pet photography

Keep Your Pet Happy/Healthy Through the Holiday's from your Pet Photographer | Pet Photographer by Sharon Whitehall

Keeping everyone happy and healthy during the holiday season is not limited to you and your family but also to your pet.  Each year 100,000 cases of pet poisoning occurs in the U.S.  Things that are perfectly harmless to us can be harmful to your pet.  Here are a couple of items that you need to make sure you keep away from your dog this holiday season.


Chocolate who doesn't love chocolate?  Even our pups love it.  Unfortunately, it contains a substance called methylxanthines that can cause vomiting in small doses and death in larger quantities.  The size of the dog also comes into play.  If your dog ingests chocolate, call your vet.  Our dog Abby had consumed an entire 6 oz bag of Hersey Kisses (foil and all), my husband was out of town on a business trip.  I called the vet and they told me to give her Hydrogen peroxide.  I poured the dosage down her throat and waited for her to throw up.  And waited.  And waited.  After calling the vet back they had me give her a bit of food.... then it all happened.  Unfortunately for me it was 11pm at night and about 3 degrees outside.  So, my kitchen floor needed a lot of cleaning but she ended up being fine. 

Gum with Xylitol

Xylitol is a common artificial sweetener found in gum and some baked products. While it has no discernible effect on humans, in dogs xylitol leads to a rapid and severe drop in blood sugar levels, sometimes resulting in seizures and liver failure in as little as 30 minutes after ingestion.

Xylitol, a type of sweetener found in many sugar-free gums and other products, can have devastating consequences if ingested by dog.

Over the past several years, the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine has received a number of reports of dogs being poisoned by xylitol, sometimes with deadly consequences, the agency said.

The ingredient affects humans and dogs differently. While it's safe for people to eat, dogs' bodies do not process it the same way.

While chewing gum is the biggest culprit, xylitol can be found in other products including sugar-free candy, breath mints, cough syrup, children's and adult chewable vitamins, mouthwash, toothpaste, and some baked goods.

Mistletoe and Holly (Poinsettia plants)

Poinsettia plants while not deadly for your dog is can cause mild indigestion and discomfort.  Mistletoe and Holly have a higher toxicity than poinsettias and can cause more severe reactions such as intestinal upset, such as vomiting and diarrhea, excessive drooling and abdominal pain.

If you think your dog has been poisoned, try to stay calm. It is important to act quickly, but rationally.

First, gather up any of the potential poison that remains -- this may be helpful to your veterinarian and any outside experts who assist with the case. If your dog has vomited, collect the sample in case your veterinarian needs to see it.

Then, try to keep your pet calm and call your veterinarian.

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,

Sharon Whitehall

Your Pet Photographer

Creating the Perfect Dog Portrait | St. Louis Dog Photographer | Whitehall Photography by Sharon Whitehall

What goes into creating the perfect dog portraits?  What I see and what you see is two different things.

Dog Photography is part patience, part planning…. And part photoshop magic.

One of the major objection to not have people their dogs photographed is… they won’t sit/stay.  Well 90% of the dogs are on a leash.  Owners and leashes are removed from images.

Dog Photograhy St Louis Pet Photographer

This dog portrait on the right is the final image.  But on the left is where it started.  I had Ziva put her front paws on the tree, had her momma stand to the side holding the leash and I pick an angle that works and get my starting image.

I have removed the leash, cropped and brightened the image.  The one on the right is the one you want have hanging on your wall.

Here is another scenario:


When I plan a shoot sometimes I just know that getting all the dogs together for a portrait would be next to impossible.  So I find a location that will work.  I mentally place each of the dogs in the location, sometimes I put rocks or sticks as markers.  I put the camera on a tripod.  I have the owners place the dogs then I change the focus point for each of the dogs.

Dog_Photography_St. Louis_01.jpg

During the editing process I combine the three images, take out the leashes and owner and get MAGIC.

Dog photography can be tricky but the results are AMAZING.


Another is location.  What you see and what I see are two different things.  Here is the patch of sunflowers that I grew in my back yard.  It was about 5 x 15.  But the image below is what happens when I photograph it.  It is all in how you view it.


