I am sooooo proud!

I’m not even going to try to pretend that this is a small thing for me – I just can’t believe there’s a whole episode of the pod Drinking from the toilet with my voice in it! And I’m saying some good stuff! I have decided that my accent is charming and not annoying at all and that I’m actually doing a decent job – with a lot of help from Hannah – trying to explain my Swedish thoughts in English.

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We talk about what makes a good photo, a few tips on what to think about when you want to photograph your own pup, a bit about why I feel strongly that no photo is worth a sad dog, and about the training of a good Top Dog Model.

There’s no photo worth a sad dog! There just isn’t!

And it’s free to listen to. Let my (not so) soothing voice join you in your next car ride (that’s the time in my life when I listen to podcasts), train ride, or dog walk. I hope you get some new ideas!

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Bullet journal for dog trainers – where do you start?

When I do things I have a tendency to overdo things (it’s more fun that way). Bullet Journaling is no exception…I now have my everyday green leuchtturm 1917, I have one for my dogs, I have just started one for my business, and last week I laid my hands on this beauty: a Midori Travelers Notebook. Hey, I GOT to have a Midori! I mean…it’s MY DOG! It’s just meant to be. And the Midori paperclips are shaped just like her.

 

I haven’t really started it yet, but I got all my wonderful students to leave me a message at graduation in it. That makes me happy! 🙂

And, yesterday, I did something I have thought about for…well almost two weeks! I started a “show-and-tell” BuJo that I will use to show you and tell you about BuJo for dog trainers! I even started an Instagram called “BuJofordogtrainers”. Spread the word, there is a need!

So…why plan your dog-life? I am a firm believer of “Think – Plan – Do” when it comes to dog training. I have written extensively about that (in Swedish) here, and I have written about setting goals for your training (also Swedish) here.

“Without a plan, your goals are just dreams.” /unknown

So, I have planned my training for the last 7-8 years, in different ways. In Bullet Journaling I have found a system flexible and simple enough for my needs, and it’s really, really fun!

So first step – you need a notebook and a pen. Any notebook. Any pen. It. Does. Not. Matter. Wich. One. As long as you start 🙂

I like pretty things, and I’m a shopoholic, so I get stuff all the time. Not because I need it, but because I WANT it. There’s a difference! But as I buy and test stuff, I might as well share it with everyone. It makes me happy to do so, and as I enjoy watching other people’s tests I guess some of you will enjoy mine.

So for this project I chose a black Nuuna with dot grid, as I want to colour a lot the thicker paper works really well.

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So far I have used my Tombows and Stabilo 88, and a Frixion clicker 0,5. And a ruler. You do not, I repeat DO NOT have to draw or write pretty or use a lot of colors. I do because I love to do it, not because it makes me a better dog trainer. But planning and evaluating my training does make me a better dog trainer, and I think it’s more fun this way.

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The first pages are my Index. The index tells me where to find stuff. The index allowes me to put everything literally on the next available page, because the pages all have numbers (if they don’t I write the numbers), and I find that really great. i love the feeling of “organised chaos” of NOT having everything in neat piles but STILL be able to find it.

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In my previous journals (because I have had so many… just kidding – I have NOT, but I’m a fast learner) I just played by ear and wrote the pages down as I went along. That works fine, but I already know some spreads I want and I have chosen to categorise a bit. So the first column spread, the next column page(s). As I need more space (or want to do it differently) I add pages. Dog facts may appear at page 8, 15, and 106, depending on if I want to add more fact and need more space. But it will only be listed once. Get it? (I’m sure you do, you’re not stupid! But if you don’t that’s my fault for not explaining it right – please ask so I can get better.)

And the next thing I love is the key.

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The key is a reminder of symbols, and mean I can write less and still get what I mean. I can use colours (Midori is green, Valle is blue) to easily see wich dog does what. The washi tape will be used around the edge of the paper to show which category, so if I want to look at “everyday stuff” I look at the yellow pages. Easy-peasy.

“Migrate” means that I planned a task we did not do, so I move it ahead. To the next day, next week, or…never. The arrow makes sure that I make a choice.

“Look out” means that I see a small thing in ur training that I need to work with or just monitor in the future.

And the flowers are because they are pretty and I like colouring.

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Those of you that follow me on Instagram may feel a little confused at the moment… This is how it works:

@kelpiephotography is my photo-insta. Here you will find photos from my work as a photographer.

@TheCreativeKelpie is my personal Insta. I post things I like. A lot of it BuJo-related.

@BuJoforDogtrainers is my Insta for…well…this! Bullet Journaling for dog trainers!

