aren't with us forever, but lets move on, this post isn't supposed to be sad or depressing...

Andrew told me all about Willow and how her human takes her all over Western New York as a therapy dog.  He continued on telling me how sweet and well behaved she was.  "Yeah right!", I'm thinking in my head.  I hear this nearly every time I have a pet session.  The sessions usually end with "I'm so sorry, 'fido' isn't normally like this..."  Wow, I couldn't have been more wrong with Willow!  I greeted Willow, Amy and Andrew outside.  Willow showed up in her pretty pink and white bows all ready for her session.  Soon after, we made our way to my home-studio.  Willow was a willing model.  Her only goal was to make the humans happy.  "Sit", she sat.  "Down", she laid down.  "Bang", she played dead.  It did takes some coaxing to get her on the half wine barrel I use, but a few firm commands and a few treats, up she went!  The session went very well, I honestly can't think of any that went better.  The images are absolutely stunning!!  Amy is going to have tough time selecting her favorites.  

Thank you Amy, Andrew and of course, Ms Willow.  I had a blast working with you.  I hope we have the opportunity to work together again!!


Woof woof,




Pet Photography, We're back!

September 09, 2018  •  Leave a Comment


Welcome and welcome back…

Thank you!

For those of you that have followed and supported us over the past few years, THANK YOU!!  I promise you we are not leaving you behind.  For those of you just joining us, welcome!  We look forward to working with you and sharing what we do with you.

We love nothing more than working with the puppies and meeting the humans that love them.  So why are we switching back to weddings and portraits?  I think the answer is fairly obvious, but I’m happy to explain my thoughts.  No, it’s not ALL about money, but let’s keep things real.  Money is a very important part of running a business as opposed to just having a hobby.

In the beginning…

The first few years I was very general with my photography.  Newborn sessions, families, weddings, senior portraits, you name it, I shot it!  Nothing wrong with that, right?  Well, there is… kinda…

The generalist…

Nearly all of us have shopped at Walmart, Target or even online at Amazon.  Lets face it, they have some great prices.  They are general stores that carry everything.  Since many other stores all carry the same product, the only thing they compete on is price.  I know when I look at Amazon or Walmart it’s because I’m looking for the best price.  There’s nothing wrong with that, that’s being a smart shopper, for some products.

Are you married or plan on getting married?  A lot of us are and most of us will be before it’s over.    Did you ever consider getting your engagement ring or wedding bands from Walmart or Amazon?  (Don’t get me wrong, I’m not putting down what they offer… stick with me.)  You laugh, right?  Guys, you would never live it down if the wife found out you bought it from either of those two places.  Ladies, admit it, unless you were bragging about how cheap you got them, you probably wouldn’t tell your friends your cheap-a** husband got them at a good deal.  Again, not putting down what those places offer, it’s a mindset!  You want someone that specializes in rings, specifically, wedding rings!!  You KNOW you’re going to pay more, but you also know it’s going to be a better quality.  THAT is exactly what I’m talking about, quality.  If every photographer offered the same products, packages and quality, we would all compete on price.



Ahh! That’s why…

Sorry for the lengthy build up, but there is a point.  The point? QUALITY!!  This is exactly why I converted over to specialize in pet photography.  I wanted to focus every ounce of energy on learning, understanding and working with pets, specifically, the dogs.  Over the last three years, I did just that.   The website, business cards, logos, training, all dedicated to specializing in pets.

Over the past three years, I made it my mission to work with pet related businesses.  I worked with as many rescues as I could, I’ve worked with vets offices, many grooming locations, multiple trainers and a lot of happy clients.  I have canvases of my work in locations all over town.  The most important part, I’ve made many great connections with some great, kind-hearted people.  Am I trying to brag about my ‘accomplishments’?  Lol, not at all!  Clearly, it wasn’t enough to get it done!!

The moment it all made sense…

Then it hit me… BANG, like a brick to the face!  Why am I trying to run a business with one hand tied behind my back?  Running a business is hard enough without being limited.  Not once in the past three years did I advertise that I do weddings.  Word of mouth is a great thing, though.  Weddings have been the one key ingredient to keeping TroyDPhotography alive!  It was over the course of one short weekend that I made the decision to take a step back.  It made no sense to limit the business and only offer what a few select people might want.  There are many great pet photographers out there and some of them do VERY well for themselves.  Richie Schwartz comes to mind!!  I just couldn’t make it work with what I was doing.

To the future and beyond!!

Going forward, I will continue to do what I love, pet photography.  However, my ‘business’ will not solely rely on the pet side.  It will be something that I do, but I simply cannot focus all my efforts on the pet photography when I have people knocking at my door for other types of photography.  I can’t be the generalist that I once was, there has to be some limits.  “No one is good at everything, but everyone is good at something.”  I know what I’m good at and I know my weaknesses.

In closing, I want to thank the people that have stuck with me and supported me.  It means the world to me.  I’m always willing and looking forward to the next puppy session.  I still have some pet events coming up, so I’m not out of the game.


Woof woof!
Troy D


Thursday In The Village 08-03-2017

August 03, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

So what, we had a little rain...

Ok, so the weather wasn't very pretty to start with...  That didn't stop these beauties from stopping in and saying hello!  The crowds were a little smaller this week, but TroyDPhotography made a few new friends and even saw some old ones.  It's very encouraging when people walk up and say "Hey, I've heard of you..." or "You did photos for a friend of mine..."  So don't be shy!  Come on over and say hello, we're all animal lovers here!  

Free Mini Sessions!

We didn't get to give away any free mini sessions, sadly.  We tried!  I promise there's no catch to it, no strings attached!  We come and do a free mini session.  If you like what you see and want images, you purchase the ones you want.  If you don't really care for what we created together, you are not obligated to purchase a thing.  I thank you for your time and we move on...

How do I get a free mini session?

There are two ways you can get a free mini session.  We know ALL dogs are beautiful... However, if you have a particularly photogenic dog (we'll be the judge of that...) I may just hand you a 'Free Mini Session' card on the spot!  It happens!  (More times than my accountant likes..)  The second way is to become a new client of Furry Friends Holistic Pet Spa.  Set up an appointment for a grooming or come in on Thursday for a nail trim...  Both are good enough for me!  Make sure you stop by our table first!!


Thank you!

My wife and I have a great time and we love meeting and speaking with you all.  

Stop by and tell us your pets story, we could talk pets for hours!!  If you own a pet related business (or know someone who does) let us know!  We are always looking to connect and work with others.

Be sure to like us on Facebook to stay updated!!
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