The final image:

Sharon Whitehall | Whitehall Photographer | Serving St. Louis, Ballwin, Chesterfield, Wildwood, O'Fallon, St. Charles and surrounding areas.

~~Photographing Pets and their Families~~

Sunflowers Forest Park Aussies, German Shephards Novia Scotia Duck Tollier

Dog Photographer Gone Crazy | St. Louis Dog Photographer | Whitehall Photography by Sharon Whitehall

In March I did a model call for multiple dogs of the same breed for dog photography.  The response I received was overwhelming.  So instead of limiting it to one or two sets, I did the crazy dog photographer thing and selected 4 (yes, 4).

  • Mandi had 3 beautiful Australian Shepherds
  • Donna had 4 Great Danes
  • Jenni had 7 German Shepherds
  • Stephanie had 3 German Shepherds

I enlisted the help of Mollie Momphard, I had met Mollie through her dad and was excited to start working with her.

The photo shoots were scheduled in March in Forest Park, St. Louis by the waterfall.  Mandi had the most beautiful and well-trained Aussies.   Talia, Biffle and Vancoover and were so much fun to work with.  This is why I became a pet photographer. 

Aussies St Louis Pet Photographer Ballwin Chesterfield Wildwood.jpg

Later that day Stephanie brought her German Shepherds to Forest Park we met up the the Jewel Box and columns(ruins).  Samantha Brown, Luna-Tic and Ziva Reene were perfect ladies.  Sam Brown had a bit of a time moving around but we were able to make it work.  Five months after this shoot the lovely Samantha Brown cross the rainbow bridge.  I am glad that I was able to provide lovely portraits for her momma to treasure.


Jen drove up with 7 dogs from Zwinger vom haus Huro.  We photographed them in groups of 3 and 4.  Then the new puppy.  While Jen was in town she was dropping off Cowboy to be trained as a service dog.


Finally, Donna brought two of her Great Danes, Breeze and Jove.  Two of Breeze’s babies from her last litter Gus and Stella joined for a family shoot.  I have never worked with a Great Dane before but ‘fell in love’ with them.  Gus was 11 months old yet well behaved.  Trying to pose 4 Great Danes for a photography session was a bit more of a challenge.  The results were amazing dog photos.  Donna was a bit frustrated that Breeze would not lay down on the concrete.  We were to find out later that she was expecting her 2nd litter.  Little did I know that taking these pictures would be the beginning of a wonderful relationship.


Photographing all these dogs, meeting their families and getting to experience their wiggle butts and tongue licks was an amazing experience --pet photography at its best (and craziest).

Sharon Whitehall

St. Louis Pet Photographer

Forest Park, Dogs, Australian Shepherds, German Shepherds, Great Danes, St. Louis

A Boy & His Dog... by Sharon Whitehall

Every boy is a super hero and his dog his sidekick:   Batman and Robin.  They are invincible.  With a dog at his side he can go on great adventures, hike great mountains, slay dragons, experience anything.  At the end of the day they cuddle and dream of the adventures of tomorrow.  


But what happens when the adventures come to an end?   How is that explained to a young child?

That is the great question of all parents when their dog’s time is coming to an end.  How do you explain it?  How to help them understand?  How to help them cope? Even when we can't understand or cope ourselves?

Elvis was rescued by the Dudenhoffer family when he was three.  A few years later Jacob was born, Elvis has been there Jacob’s entire life.  The adventures they have shared will always be written on Jacob and Elvis’ hearts.  Jacob is who he is because he has a dog named Elvis.  Whenever Jacob needed him, Elvis was there.

Elvis was diagnosed with a terminal illness a few months ago - now it is Jacob's turn to be there for his buddy.  When Nick is too rough with Elvis, Jacob tells his brother to be nice to Elvis because he is having a hard time right now.  Right now Elvis is doing well, the medication he is on is giving him a spring in his step and making him eat everything in sight.  Who knows how long the clock will keep ticking, but for now, Jacob has Elvis and Elvis has Jacob.  Every day is a gift.

These images will be a comfort to Jacob when Elvis is gone.

These images of the two of them will help Jacob will remember his first furry friend.