And @MidoriThePrincess you find Midoris own Insta.

I would love for you to follow me! I hope to be as inspiring for you as the ones I follow are for me 🙂

And…there is the FB-group (swedish) Bullet Journal för hundtränare. Join it, it’s awesome. If I get enough followers on Insta, or I see that this blog gets attention, I’ll host an english-speaking FB-group as well. Tell your dog-loving friends!

Bullet journal for dogtrainers

I’ve started a small movement among dog trainers in Sweden…I have introduced the bullet journal for some of my dog training friends. And then I started an FB-group. And then it kind of grew…After three days we are 141. And growing!

It’s so much fun. I get to be creative AND get my life in order. I have trained my dogs more, and more varied, these three days than I have in the last three months. We started Dog Parkour. we started the bucket game (for nailtrimming and ear cleaning). We have trained details and chains. Short, but – since I planned it all beforehand – sweet!

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“Did anyone say “dog parkour”? It should be “kelpie-parkour” because kelpies are awesome!”

I’ve been keeping my dogtraining-bujo very simple and minimalistic because I really want to empathise that it’s not how pretty you write – it’s WHAT you write! (And THAT you write…).

My dog-parkour-spread. Going for the titles.

But now that I see how fun this is for people, and how fun it is for me, I want to do more. I am creative by nature…

So. It’s settled. Every Tuesday is BuJo-day here at my blog. Could be a weekly layout, could be a collection, could be dogs, could be work. Or just something that’s pretty.

 

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Todays spread.

And – I will do it in English. Good for me to train…You will find all the entries under my new category: Bullet Journaling. Easy to find 🙂

Right now I’m showing my creative work on Instagram @KelpiePhotoCreative . Follow me 😉

And if you want to join my FB-group (it’s really, really nice with a lot of supercool people) you find it HERE. It’s in Swedish.

 

It’s so pretty…I need it!

I feel like a magpie, in love with shiny objects. Except instead of shiny, right now it’s colour. Pens. Tape. Paper. I admit: I’m obsessed with stationary right now.

Why?

It’s this Bullet Journal thing. I’m stuck! I mean – it allows me to be creative, be structured, AND I have an excuse to buy new stuff! There’s a whole new world…Washi-tape. Tombow watercolour pens. Notebooks that cost WAY too much…(I dream of the Midori olive green…)

Not that I’m anywhere near to create the stuff that the pros make, but it’s good enough to make me feel happy to look at. And make. And review. And it WORKS! Let me show some of my spreads (and again, my photos aren’t as pretty as the ones you see on Pinterest or Instagram. I feel bad about that, I’m a photographer after all…):

It looks like this, pretty and green. I love friction pens, they can be erased. And I make loads of mistakes…

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Let’s start with the basics. Weekly planner, daily planner. I like to have a separate task list:

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And this is my habit tracker: one dot for every day I repeat that habit. Who knew a dot made all the difference?

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I started to put in stuff I keep on notes on my desk. It feels good to have everything in one place!

One spread to plan ahead:

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And lots of room to do…whatever I want!

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And one of the best things…notice that the pages are numbered? I have an index! I can actually find stuff!

So…As I tend to get in too deep when I like something, I’m already planning what to do next. I’m planning The Ultimate Training Planner For Dogowners! Everything I have always wanted in my training diary/planner. And right now, with vacation coming up, it feels like a perfect time to share it with…well…everyone!

So, now you know what you will find in here on tuesdays, for some weeks to come.

Interested? Curious? I need your advice: should I do it in Swedish or English? Feel free to comment what you would like! If (and I realise that’s a big “if”) there is some interest for this I’ll start an Instagram account and maybe, maybe a FB-group. “Bullet Journal for Dog Trainers”. We’ll see 🙂

 

 

 

Getting my sh*t together

I do loads of stuff because I love to do loads of stuff. I get bored. I try new things. I learn. I evolve (well, I hope so anyway…).

That means that sometimes (most of the time) the inside of my head is a bit…chaotic. My brain tries to think about everything at once. How’s that working for me? Weeell…not that great.

 

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My brain…

 

That means that I am on a constant quest for structure. Get more shit done with less effort, and actually plan off-time that is just for me. I have a planner and a to-do list in my phone (perfect, no more double bookings and no more ideas forgotten!), I have a project planner also on my phone (that means I can plan my projects and get some structure while I am on a dog walk), I have a notebook in my phone for lists and ideas that I want to save for later, and I use Dropbox a lot.

