ABJ Photography Blog » Atlanta Dog Photographer Pet and Family Photography

Southern Family Tradition | Thanksgiving in Fairhope, AL | Southern Family Portrait Photographer

We had ourselves a self-proclaimed Garden and Gun Thanksgiving and I wanted to share the photos with you now that our Christmas card is out there.  I am very thankful for our family, their generosity, humility, and hospitality.  Our thanksgiving took us from GA to AL, FL, back to AL, and finally home in GA.  We fried our turkey, designed the sleeping arrangements around the dogs, sat outside a lot, shot guns, laughed, and told family stories…it was the holiday break dreams are made of!  I was thankful to hand off my camera to family members, and to be included in the photos and memories.  Here is a small taste of our Happy Thanksgiving, and southern traditions:

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The Joyners

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Our babies: Magnolia and Mason

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Cousin photo!  I had to include the dog photo bomb version, it was the most true to life.

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I planned outfits, packed extra jewelry, and in the end our card photo was as it should be, real.  By one of my favorite trees on the property, in exactly what we were wearing that day, and I think the genuine nature of this image is the most meaningful part.  What I year it has been, and alongside these guys life is good and true.  I am so thankful for my man and my fur babies, they make me smile every.single.day.

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#livewell, enough said.  If you know her, you know that she is joy abounding, and sweet as Magnolia.

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Charlie brown dog is not sure what to think off us, but he does a good job of tolerating us anyway.  He is our token spokesman, we are counting on him to always put forth a good first impression so that our other dogs can come along with us on our family vacations. 🙂

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Mason is my main man.  We coined the statement “Mason puts his own stamp on things” on this trip.  He rode the whole way to Pensacola with his head resting on the top of mine.  And yes, I let him.  He carries within his spirit the manners of my sweet Tess, and I love him for it.

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I love the above image.  They were in their element.

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I shot David’s gun for the first time on this trip!  The first time I shot it I said, @(#*%&  because of the kick, and later had a nice bruise.  But, I had fun and got my still targets…no flying clays for me! haha!

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As the sun went down things got a little chilly, but it was seasonably chilly, just enough to feel like fall.

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Sasha helped wrangle up the other dogs, and enjoyed some charred wood from the fire- the best kind.  I am pretty sure she also kept the squirrels at bay. 🙂

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Our fabulous host family in Fairhope, AL.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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Annie was born next door, do not let those pound puppy eyes fool you.  She is the sweetest thing, and spunky too!  She was the fastest K9 at the party.  I love the action shot below, she and Mason had a great time romping and playing together!

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Joyner/Sowell 2013 Fairhope, AL

Our motley crew.

Traveling with Pets for the Holidays | GUEST POST | Fetch Petsitting NW Atlanta

There are several ways for pet owners to handle their pets and travel for the holidays.  They can take the pets with them.


Unless you have a small pet, this is better for people who are driving to their destination.  You don’t want to fly with a pet that won’t fit in its cage under the seat.  More and more places are allowing guests to bring pets with them.  If you want to travel with your pet, for not only the holidays, but for vacation, the site www.bringfido.com has an extensive list of pet friendly places to stay.

Vet offices have been a popular place for people to board dogs over holidays.  More specialized boarding facilities have been opened.  These places usually have larger pens for the dogs and specialized services that you can pay extra for.

There is another option available.  And that’s leaving the pets at home, and having someone come into your home to take care of them.


If you’ve never used a pet sitter before, it can be unnerving to let a stranger into your home to take care of your pets.  That’s why it’s important to interview them before hand.  Make sure you ask for and check their references.  Google the company and see what kind of on-line presence they have and make sure they are a legitimate company.  Make sure they are insured and bonded and show you a copy of that.  You can also check their legitimacy by asking to see their business license.  Make sure you meet the sitter who will be in your home.


