Painted Pet Portraits Score Well in Competition

My Painted Pet Portraits Were a Success!

Wow! The past few days have been a whirlwind. The largest photographic competition for professional photographers (IPC) hosted by the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) just concluded yesterday. Judging started at 4 PM on Sunday evening and ran 3 hours on Sunday. Monday and Tuesday were full days (8:30 to 6 and 8 to 6, respectively). The final day was yesterday and judging ran until early afternoon. Atlanta, where PPA is headquartered, played host to the event. Fortunately, judging was live-streamed via the internet. I was glued to my computer or iPad screen for most of that time. With 5 rooms going at once, I was constantly jumping from room to room to try to catch my own painted pet portrait entries, any animal image being judged, and also entries submitted by friends and colleagues. My neck is still stiff from spending way too long leaning into the computer monitor for 3+ days.

My Painted Pet Portrait Entries

Four of my images were entered in the Photographic Open category of the competition. All 4 were client’s dogs that were photographed in studio and then painted in Photoshop. I am proud to say that all 4 earned merit scores toward my Master of Photography degree with PPA. The first image is called “Mom’s Pride and Joy”. This little guy is the smallest little Yorkshire Terrier. His name is Dash. He came to a portrait session back in February – all the way from Nashville, Tennessee!

Painted Pet Portrait - Yorkshire Terrier


The next competition image is entitled “Oscar Mayer”. I just couldn’t help but think of the little ditty from the ages old commercial when I named this one. You remember it, don’t you? “My baloney has a first name, it’s O-S-C-A-R. My baloney has a second name, it’s M-A-Y-E-R”. Okay, I know this is a Dachshund, but Oscar Mayer sold hot dogs too!

Painted Pet Portrait - Dachshund


Third was “Mop Top Diva”. This little Yorkshire Terrier girl’s real name is Roxie and her mom brought her for a session last summer. She was a delight and I can’t wait until she comes back. Her mom is already planning her next portrait session.

Painted Pet Portrait - Yorkshire Terrier


Finally, my last merited image in this year’s competition was entitled “Velveteen Vixen”. Pila is a Mudi, a Hungarian herding breed. She was imported from Hungary and came in for puppy photos not long after arriving in Kentucky. Her session was a blast! Puppies are so entertaining. She did hold still (with some help) long enough for some great photos. This particular portrait was painted in Photoshop (like all those above).

Painted Pet Portrait - Mudi puppy


Is Painting Easy?

Is painting easy? Yes and no. It is time-consuming and requires a great deal of mental focus. I enjoy doing it. Doing anything you enjoy makes it seem easier.

Are you curious about how much work goes into a painted portrait? The final image above was painted version #30. Below is the straight out of camera shot.

Mudi puppy portrait session


And here is the first painted version:

Mudi puppy version one


You can see it was a pretty large transformation to get from the original image to finished product.

Posted in News, Portraits

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2017

Happy New Year!  2016 seems to have flown past. It seemed like every weekend found David and me at a dog event. I know it wasn’t really that many, but some months came close.

The new year is just getting started, but I’m already making plans for this year’s photography goals. We have several events scheduled in January and February. March is almost full too! I do still have openings for studio photography. If your favorite pet needs his or her picture on your wall, now is the time to schedule a session.

Saying good-bye

A few of the jewelry pieces that we have offered in the past have been discontinued by my vendor. I am checking out their new items to see what we might pick up as replacements. Does anyone out there wear charm bracelets anymore? We do have the option of adding charms to the current necklace and pendant line-up. Comment below if you like the idea!

New items coming later this new year

I have some new ideas in the works. First, I will be taking a class on painting with Photoshop at the end of January. Can you imagine how much fun that will be?   I can hardly wait to get started with that. We already offer a fun line of digital illustrations from agility, obedience and rally trial photos. Those were a big hit in 2016 and we will continue to offer them in 2017. I’m hoping to begin digital paintings from studio portraits later this year.  

