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  • Writer's pictureDog's Life Studio

Behind the Shot: Shooting a Magazine Ad

When Shirley Chau approached me about a partnership with her real estate agency, The Good Luk Team, little did I realize at the time that this encounter would lead to a magazine ad for Dog's Life Studio Pet Photography. Shirley and I met at an outdoor artisan fair last fall and she was very complimentary of my work. After an exchange of business cards and several discussions, she decided to offer gift cards of my pet photography service to her real estate clients. She also put me in touch with Leslie Yip, Associate Publisher of EliteGen magazine and an idea was born for a full-page Dog's Life Studio Pet Photography ad in the luxury lifestyle magazine.The ad would end up featuring Heather Luk and her dog Hailey. EliteGen, published by Sing Tao Canada, is a bilingual high-end lifestyle bi-monthly magazine, providing a curation of objects of desire for the Elite Generation in Canada. (

Heather was already doing modeling while attending university. We discussed a project that would feature both Heather and Dog's Life Studio Pet Photography. The idea for the EliteGen magazine shoot was to feature Heather with Hailey in a glamourous pose which would also display in the background the wall art that Dog's Life Studio specializes in. This picture-in-picture effect would mean two photo shoots. One photo session for the wall art and another for the room scene with Heather and Hailey in which the wall art from the first shoot was displayed. With the help of EliteGen's Associate Publisher Leslie Yip, we quickly got things approved and scheduled to meet the deadline for the Jan./Feb. edition of the magazine - in time for Chinese New Year.

We did the first shoot, which would be for the wall-art, at Dog's Life Studio. The aim was to capture simple, casual, close shots of Heather interacting with Hailey. Arriving after an early morning hair and make-up appointment in a casual outfit, Heather was the consummate professional. This meant that I could concentrate on the Pomeranian Hailey and not have to worry too much about directing Heather. We used various backgrounds and furnishings and spent about an hour getting shots that would work for the wall art piece.

Behind the scenes and outtakes from the two photo shoots.

For the second establishing shot of the room done a couple of weeks later, we decided on using the front room of a home. It offered just what we were looking for - a neutral yet elegant environment in which to feature Heather in a beautiful dress with the cute Hailey at her side. The chair we ended up using was from the house. It was perfect. Again, Heather continued to provide a variety of poses as my assistant and I did our magic to coax the dog to work for the camera. Dog photography with just the dog is always great fun but I also love being a dog photographer who includes the dog's family members in the shoot. Heather and Hailey are great buddies.

In the end we came away with a ton of great shots to work with for the EliteGen magazine ad. With typical advertisers in the EliteGen magazine such as Chanel, Rolex, Porsche, Fendi and Cartier, it was important that the Dog’s Life Studio Pet Photography ad have an elegant look as well. We wanted the look of the two photos of Heather and Hailey to be a contrast between cuddly and cute (for the wall art) and glamourous (for the main establishing shot).

Below you can see the final product on it’s own. We had a great time working with Heather Luk, Leslie Yip from EliteGen and of course little Hailey the Pomeranian! You can see the issue with the Dog’s Life Studio ad online here (and ongoing as a back issue) and also find it in stores from January 15th to March 15th 2021. Find a newsstand here.

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