dog folk
 peanut gets her own special brew!      

peanut gets her own special brew!



it's no surprise to anyone that i am a dog person. i am especially in love with my own dogs, sam and hope, but i easily fall in like with almost every dog i encounter. and, i encounter a whole lot of dogs on a daily basis. 

so this weekend was like so many others for me. an adoption event with rescue groups and vendors of every kind and food trucks and dogs and their owners, but  this one was a bit different. at least from my perspective. there was  an air of togetherness and cooperation and support among the various groups. several rescues under one roof with their adoptable dogs and their volunteers. they were sharing the same goals,  sharing the space and sharing stories about their dogs and their  organizations.. these were dog folk. the energy was so positive and i know for certain that new bonds of friendship were formed among them. and that will serve the dog community at large even more. 

the people that came out in the rain to support this event, a fundraiser for k911resq were treated to a really great time! this one was dedicated to a dog named peanut and she was the pup of the hour. this was her adoption party. her coming out. her debutante ball. the venue, cosmic brewery,  in torrance, is the perfect place for events like this and it does them often. they are also dog folk. they support these groups and  the dogs in their care.  it's hard not to come away from an event like this and not feel like you were with friends.

and i get to be there. i get to meet every dog. i get to meet the dedicated people who make these events happen. i get to meet every person that wants a photo with their dog. i get to meet every vendor and every volunteer. i get to feel so lucky that i get to do all of that. i get to be a part of the group ... dog folk.

onnie hullComment
be prepared

i had the privilege of covering a pet first aid workshop this past weekend. i never quite know what to expect when i'm photographing this type of event but i knew that i had to be prepared to make a lot of on-the-fly decisions to make sure i did a good job. this one was especially important, to me, because it was also a fundraiser for the redondo beach police department k9 team. i know these teams and have photographed them on more than one occasion and i'm so impressed with each and every one of them ... human and canine alike.

so, this workshop was so informative and thought provoking that i feel i want to share some of what i learned with you. one of the takeaway lessons was that as pet owners, it is our responsibility to care for all the needs of our beloved pets. sure, we get that we have to feed them, give them water, take them for walks and make sure they have regular checkups with their vets, and, give them lots of love and treats. but ...

what if your dog was choking on an object, or got into something poisonous, got bitten by a snake or a spider or got hit by a car, attacked by another dog or had a seizure. do you know where your nearest 24-hour veterinary hospital is located and do you have their phone number immediately accessible? do you know how to improvise a muzzle so you don't get bitten by an animal that is scared or in pain? do you know how many chest compressions are needed to bring a life back from the brink or how to give cpr to an animal? so much to learn, all very easy to learn and all very crucial to know.

in all of the above cases, there are clear and defined steps you can take when you have the knowledge and training that will help you give aid to your pet until they can be transported and seen by a medical professional. if we can be prepared for these scenarios, then we have taken the next steps to being more responsible pet parents.

and, thank you to our police officers ... ever ready and ever prepared to serve and protect.


k9 first aid -7653.jpg
onnie hullComment
comfort zone
 sara and hero ... an amazing team   

sara and hero ... an amazing team


what is a comfort zone? where is it? where is yours? can you move to another comfort zone or do you have to stay in one permanently?  i had a glimpse of what mine looks like this past week, and how, even though it's not a physical place, it's hard to move beyond nonetheless.

but, here's the thing ... whether you break through the barriers on your own with just white-knuckle willpower or someone else pushes you through them, i believe that once you do venture out of that place, the air is so much sweeter and the sun is so much brighter.

i had a session this past weekend. i had an amazing session this past weekend. it was my biggest and most exciting photographic opportunity so far in my career. i was surrounded by fun and talented people in a scenic outdoor environment, with a dog that was amazing and i was there with my camera. pinch me, now!

but ... i almost didn't go because i didn't have the faith and confidence in myself to believe that i could do it and do a good job. i had lame excuses and, thankfully, they didn't work on someone in my life who sees more in me than i see in myself and she wasn't letting this one go. 

my subject that day is a celebrity in the dog world. she's nationally known and incredibly accomplished at her craft. i was awestruck and became an instant fan. her dog, hero lived each moment with unbridled joy and had laser focus on doing what he's trained to do.  he was just happy to be doing what he was doing with the person he wanted to be doing it with.