But I also feel the need to actually use pen and paper. I always take notes when I listen to things, I “learn with my hands” so to speak. So using a paper calendar is something that has a lot of value for me. I like to write and draw. I like pretty colours. I’m creative!

But which one? There are so many, and they all claim to be the best! Believe me, I have tried a few…and been ALMOST happy. ALMOST content. But there is always that nagging “If only…it would be just right!”

So, a week ago I heard the words “Bullet Journal” for the first time. Interesting…could it be something for me? Right now I am in the middle of a “bullet journal challenge”, and having a lot of fun. And getting the structure my brain craves. In the way that suits ME and MY NEEDS. At least I hope so…

 

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Focus, brain. Focus!

One page in my Bujo (I’m getting the lingo and everything! I feel like a pro after…a whole of six days…I’m pathetic, I know…) is about my weekly schedule, the things I try to do the same way every week. Checking invoices, doing my books, planning, Instagramming, dog tip of the week…and this blog!

My favourite blog is still trying to find it’s perfect form, and knowing myself I think that it will keep on changing forever. But what I really want to do is two things:

  1. Teach about photography. Dogs especially. That is my passion.
  2. Use my blog as my personal outlet. Write for the joy of writing, share a bit of myself and my life. I always enjoy a blog that is like a window into someone’s life, I guess other people feel the same way.

So, on my weekly schedule, this blog appears twice. Tuesday: personal stuff about me and my life. Friday: something useful about photography. That is my goal: twice a week this blog will be updated. So it is written, so shall it be.

So it is written (blogged), so shall it be. The internet has spoken.

 

 

Dreams of future pasts

“What do you want to remember in five years time?”

A friend of mine asked me that question, as we spoke about my new puppy and what I wanted to do with her. Competition, what sport, etc. That is four years ago.

I thought it was an odd question, so I began thinking about it. Now, four years later, I think it’s a great question! What are my most cherished memories with her? Well…a lot of fun training. A few competitions. But mostly…life together. When she snuggles up in the middle of the night, with a sock in her mouth, just glad to see me. How she sleeps in my lap as we watch TV. That she loves toys, and treats, and jumping up in my arms, and lick my face. How she found a bag of fruit and vegetables and played with it whe she was home alone, and we came home to a sofa covered in grapes, zucchini arranged on the table, lettuce leafs all over the floor, and one happy pup (we laughed. What can you do?).

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Cutest pup ever!

So, as I thought about what I thought I wanted to remember, and how it differed from my actual favourite memories, I learned about myself and what is really important to me. Self-insight. Really useful 🙂

And I expanded the concept. What do I want to remember, not only from my time with my dog but from my life, in five years time?

“Well…I worked a lot. Fun? Yes, sometimes. Not what I really wanted to do though, but…you know…got to pay the bills. Travel? Yes, some. Funny, I always thought I would travel more. See the world, you know? But there was really never the time, with the house and all.”

No. That is so not me. I won’t let it be. If you want something, work for it!

And right now, I truly believe that in five years time I really want to remember that I left my teaching job, made it as an online teacher and photographer and can work from anywhere, and live part time in an RV with my husband and dogs.

This is my future home (or something like this, we won’t buy one until next year):

 

That’s the plan right now. Let’s see what happens. Sometimes life gets in the way, sometimes you just change your mind for whatever reason, but right now – this is the start of getting to a life that I don’t want to take a vacation from 🙂

In my life as a photographer, right here right now

I’ve had two busy weeks, and feel like I’m playing catchup right now…and it will probably be like this for another week.

Last week I had four big dog related photo sessions and one without dogs, and I am so grateful I get to do what I love! Pregnant and Staffordshire terrier, wedding and pinscher, three beautiful retrievers,  9 different dogs at mini sessions at my dog club, and portraits and group photo at a confirmation in my local church.

I haven’t had time to edit more than a handful yet – but next week is all about editing! Here’s a small taste of what to come:

This week so far, I have been working around the clock with my upcoming video course for Moderskeppet. How to photograph dogs in action! But now I think all the material is filmed, all the photos are in, and all the voiceovers are recorded. Now my part is done, and the editor I work with makes the magic happen and the course comprehensible. I am really proud – it is some great stuff in there!

And today I’m focusing all my attention on my other job, as a schoolteacher, and will oversee and help my students at a camp where they learn clicker training this week. I look forward to meeting my colleagues at Glädjeklick 🙂

And I’d like to finish with a cliffhanger…We are going to look at an RV this weekend… Why? Wait and see!

 

Photoshop – combine three photos

So…You have seen my end result “Honey, I shrunk the dog”, we have covered how to choose your photos, now it’s time to combine them in photoshop.