There are many great reasons to hire a professional pet sitter when you’re gone.   First of all it’s great to have someone come in to your home.  They can turn lights on and off, pick up mail and newspapers and even water plants.  If something’s not right they can fix it or let you know about it so you can get it fixed.  Plus your pet gets to stay in the environment they are comfortable in.  They get to sleep in their bed or their favorite spot on the couch.  They get to eat the food they are used to eating at the time they are used to in the same bowl they are used to.  This reduces the anxiety on your pet.   The sitter will give your pet attention and play time.  Even the most standoffish cats begin to miss the human contact after a few days.  I’ve become best friends with some cats that became lonely when they realized I was not only feeding them, but was happy to scratch their ears or let them play with the toy mouse.  The sitter should update you with texts or emails to let you know what’s going on.  Pictures and even videos are a nice touch as well.

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Traveling during the holidays is very stressful.  There’s traffic on the roads because of the volume of folks out there.  Everyone is in a hurry to get where they’re going.  The weather can be bad and that causes delays on the highways and at airports and this increases anxiety and frustration.  The best thing you can get for your pet over the holidays is good care.  Pet owners can relax and enjoy the time with friends and family, knowing that their pets are being cared for by a responsible professional and are doing fine in a comfortable, familiar environment.

Fetch! Pet Care provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Marietta and Woodstock, GA.  You can follow regular entries in my blog at www.mikespettales.com.

Atlanta Lab Rescue 2014 Calendar | Behind the Scenes

The Atlanta Lab Rescue 2014 calendar is not just full of ridiculously cute labradors, but inspirational thoughts to keep you smiling all year long!  This year, it was a great pleasure of mine to meet up with Atlanta Lab Rescue alum in their forever homes, and capture some fun photos for the calendar.  Some of the dogs were adopted in 2013 and others a few years ago.  I wanted to share a sneak peek of the calendar here with you and let you in on some of the dogs stories.


Our cover girl is Dazzle!  Dazzle lives in a home with ALR brothers and sisters, you can find more images of them from our day at the park, and play time in the Chattahoochee River!  Talk about one lucky lady!  Dazzle was happy to take part in the lab rescue calendar and I personally thought she was the perfect cover girl!  Dazzle is a pure bred lab, she keeps an eye on her pack and is not shy about wanting to sit in your lap!  As you can see here, Dazzle is very well behaved, and sat with our water bowl like a pro.


Cassie is a senior labrador retriever who is living with a permanent foster in Atlanta.  Cassie is now fighting cancer as well as arthritis, but that does not keep her down.  You will see in the post below that Cassie is still getting dressed up, no matter what the occasion!  I love this quote with her image because I think people and animals are beautiful at every age!  Cassie has two little foster brothers, who I am sure, have helped keep her young at heart.


Something that I love about Atlanta Lab Rescue is that they are willing to take in dogs who are not labs, lab mixes, heart worm positive dogs, and those who may have expensive vetting needed.  Those dogs deserve a chance too!  I think it is a high honor to know that they are contacted by people when other rescues simply pass over these dogs.  Mitch is a healthy young boy, and I know he is a very special addition to his pack.  Mitch has a brother and sister (ALR alum), and he got to show me his ball skills one afternoon at their home.  Mitch reminded me of another little ALR alum I know who has a ball obsession…Magnolia!


Trooper is one of the most beautiful black labs that I have ever met.  He is sweet, strong, and a very special part of his pack.  Trooper comes from anther amazing ALR family with 5 rescue labs!  All are Atlanta Lab Rescue dogs, and a few has been in previous ALR calendars!  I had so much fun meeting them for the first time the night of our photo session.  Since then, I am happy to say, we have become great friends!  As you will see Trooper had to have his front leg amputated after a hunting accident.  Trooper’s previous owner took him to the shelter and his wound did not heal correctly.  After realizing these complications, his new mama took him in and helped him heal on the inside and outside after his amputation.  Trooper is the perfect example of resilience!