that was his comfort zone and i want to live each day just like that. ready to do what i'm trained to do and do it without fear or hesitation. i am a pet family photographer and i think i'm going to start working in a new comfort zone. i got this! you got this! we got this! watch the dogs, they're great examples and teachers.

onnie hullComment
road trip
onniehullphotography_pet portrait

i took a road trip with my dogs last weekend.  i don't do that enough. 

but travel, we did and we had a great time. me and sam and hope. six hours in the car and 6000 feet of elevation above sea level. they were great on the windy mountain roads ... me, not so much. but at the end of all that was a wonderful log cabin with all the necessary conveniences for a restful stay, and backed up to a river surrounded by beautiful trees. the rocky shore and the sound of the rushing water were so wonderful and peaceful.

i find that traveling with my pups is pretty comparable to traveling with my kids when they were little. packing their toys, and their snacks, their medications (if needed) and their food. in the case of dogs add the beds, leashes and personal hygiene accessories (if you get my drift) .. ok, poop bags! 

once in the car they paced for awhile, sat for awhile, slept for awhile and let us know when it was time for another potty break at the next rest stop. so, it was familiar routines all around.

but what really made this special was how very happy they were to be out in a new world filled with new smells and lots of room to run and explore. sam's grin was on his face every minute and when he climbed over river rocks and went right into the water like he had been doing it his whole life, it lit up my heart. and, now i know that i have to make this happen for him and hope more regularly. it was good for them it was good for me.

so this weeks tidbit with regards to dog parenting is to make a point of giving your dogs more adventure and share those moments with them. i was so happy to share this with them and i got some really awesome images as well. i already know which ones are going to be framed and put up on a wall in my home and they will remind me to go out and do it again as soon as possible.



party time
riannon and popeye-6333.jpg

it's almost always party time. birthday, anniversary, graduation, wedding, super bowl, oscar night, baby shower, engagement ... the list goes on and the reasons are endless. 

we love getting together with our friends and family in a relaxed and enjoyable setting, leaving our cares at the door and eating, drinking and being merry. 

and that's just what i got to do this past weekend when i attended a birthday party for a fabulous eight year old named popeye.

popeye is no ordinary eight year old, he is a beautiful dog with a bouncy spirit and a family that adores him. so much so that the family backyard was turned into a magical land of unicorns, filled with doggy friends, human friends and family. every detail of this party was a labor of love from the decorations, the human and pet treats, the games, cake (again, one for popeye and his friends and one for us humans) and the theme appropriate music and piñata filled with goodies for everyone. 

this party time was exceptional in the love that was so evident between this dog's family and the love shared between all the others guests and their dogs. 

i would highly recommend that this type of party be added to anyone's list of reasons to gather for celebration, keeping in mind that food and treat choices are critical for the safety and well being of your canine guests. always check with their family to find out about any allergies they might have. keep people food away from them and be aware of any decorations that can cause a safety hazard around playful and energetic dogs such as candles, barbecues or glass items. also, provide a quiet space for the dogs that they may retreat to if the excitement becomes too much for them. don't force interaction with either humans or animals if a pet is not comfortable. and, of course, make sure that all doors and gates are secured. 

and, then, it's party time!

family archives

our stories began the day we were born into our family. these stories made up of moments and memories are unique to each of us.

most family traditions include documenting, the milestones and experiences of the family  adding each chapter as time moves on. in the not-too-distant past, photo albums would be carefully filled and maintained with images of loved ones past and present. media evolved and video tape and disk technology enhanced the ability to preserve and archive these important experiences. these new tools gave birth to a movement of preservation and sharing these stories with family and friends. people took great delight in making vhs tapes of their family vacations, weddings, birthday parties and all the events that were the pages and chapters of their stories. scrapbooking became all the rage and each memento was creatively cut and pasted into albums by hand, long before it was done on the computer.

boxes and boxes of photos developed in storefront photo labs are still existing in countless homes today that won't see the light of day again but that no one has the heart to toss out because they are irreplaceable and treasured memories. they are family archives. they are a collection of data, memories, moments, answers to questions, questions with no answers.

i believe that family archives are losing their hold on our society. i believe we have gone so far forward technologically that the precious moments of our stories don't stand a chance of survival if they are left to languish on a phone or an external hard drive or a computer in their digital format without taking the additional step of having them printed and stored for future generations.

