I was fortunate to meet and work with Grace Chon of Shine Pet Photos a couple of weeks ago. I got to meet Grace who was voted LA’s Top Pet Photographer through a friend who is a celebrity in the dog world herself and that is Laura Nativo. If you were a fan of CBS’ Greatest American Dog, you will definitely remember the handsome Preston Casanova the furry man in Laura’s life. It was Laura’s email about a Vegas casting for one of Grace’s projects that put me, my husband, and my dogs in front of her camera.
Grace’s project is currently under wraps and I shall update when the time is appropriate, however I wanted to share with you the experience of working with Grace. You know the old saying “Don’t work with children or animals”?, well in this instance Grace needs to keep working with animals as her work is not simply getting a dog to look at a camera, it is art, and it is art that is changing the lives of dogs and their owners.
My rescue dog Thornton was lucky to be cast for Grace’s shoot and what was exciting was the fact that we could choose a location that was personal to me and my dog. My husband and my furry family are big fans of coffee shops that allow dogs on their patios. My absolute favourite is Espresso Culture and Cuisine. Being British I miss the aesthetic of European coffee shops and Espresso satisfies that need for me with great design, superior service, and most of all exquisite coffees.
It was an 8am call which for any fashionista is a tall order to fill. I’d brought a few collar selections for Thornton as she is quite the fashionista herself and with Grace’s expertise the pink collar was to be the one. Our request to shoot inside was granted which thrilled us since their decor is fabulous and we were well into triple digit temps in Vegas.
I knew it would be a test for both of my dogs as Thornton was going to be in the shoot with Jim and myself and my Galaxy would be observing. Vanessa, Grace’s colleague on the project had the task of keeping Miss Galaxy comfortable and relaxed while we did our shoot. I have to tell you it didn’t feel like a shoot at all. We stepped away from giving commands and the “leash” was handed over to Grace who had a super sweet way of getting Miss Thornton to move the way she needed. Grace had my girl focused yet relaxed and Thornton was happy to please her. Similarly Vanessa was doing the same for Galaxy who warmed up to her in an instant. You would have thought that with the early morning coffee drinker traffic, hissing and popping coffee machines, music, and a stranger directing your dog; that a hope for the best approach would be adopted. Despite these many distractions it was easy to see how Grace has earned her reputation. Her aura and communication skills are off the chart….she had us all sucked into her world including the staff and regulars who were super buzzed about that a shoot as unusual as this was happening in their neighbourhood coffee shop…and coffee probably played a part in the buzz too.
I have to say I was proud of both of my dogs as it had to be challenging for them and I was relieved that we didn’t have any embarassing moments that would ban me from my home away from home…ha ha. We got to look in the camera at some of the shots and we were amazed. Grace’s photography is of a level that is real, real life settings, real life emotions, and the capture of the very real personalities and souls . The goal isn’t to get all parties in the shoot to look at the camera at once and snap away; it’s to capture a moment in time that will leave a lasting impression and showcase the unique personality of your pet that you would recognize in an instant. Contrived is in no way a part of Grace’s work. We were honoured to have had this experience with her…personally it was the highlight of my year.
Grace’s work goes beyond the camera as she also zooms in on pet rescue and flashes a light on an ever growing problem. She takes her weekends to take head shots of rescue dogs in various rescues known as her “Extreme Dog Makeovers“. These photographs are powerful in getting the dogs adopted….her Extreme Dog Makeovers are responsible for many adoptions and fairy tale endings for both dog and owner.
If there was a way to describe GRACE it would be:
Gifted + Rare + Artistic + Compassionate + Engaging!