These two are one of my favorite months in the calendar!  I was a foster mama to this duo!  Bailey (left) and Champ (right) are kind hearted brother’s from different mother’s!  I LOVED having them at our home.  They got along so well with my dogs, they would all share two dog beds, and always played nice together.  These two lucked out and get to live up on Lake Lanier, keep an eye out for two Pirates boating around the lake, haha!  I wish I knew more about how they ended up with us, but I do not.  However, I cannot ever imagine giving up these great dogs.


Speaking of my baby dogs…Miss. Magnolia got to be in the calendar too!  She is Miss. August, and I had to use one of our dock diving photos from this summer at the lake.  Magnolia is a total water dog, and will dive off the dock to retrieve her WUBBA all day long!  As soon as we get to the lake she is like a kid in a candy store.  She knows exactly where to find her WUBBA (basket on the deck), and is only patient enough for me to get my coffee in the morning before we head out for our first swim.  We adopted Maggie from Atlanta Lab Rescue in October of 2012, and she has been a real blessing on our lives since.  This quote fits her well…she sure does get what she wants with one glance.

I hope that you all and all of the folks who have picked up their copy of the calendar connect with the photos and quotes inside.  I think they will remind you of the special bond you have with your pet and the unique and genuine personalities of rescue dogs.  It is a feeling that you only know when you have helped a dog who at another time seemed helpless, who was homeless, and in need of a safe haven.  Please consider purchasing your own copy of the 2014 Atlanta Lab Rescue Calendar, 100% of the proceeds go to help ALR dogs, and it will be shipped directly to you.


Claudia - I was drawn to all of the wonderful pictures and the beautiful quotes. You’ve done such a professional presentation and I’m looking forward to getting my own calendar! Well done!!

Holiday Pet Portraits Atlanta | Cassie, Joey + Gunter

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at ABJ Photography!  Holiday pet portraits are in full force this month, and I cannot wait to share them with you!

I can think of no better way to kick the Holiday season off, than with these three: Cassie, Joey, and Gunter!  Just before Thanksgiving I got to hang out and create Christmas memories, and a few laughs with this pack.  Cassie is one of the models from the Atlanta Lab Rescue 2014 calendar, and she was back at it looking cute for her photo card session!  This time Joey and Gunter got to play along.  Joey is a beautiful and kind golden retriever, and Gunter is an eager pup who looks up to his big brother.  I loved Gunter’s bow tie, he looked like he was meant to wear it with his natural white stripe on his chest.  And, I am sure you will see more of Joey Claus this December…what a cutie!

Holiday Dog Portraits Atlanta01Holiday Dog Portraits Atlanta02Holiday Dog Portraits Atlanta03Holiday Dog Portraits Atlanta04Holiday Dog Portraits Atlanta05Holiday Dog Portraits Atlanta06Holiday Dog Portraits Atlanta07Holiday Dog Portraits Atlanta08It is not to late to sneak in your Holiday Pet portrait session!  Keep it festive, or traditional for a gift this season, either way I am sure they will keep you merry and bright all year!  🙂  Click on the CONTACT button above to get in touch today!


Holiday Gift Ideas from ABJ Photography

This year give the gift of photography to those you love!  ABJ Photography specializes in portraits of pets + people, mix and match however you like, we will help you update the portraits in your home.  Printable gift certificates available, contact me today to give a photo session today!

New-ABJ-Logo-600x600The second half of 2013 has been an exciting time for me as I transition my business to showcase my love for pets.  As a part of this transition it has been fun to help around my community.  This year I helped Atlanta Lab Rescue create a calendar to raise money for their rescue.  This calendar has been a labor of love…and lots of licks!  You can pick up your copy over at the Atlanta Lab Rescue website.  All proceeds go to ALR, and will help us save more lab and lab mix lives!


I am pulling together some ideas for the photographer in your life this Christmas, make sure to check back in for some fun ideas!