Portraits With | DJ Kidd Madonny

I first med Kidd Madonny at The Cuff, a gay men's fetish bar I regularly shoot event photography for. Here I first witnessed Kidd's incredible DJ set - he puts on a show that is a total experience. The light show is nothing short of amazing. You can actually see some photos of him in action on my Artists & Performers page.

If Kidd comes to your local club, I highly recommend checking him out. Don't miss his other work as well. He's a clothing designer and also creates unique installations for his various performances around the world. 

Kidd returned to Seattle for Tacoma Pride's block party, and I couldn't resist shooting with him. Beyond standard promo photos, we wanted to do something unique, something different for DJs. Too often you see the arms folded, straight-on serious/mean look.

We caught sunset outside the city, at a seldom-used gas station, and put him next to gas pumps and a vintage Mercedes convertible. You don't want to miss these photos, and we saved the best (and wettest) for last. See if you can follow the story we were going for.

You can find Kidd on his website at https://kiddmadonny.com/.
All photography and retouching by me. Interested in booking? Click here.

Portraits With | Chris Thompson

I found Chris on YouTube in the glory days - when Tyler Oakley's channel intro was a time-lapse of tying his tie, and when Audible just started sponsoring content-creators. Chris actually has two channels - SupDaily06 for daily (read: used to be daily) videos, and one for his cover songs and music videos. When you watch someone that often, you start to feel like you know them. True to form, Chris has a heart of pure gold, infectious laughter, and a sly sense of humor anyone can appreciate.

Chris has taken on partnerships in virtual reality video content and begun flying his drone on his travels. Somewhere in the crazy that is this his blogging and LA adventures, Chris took on adopting his first puppy, Wrigley. His "adventure pup," Wrigley inspired Chris and showed him new ways to love. In a tragic turn of events, Wrigley was hit by a car, which understandably devastated Chris.

Turning this heartache into an act of love and generosity, Chris is mid-travel on a more than 30-stop road trip, setting up meetups for his audience and more to gather and collect supplies for each city's humane societies and animal rescues. One of his early stops was Seattle, and I had to reach out.

Whether it was his candid videos on relationships, tearful expressions of his support for the LGBT community, or covers of my favorite Backstreet Boys songs, I always saw that Chris had an amazing heart and put that into everything he did. 

After you watch that link (and find his Bruno Mars covers), I urge you to check out his schedule for future stops so you can meet Chris and his friends, and support his cause. Check out Road Trip for Wrigley here and help out his ambitious cause.

Along the way, Chris is posting events on Facebook for each stop, with specific needs of each organization in that city, and Amazon Wish Lists to match. He is also highlighting dogs at each shelter that need a forever home, and helping to show off those pups that are often wrongfully overlooked like older dogs and pit bulls.

After you watch that link (and find his Bruno Mars covers), I urge you to check out his schedule for future stops so you can meet Chris and his friends, and support his cause. Check out Road Trip for Wrigley here and help out his ambitious cause.

Chris and I took some portraits while he was here, at Seattle's Gas Works Park. Check them out here, and find us both on Instagram, at @supdaily and @dylan.cr2.


6 Tips for Amazing Photos of Your Dog

In my time between shoots, I have been walking dogs to make some extra money and getting some exercise. Of course, with anything I do, photography has become a fun part of meeting Seattle's fur babies.

Like the photos of my own dog, Will, I often get comments like, "How do you get him to pose like that?" and "I cannot believe he is so photogenic!"

I found this bright wall and it brought out the subtle pinks in her face!

I found this bright wall and it brought out the subtle pinks in her face!

You can take great photos of your four-legged friend using these tips!  

The camera, the angles, the light, the mood, and the context of the scene all play a part in great dogtography. That said, it isn't difficult to take a great dog photo and most of the success is in your interaction with your pup.

Many of these photos were taken on an iPhone with dogs that are not professionally trained. Many of them I had just met for the first time. If you've known your best friend for years, you should already be really good at the first step:


1. Know Your Dog

What is the breed of your dog? What size? Energy level? Knowing that will direct your photography more than anything else. Does your dog love to hear his name, or is she extremely treat-motivated?

Not only will this help you capture your dog, it will help determine how you want to capture your dog. Is she a super silly and energetic golden retriever? Is he a stoic mastiff?

2. Exercise

Exercise your dog first! If you had to pee, hadn't eaten in hours, and spent all day alone in an apartment, you'd be a terrible subject, too. Walk your dog for a good mile or more around the neighborhood. Throw the ball around. Play at the dog park. Just like training, your dog will be much more willing to participate and focus if he is well-exercised.

This photo isn't even totally in focus, but I love it because it gives an idea of this little guy's energy levels and his favorite toy.

This photo isn't even totally in focus, but I love it because it gives an idea of this little guy's energy levels and his favorite toy.

3. Set the Tone

When shooting in the studio, I like to play music my subject enjoys. In portrait sessions, I spent a solid amount of time getting to know the person, perhaps going five minutes at a time without pressing the shutter once. So how does this apply to your pupper?

