Shoulder season, between seasons, or mud season…Whatever you call it, most people don’t purposely wait until the off-season to schedule a photo shoot for their dog. But sometimes you need a portrait, even if the landscape seems less than ideal. Perhaps you can’t wait because you have a new puppy or a dog that’s nearing the end of his life. Don’t worry: Brown landscapes can be beautiful! All is not lost if there’s not green grass or fresh snow. Off-season dog photos are nothing to be afraid of.

Goldendoodle dog with boy during one of my off-season dog photos

1. Tall Grass

I get a lot of calls in November from folks looking for holiday card photos. Often, they’re concerned that there’s no color left in the landscape. While it’s true that the flowers are gone and the autumn leaves have fallen, tall grasses still look fantastic. The simplicity of the pared-down landscape can be beautiful.

Beagle standing on rock with a landscape backgroud during an off-season dog photo session

If your dog is advancing in years, there’s no time like the present for a portrait. The temperate days of fall are kinder on senior dog’s joints. Don’t feel like you have to wait for spring. Think in terms of waiting for a warm day instead.

off-season dog photos on boardwalk featuring older dog golden Retriever dog

2. Architectural Elements

Architectural elements like bridges and boardwalks, provide year-round interest.

off-season dog photos featuring woman and Doodle dog sitting on bridge

This is just the door of an old shed but it’s simplicity was perfect for this puppy portrait.

Off-Season Dog Portrait of a border collie puppy in front of decorative wood wall

3. Boulders

March and April are known as “Mud Season” in Colorado. As the snow slowly melts, it leaves slush and mud. I will admit this is the most challenging season for nature photos but, luckily, Colorado foothills are full of evergreens and boulders. Dogs can stand in front of boulders or even on top!

Small white dog portrait by rocks

4. Evergreens

If your dog is little enough to pick up, we can use an evergreen as a backdrop. This tree was by a drab parking lot outside this puppy’s condo but I was able to make it look like we were in the mountains.

Woman lifting golden retriever puppy to show how evergreen tree makes a beautiful backdrop

5. Front Porches

Porches are my favorite all year round. Most dogs feel very comfortable hanging out in the doorway of their house. This sweet, old lab had her eye on a squirrel in the tree.

Black lab posing in front door for off-season portrait

This Aussie lives in a house with gorgeous landscaping, however, these bushes were the only thing in her yard that was green in early April. Framed by the porch, I actually like this composition much better than if she had been sitting on a patch of green grass.

Australian Shepherd Dog on front porch

Don’t have your own porch? No worries. There are several historic parks around town that allow dogs and they are far less busy off-season.

Senior beagle in off-season portrait

6. Low Sun Angle

The low angle of the sun during late fall and winter provides dramatic light. There’s a certain slant and dramatic quality that you can’t get any other time of year.

Golden retriever demonstrating how long shadows in winter are dramatic

7. Murals & Walls

If you prefer vibrant color, murals are the way to go! Murals look fantastic whatever the season.

Black lab in front of mural

Tile walls are fun too!

Pit bull dog and man portrait

This stone wall works as a backdrop 12 months out of the year. If your dog is small enough to fit on this red chair, I can bring it to your photo session. The chair also looks pretty in front of an evergreen!

Cute Golden Retriever Puppy sitting on a red chair by stone wall

Off-season dog photos are a challenge I’m up to. Though it might seem dreary outside, I see things through an artist’s eye. You may be pleasantly surprised by the results!