as a side note ... i have an external drive sitting in the bottom drawer of my desk. it has hundreds of photos on it. time ran out on that drive. my computer tech could not retrieve those photos. i don't know which pictures are on it. i don't want to know. i do know that i print what i love now. i backup the rest in two other places and check the technology often. i can't bring myself to throw out that hard drive. my family archive. unaccessible.  

onnie hullComment
It's time

It's time ..

i think it's always important to know when things need to be done, have to be done or have to end. we don't always know when it's time for any of those things because we are distracted by too many other things.

in photography, timing is very important on many levels. we are trained to click the shutter in the most timely fashion to get the best expression.

we also know when the best times in the day to go outdoors and capture the most beautiful and optimal light ... sunrise or sunset,the golden hours.

we also have to be aware of how much time we expend either with camera or the computer because, as business people, we know that time is money. in addition, we have to watch the calendar so that we can time our marketing and get the best results for holiday and occasion photoshoot offerings.

as clients there are times when we know it's time to get a new family portrait. it might be for a special occasion such as a birth, anniversary, graduation. many families have those who will grumble and groan and try to avoid this process. usually not an easy experience for those not comfortable in front of the camera. but, it's these same people that will one day be so grateful for that day, and those memories, and those faces in the photo.

as pet owners who love their pets as the members of the family that they truly are, it's always time to include them in our memories. and the one thing you can always count on with pets in the studio is, they will always let you know when it's time to end the session and go home!


onnie hull Comment
about heroes

so here are my thoughts for today. 

i am grateful for, inspired and awed by those that spend every day working to make this a better world. those that advocate for children, for the sick, for the homeless and for the animals. so, this post is about heroes.

i am a very small part of the work that goes on in the world of animal rescue and honored to do so. what i do doesn't come close to those that leave the comfort of their homes on a regular basis and go out into the dark, into unfamiliar and sometimes dangerous places to save  animals  that are lost or injured, abandoned or neglected and bring them to safety and a return to wellness. these heroes sometimes spend days, weeks or months trying to find one dog they know is suffering, alone and scared and needs a chance to survive. these selfless heroes  get cold, and dirty and frustrated and sometimes even bitten, yet they go on. they don't give up.

once the task of recovery is completed, they make sure the animal gets food, water, medical attention and a warm bed to sleep in until they can find them a home. none of this comes easy or cheaply. the investment is great. they invest their time, their resources, their well-being and their loving hearts. they clean up the messes that others leave behind and they do so with selflessness and caring and they claim victory  when a scared, filthy, matted and smelly pup is safely in their vehicle, and, in spite of pain, fear, injury, that pup wags their tail as if  to say thank you. 

it takes a very special kind of person to work this kind of job for a tail wag. it takes a hero. and i am so proud of those that do this work. and i thank them. and i encourage anyone that loves animals to find some way to support your local rescue group and be a part of something that makes a difference. you, too, can be a hero. by donating, by volunteering, by fostering, even by sharing posts on social media to advocate for animals and against cruelty towards them. 

so, again, here's to the heroes! and, thank you!

A good blog

It's said by those who know, (and, how do they know?) that a good blog has certain features  contained within.

A good blog begins with a good title. A compelling and attractive title that will grab your audience and make them want to stay and read the rest of what you have to say.

Therefore, I have named this one, 'a good blog' ... it's compelling and  will grab my audience's attention.

Now that you're  here and ready to read on,  another element needed for a good blog is to address your specific audience. Easy enough. I'm a pet photographer and my intended audience has pets that need portraits.

Also, build trust and let the public know you're good at what you do ...  

Dear pet families ... I'm good at what I do.

There's other things involved,  like search engine optimization,  being informative and educational, and following up with a call to action. 

For your information, pets are part of the family There is scientific proof that pets are beneficial to a person's life.

Therefore, adopt a pet.

Then contact me to have a family portrait taken that you will treasure for years to come.


 This is my dog, Hope. She and her big brother, Sam are the loves of my life. We all took a road trip yesterday out to the desert in Joshua Tree, Ca. and made some new memories. This photo is already printed and ready to go into a beautiful frame.

This is my dog, Hope. She and her big brother, Sam are the loves of my life. We all took a road trip yesterday out to the desert in Joshua Tree, Ca. and made some new memories. This photo is already printed and ready to go into a beautiful frame.

onnie hull Comment