I’ve had a busy week in the studio creating photographs for a great new product called Harness Lead.
When I started volunteering at the Southern Ocean County Animal Facility (SOCAF) the first person I met was Lisa Flynn. Lisa was the Volunteer Coordinator and, in spite of having a full-time job, devoted three or four hours each day, seven days a week to walking and caring for the homeless dogs at SOCAF. The first time I saw her in action I knew right away that she had a deep love for the animals and the animals knew it. As she walked the line of cages the dogs would come to their doors and smile and whimper and bark for Lisa’s attention. It was like watching the Pope walk through a crowd! Lisa “got” the dogs and they “got” her.
In the summer of 2011 Lisa arrived at SOCAF early one morning full of excitement to show her new creation. She pulled a few of us together and explained the she had made a new leash that would be perfect for the shelter. It was one piece of line that formed a body harness around the dog’s chest. The lead gave the walker more control than a neck collar and leash and, most importantly to Lisa, it was more comfortable for the dogs. Her creation was perfect for the shelter because it was a one-size-fits-all solution. And best of all, the unique configuration of the lead put gentle pressure on the dog’s chest when he or she pulled and, thus, helped the animal pull less. We were excited and amazed. Lisa had turned a simple piece of rope into a great tool for the shelter.
Fast forward to summer of 2012 and Lisa’s piece of rope has become the Harness Lead, and her product is selling like wildfire. Everyone who tries it is amazed by how well it works, particularly with dogs who have a tendency to pull. Lisa is hearing from people all over the country that the Harness Lead is making dog walking a lot more enjoyable.
As the product is taking off so is the need to expand the marketing and sales pieces associated with it. Website, store tags, product instructions, etc. all need to be created or upgraded. Lisa hired me to help her do that, and our first step was to have a few dogs come into the studio to be “Spokesdogs” for Harness Lead. This week I had six models in front of the camera, each wearing a different color. We also photographed close-ups of the Harness Lead being rigged on a dog to illustrate the use on an instruction tag. The dogs were all very patient with me and did great on set, and their humans were fun to work with.
On Friday Louise Denecke and her boy Baloo (aka The Lanther) were kind enough to come by for a session. If you’re not familiar with The Lanther, you should be. His stunning good looks and sharp wit have helped him develop quite the following on social media. He has more Twitter followers than most humans I know! Louise rescued Baloo from Popcorn Park about a year ago after Baloo had been a resident for far too long, and Baloo has truly blossomed into an amazing boy. After we photographed the requisite poses for product tags and website use we got a little more creative. Louise and Baloo brought costumes and wigs and all sorts of options for fun photos. At the end of the day we took a ride down the street and set up my cool new Elinchrom Quadra light in a big softbox and created what could be my favorite photograph of this year. Louise donned a formal gown, long white gloves, and her grandmother’s wrap and we shot a formal portrait as the daylight faded. Many thanks to Louise and The Lanther for working so hard and being so creative and patient!