Education, education, education

As I said above, I’m taking a painting class at the end of the month.  The month of January also includes my state photography convention in Covington.  I always pick up some new tidbits to help improve my photography and sometimes I get ideas for a new product offering.  The digital illustrations that I offer grew from a seminar I attended several years ago.  Sometimes it takes a while for the seed to germinate into a product, but once it does – watch out!

What are your plans for 2017?

Are you training for new titles?  Do you have a new puppy or kitten?  Let us know if we can help out!  We love photographing puppies and kittens.  If you got one for Christmas, give us a call or send an email.  502-592-7071 or


Posted in Chit Chat, News

Dog Photos – Made into Artwork

David and I photograph several dog agility trials throughout the year. We also photograph some dog obedience and rally trials. My favorite thing to do with the action dog photos that we capture is to turn them into unique pieces of art. The process is slow but it is so rewarding! I love the creation process and the dog owner loves their new artwork.

The process starts with the best possible action photos. At Images By Janice, we use camera gear that is optimized for the low-light conditions of most indoor dog event facilities. That insures that we have high-quality, clear dog photos to start with. We then help the owner pick out the best photo from among their favorites at an event. Some action dog photos work better than others for the artwork that I create. A nice intense, focused look on the dog’s face is priceless! Also, jumping dog photos work very well. Believe it or not, even photos of the dog landing from a jump can create a really awesome piece of artwork. For example, the three photos below:

Agility dog photo from Queen City Dog Training Club - Keeshond - ©Images By Janice, LLC - Louisville, KY

Agility dog photo - Keeshond - ©Images By Janice, LLC - Louisville, Kentucky

Happy dog photo - ©Images By Janice, LLC - Louisville, KY

…..were all merged into this single piece of artwork (see below).

Keeshond dog photos composite - ©Images By Janice, LLC - Louisville, KY

I love how the dog in the lower right corner is starting to land and it adds so much motion and energy to the final illustration.

Usually, the illustrations are made from a single dog photo. Once that action photo is chosen, I discuss with the owner what sort of style and colors they prefer. Once I have that information, the fun begins! As you can see from the dog photos above (taken at Queen City Dog Training Club in Cincinnati, Ohio), there are usually a lot of distracting things in the photos with the dog. I use photo-editing tools to help me “cut” the dog out of the original photograph. Sometimes I will leave a portion of the agility equipment, but other times I end up with nothing but the dog.

Once the dog is separated from the distractions, I move the cut-out dog to a clean white background and start painting. The painting is all done digitally and I enjoy playing with various color combinations. Sometimes, the colors are inspired by the dog’s coat color. Other times, the owner has a favorite color scheme and I will work with that. If the owner doesn’t have a preference, I am free to create whatever pops into my head. Those are usually my favorite finished pieces because my creativity is allowed free-run of the canvas. Below is one of my all-time favorites. I actually have a sample of it that I carry with me to agility trials. I enjoy the subtle lightning bolts, the hint of a rain shower, and the little splashes under the dog’s feet.

Jumping dog photos artwork - ©Images By Janice, LLC - Janice Lukenbill - Louisville, KY

Posted in Chit Chat

Louisville Pet Photographer’s Work Goes To International Exhibition

For immediate release — Louisville pet photographer, Janice Lukenbill, CPP of Images By Janice, LLC is honored by peers and jurors for high-quality photography.

Louisville, Kentucky – August 9, 2016— Several photographs created by Louisville pet photographer Janice Lukenbill, Certified Professional Photographer of Images By Janice, LLC  have recently been accepted into the General Collection of Professional Photographers of America’s 2016 International Photographic Competition. Janice’s work will be on display at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, TX, Jan. 8-10, 2017. This International Photographic Exhibition is held in conjunction with Imaging USA, an annual convention and expo for professional photographers.

