Leash Removal with Ajax the rescued dog - sunset over Sydney Harbour

Leash Removal

Welcome to Week 15 of the Pet Photography 52 Weeks Project.  This week’s theme is “Leash Removal”.


Knowing how to direct clients on how to hold the leash when photographing their dogs, and then having the skill to remove the leash in the post-processing is a key requirement of any professional pet photographer. I often get comments from prospective clients.. “My dog can’t be off-leash unfortunately” or “My dog would never pose for a photo”. When I tell them that most dogs are photographed on a leash, it sure surprises them. We have ways and means of removing the client from the image too, along with the leash.

Last week I was in New Zealand for Barkzealand so this week has been a little crazy catching up with lots of admin tasks and editing of recent sessions. On Tuesday afternoon I met up with two of my fellow “Barkas” Nicole and Bridget who wanted to photograph Aussie dogs in an iconic Sydney location. I lined up a few friends with their dogs and we all met up at Mrs Macquarie’s Point which has amazing views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge and is a dog-friendly location. I took this photo after the girls headed off to continue their journeys.

The dog is Ajax and he was rescued from a main road where he was found bleeding from the ears which had been cut (we assume with a holepunch) and he was emaciated and in a pretty bad way health-wise. His rescuers had to take him to the RSPCA so he could go through the mandatory holding period and they were able to adopt him when nobody came forward. He is so loved and cherished and his rescuers are the founders of Penny Marathon, such an amazing organisation making a difference to animals worldwide.

Ajax’s Mum Pep was holding Ajax leash for this photo and it was a simple edit to remove it from the shot. Below is the straight-out-of-camera photo and below it is the final edit.

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you may have read the full story on the chaos that was going on during and just after I took this photo! Sometimes in times of adversity, amazing things can happen.

The second dog in this gallery is Muddy who was at the Sutherland Shire Council Animal Shelter for almost 12 months before he was adopted in 2017. Sadly while I was in NZ I saw his face pop up as a new impound and yesterday I got to see him. I’m so sad to see him back there and looking older. I took a lot of images of him so I can write a blog just about him and find the true forever home he needs.

Ajax - SOOC
Ajax - Edited
Muddy - Basic Edits
Muddy - Edited

Thank you for reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s topic in our blog circle.  Please head on over to check out About A Dog Photography in St. Cloud, St. Paul and Minneapolis for Cahlean’s take on this topic, and continue clicking the link at the bottom of each post until you end up right back here.

If you would like to book a photography session for your dog please get in touch as I’d love to meet you and will make time in my schedule for you.  If you want to join the pack and be kept up to date with the latest news, please sign up here.

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  1. Kim Hollis on 12 April, 2019 at 8:58 pm

    I love the photo of Ajax and I certainly hope Muddy finds his permanent forever home soon.

    • Jo Lyons on 25 April, 2019 at 10:19 am

      Thanks Kim, I hope so too, he’s been in my thoughts a lot!

  2. Colleen on 12 April, 2019 at 10:42 pm

    The finished photo of Ajax is stunning. I love that his story has such a happy ending. And poor Muddy… I am grateful that he has you in his corner.

    • Jo Lyons on 25 April, 2019 at 10:18 am

      Thanks Col, I’m batting for Muddy… if he doesn’t find his home, it may well be ours!

  3. Angela Schneider on 13 April, 2019 at 5:25 am

    Wow. That Ajax image is magnificent. Well done, you.

    • Jo Lyons on 25 April, 2019 at 10:17 am

      Thanks Angela!

  4. Linda Perdue on 13 April, 2019 at 10:34 pm

    You did amazing transformations on the original photograph of Ajax to the final photography – I assume that you are using photoshop for a lot of your ‘transformations’ – it looks wonderful! Poor Muddy, the name might not be helping this poor guy, but I see this so much that I am saddened but know that some dogs do ok in shelters, others are just luckier I guess – I hope he finds a home soon.

    • Jo Lyons on 25 April, 2019 at 10:17 am

      Thanks Linda, this photo didn’t actually require much editing at all surprisingly. I just made basic adjustments in Lightroom and then removed the leash in Photoshop. Muddy had some people come to meet him a few days ago… not sure of the outcome yet. He’s been on my mind constantly and if he doesn’t find a home, I’m going to consider adopting him as I’m sure he would love to live on the farm with us when we move.

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