st. louis pet photographer

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

When I Grow Up | Firehouse Dog | St. Louis Dog Photographer | Whitehall Photography by Sharon Whitehall

As an artist and pet photographer, I get images in my head and want to create them with my medium, photography. When your subject is a wiggly kid or wild puppy, it can often seem like everything is working against that vision. But every so often, there is a moment when all the stars align and everything comes together.

For this shoot I needed two things: A Dalmatian Puppy and a Fire Truck

This is my favorite image from session.

Cooper being a firehouse dog!

Cooper being a firehouse dog!

My friend Tamela Weese Martin of Tamela Martin Photography had a client with a Dalmatian puppy and she reached out and asked if we could borrow him for the dog photography shoot. The only catch is that Cooper (the puppy) was in Elizabeth, WV - a bit more of a drive. After picking up Cooper, we head to the local fire house with puppy in tow. I get out of the car holding Cooper and introduce myself as a pet photographer from St. Louis, Missouri and ask if I could use their fire truck. I'm not sure if it was my sad puppy eyes or Cooper's, but they let us use the truck and offering to pull out trucks and gear. I became a crazy pet photographer shooting all the angles, all the equipment/props and those big eyes captured my heart.



St-Louis-Dog-Photographer-01 (2).jpg

Special thanks:
Tamela Weese Martin for coordinating the use of Cooper and driving me to Elizabeth.
Cooper's Mom and Dad and Sisters, Jazzy and Julie.
Nate Kuhn of Show me Shields for lending me his helmet.
And the fire crew of Elizabeth-Wirt Volunteer Fire Department, Elizabeth WV for making these images from my head a reality.

This is the first in a series of ‘When I grow up”.


Dalmatian firehouse dog, dog photographer, dog photography, pet photographer, st. Louis Pet Photographer, St. Louis Dog Photographer, firetruck, fireman

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.

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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