You'll only want to photograph your dog at a dog park if the purpose is to get action shots. There is way too much going on.

Have some of your dog's comfort items at hand. Favorite treats, a blanket, and some toys always help.

Try not to get frustrated! Giving constant commands and showing signs of irritation will not help your dog calm down or pay attention to you. Work with them. Throw the ball for a few minutes, hold it up, grab your camera, and say, "Do you want the ball?!" Now that his tongue is wagging and he looks excited, take your photo.

4. Look at Me

This may be my best accidental secret with Will. I once read that "look at me" is a good command to teach a dog to make eye contact. This can help distract them from another dog, or simply imply that you mean business (usually followed by another command). Same goes for "look at me," when I have a camera in my hands.

This will take a bit of practice, but if you're diligent, it can be done in a few days. This will help your dog's obedience and give you control over your pup's headshots.

Hello there, Will!

Hello there, Will!

5. Get Low

Just like photographing children, get low to the ground. If you are not laying on your side or knees in the grass, you're going to capture an awkwardly-angled, uninteresting image of your dog. Imagine you had your portraits taken by a 30-foot tall person who refused to bend down. You'd look tiny and dominated by the height.

Sometimes the best photos are completely below the dog, leaving only sky behind them, blurry blades of grass, or a view of the dog's head held high, powerful and strong.

6. Be Creative

Find new places to explore with your dog. Sometimes the simplest backdrops add character and dimension to your images. Sometimes you give them the keys and let them take the wheel.

Share some of your tips in the comments below! Show us the best dog photo you've taken.

Portraits With | Jessi

Jessi and I met in high school, obsessed over the same bands from My Chemical Romance to Paramore. At the center of much of our conversations were our overwhelmingly similar music tastes and which attractive grungy lead singers we lusted after. 

I remember paging through Madonna's Sex while listening to Queen's News of the World on vinyl in her parents' basement. The back and forth of lyrical interpretations and have-you-heard-this-song sprees with friends like Jessi are some of my closest-held memories of high school. That, and watching Adam Lazzara perform drunk with Taking Back Sunday or creating awful scene-kid looks at a friend's sleepover.

Jessi amazes me, currently writing for Local Loop Chicago and Chicago Tribune, interviewing the likes of Aretha Franklin. She inspires me in the way that she took this fascination and archival memory of music trivia to a place of establishing herself a career based on it. If that isn't following your passions and compromising for no one, I don't know what is.

Jessi and I reunited after what was at least five years when I visited Chicago this April. We spent all day thrifting, taking photos, talking music, drinking coffee, and eating amazing falafel. It was a perfect day, and things picked up just how they would have been years ago.

When we laid records all over the floor (as you do), we commented on every one of them. Although you can't see it, a lot of care went into which specific album we chose. "Cher's Half Breed, or Dark Lady?"

When I spend a whole day photographing friends, I try to fit a few themes and locations into the day. What is essentially one long photo shoot comes out with multiple styles and "sets" of portraits, and it is really great to feed off of my creative friends and challenge myself to capture who they are in a unique way. I almost never plan these shots either - they're all unscripted.

For some real-talk, music critiques, candid comments about boys, and unrivaled Bob Dylan worship find Jessi on Twitter. You won't regret it.

Portraits With | Joshua

Josh and I have a storied past, and much of it centers around photography, but that's not where it started. Josh and I began working at the same coffee shop a week apart. It was here that I met an exuberant, joyful, and constantly laughing (no, really, constantly laughing) individual.

At first, Josh and I did not see eye-to-eye. He was youthful and fun. I was serious, to a fault, and trying to promote. Over the next few years, I learned how to find humor in life from Josh. We worked together frequently, but most notably every Friday night for over a year.

After work, we'd get Taco Bell and talk about life late into the night. We'd tag each other and our coworkers in silly shit on Facebook and learned to balance our yin and yang in the workplace. Eventually, I was Josh's boss, which was an honor and a... challenge. A time where I had to separate friendship and management, we still rocked it out and Josh made for an amazing partner in crime. It is individuals like Josh who are great to have around - our relationship is dynamic and something I've appreciated for years.

Josh was one of my first portrait subjects, first for fun and then for his senior photos in high school. We took photos in forest preserves, in alleyways, downtown and in areas we probably could no longer recall. Josh is one of those people I always told should pursue modeling, and not to flatter him, but he honestly came off as an Abercrombie & Fitch model to me, both in style and the way he served face.

Some of Josh's photos are my favorite to include in portfolios. He challenged me and provided input and really helped me grow as a person and photographer. I'd like to think we are reciprocal in that aspect, as Josh has frequently reached out to me for work advice and had since promoted. We also related about boys and self-care and oddly similar experiences with life and all its wonders.

We are pretty comfortable in talking about most things these days, albeit a couple thousand miles apart. But every time I meet up with Josh, we do a portrait session. It's just our thing now. So here's Josh in downtown Chicago, followed by Josh saying, "I want to do some shirtless ones, too," as he was already taking off his shirt in the middle of the Loop.

Here's to you, Josh. Here's to us and this weird dynamic we have. Love you, buddy.