I have used the lasso-tool, layermasks, contrast, and burn/dodge, to make the montage. After that I have added some saturation, and a vignette, to the entire photo.

These are my three photos:

And this is my finished result:

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Interested in learning about editing? There will be an online-course coming up this summer!

Easy step-by-step instructions, films of how I edit, and a chance to ask questions and get personal feedback. Interested? Join my newsletter to find out first of all AND get a bonus-offer!

I will walk you through the process.

This is where I start, because I want this to be the main background:

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First, I noticed that the big flower would be behind the dog and I wanted it to show, so I duplicated it by selecting it with the lasso-tool, copy and paste, free transform to move it where I wanted it, add layermask and fine-tune the selection:

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Next, I added the branch.

I circled the branch on the branch-photo with the lasso-tool, copied it, pasted it into the bakgrund-photo, used free transform to move it where I wanted it, added a layermask, and used my brush on the layermask to make the selection perfect. White where I want the background to show, black where I want the branch to be. You can see my layers at the right.

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Time for the dog.

Same thing as above. I also flipped her horizontally, to make her walk in the right direction. This time I had to be very careful with my layermask, it needs to be just right to blend in nicely! I also make sure to get some part of the leaves to be in front of her, that makes her blend in even better.

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I noticed that the contrast on the dog was too much and looked out of place, so I added a contrast-layer and lowered it a bit. It’s not much, but it makes a difference! Again a layermask, to only change the dog.

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She is still hanging in the air – she needs a shadow! A new layer, and I used the burn-tool to make a shadow under her.

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Now I think the montage looks nice. I want some more saturation and a vignette on the whole photo, so I flatten it and choose filter – camera raw filter. This opens the photo in camera raw, and even if it’s a JPEG the controls still work nicely. A little vibrance, clarity, and vignette.

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Done!

It takes some time and patience, but it’s not complicated.

Coming up: How’s that easter challenge doing? I’ll show you mine and hope you’ll show me yours…

Training for Top Dog Models

What is the two most important things for a Top Dog Model to know, according to me?

  1. Love the camera
  2. Stay in position

I train both these things! And I´m going to tell you how.

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One click one reward

Many dogs seems to be uncomfortable in front of a camera. They look away. They leave. How can you change that?

It’s easy. Make sessions with the camera mean FREE REWARDS for your dog! Every time you click with the camera, give your dog a treat (or a toy, depending on what your dog likes best). You don’t even have to point the camera at your dog the first times – some dogs are reactive to the shuttersound and needs to associate it with food. When your dog looks “hungry” when you click the camera, put it up to your face. This is another thing some dogs find scary, but since they already know the sound they will soon make the connection “camera = click sound = treat”. They don’t have to do anything, it’s free food! Heaven!

When your dog willingly looks at you and anticipates the sound of the shutter, you can start directing the dog. You click the camera when the dog is where you want it (obviously, to take picture), and get this – since the dog likes the sound (it means treats), it will get rewarded for doing exactly what you want it to do – pose in front of the camera!

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Stay in position

I teach all my dogs to stay in position, because it´s really handy. When it comes to photographing it’s essential that the training is positive for the dog! If we correct the dog with hard words or punishment the dog will loose it’s nice attitude and look sad in the photos. You don’t want that – you want photos of a happy dog!

A wonderful trainer named Emily Larlham has made a step by step video on how to teach Stay and keep a happy dog. Watch it!

When your dog can stay in one position – teach it others as well. This will really help to get nice photos!

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Did you find these tips useful? Do you want a free PDF with my “Five steps to better dog photos”?

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Coming up: are you stuck in automatic mode? Let me give you a few pointers to help you take control of your camera!

 

Dogs, dogs, dogs

A lot in my life is about dogs, as I think you have noticed by now…So this week is all about dog photography! Let me start by introducing my Models:

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Midori is an Australien Kelpie, a princess. Four years old she is convinced she knows everything there is to know. Loves to train, and a natural model! She has her own instagram and facebook, as all models do.

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Valldemar is a Working Kelpie. Six years old, a free spirit that refuse to be fully tamed. We have a special bond, and mostly he will do what I tell him to. Just because he loves me.

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Mårran is my Grand Old Lady, a mixbreed with a mother from Guatemala and father unknown. 14 years old and still going strong!

Do you like the photos? Not only am I a photographer, I am a teacher as well.

Subscribe to my newsletter and get tips and tricks for your own photography!

Coming up: basic training for Top Dog Models – two easy exercises!