A panel of 46 eminent jurors from across the United States selected the top photographs from nearly 5,700 total submitted entries at Gwinnett Technical College in Georgia. Judged against a standard of excellence, just over 2,428 images were selected for the General Collection and 1,007 were selected for the esteemed Loan Collection—the best of the best. The Loan Collection images will all be published in the much-anticipated “Loan Collection” book and over 200 selected General Collection images will be published in the “Showcase” book by Marathon Press.

Janice’s three dog portraits, titled What Duck?”, “She Said What?”, and “Little Prince Charming”,  will be in the International Photographic Exhibition alongside other top photographic works from the competition and traveling and special invitational displays. These images constitute one of the world’s largest annual exhibits of professional photography gathered simultaneously under one roof.

About PPA:
Professional Photographers of America (PPA) is the largest international non-profit association created by professional photographers, for professional photographers. Almost as long-lived as photography itself, PPA has roots that date back to 1869. It assists nearly 30,000 members through protection, education and resources for their continued success. See how PPA helps photographers be more at


To schedule an appointment to have your pet photographed by an award-winning photographer who specializes in animals, contact: Janice Lukenbill at
(502) 592-7071  or


Poodle Puppy portrait - Images By Janice - Louisville pet photographer

Little Prince Charming

Sheprador puppy portrait - Images By Janice - Louisville pet photographer

She Said What?

Golden Retriever portrait - Images By Janice - Louisville pet photographer

What Duck?

Posted in News, Portraits

Changes to my online event galleries

Lately, I have been receiving a lot of requests to reactivate some of my expired event galleries.  So, I’ve been giving my on-line galleries a lot of thought.

Effective today, I have reactivated galleries going back to October of 2015.  So, if you missed out on seeing and/or purchasing images of your favorite canine companion in action, here’s your chance!  I will still have an expiration date on current galleries.  That expiration date will signify a cut-off date for special event pricing.  Once a gallery expires, there will be a 25% increase in the purchase price of prints and digital media.  You will still be able to purchase artistic pieces, collages and jewelry at the regular event pricing.

Thanks to everyone who supports Images By Janice.  We love photographing your pets!


Posted in News

I am Certified!

No, I didn’t say “certifiable”, though I’m sure that there are those who think I probably *am* certifiable.

Nope, I am now a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) through the Professional Photographers of America (PPA).  In order to become certified, one first must be a member of PPA.  Then, you must declare your candidacy, pass a written exam and then pass an image submission exam.  I declared my candidacy last May and took the written exam last June at Photo Pro Network’s Summer School in Owensboro.  The exam is 100 questions in length and you must score at least a 70 in order to pass.  The questions cover everything photographic and I studied for probably a year before declaring.  I was really pleased to pass the score with only 7 incorrect answers!

I took a while to prepare my images for image submission.  Submission entails 6 compulsory images, plus 9 client images.  I had to demonstrate that I understand how to properly light a subject (both broad light and short light) and how to use selective focus to highlight the main subject of a photograph.

broad light

Broad Light

selective focus

Selective Focus

short light

Short light

My other compulsories were chosen from 6 options.  I chose to demonstrate Rule of Thirds (a compositional technique), texture, and color harmony.

color harmony

Color harmony

rule of thirds

Rule of Thirds

shape form texture

Texture, Shape, form

Image submission periods are only open every two months.  There is a window for submissions that lasts for two weeks.  I actually submitted midway through the April 2015 period.  Once submissions close, candidates have to wait three weeks to find out whether or not they pass.  If your compulsory images don’t pass, the judges don’t even look at your client images.  Since I submitted a week before deadline, I’ve been waiting for 4 weeks to see whether or not I passed.  Fortunately, I’ve been busy with agility trial photography, so I didn’t really have time to stress out until this week.  This week, I confess, I’ve been pretty distracted.  I should have been editing images from the last agility trial, but my mind has been on CPP.

Today, before heading to Nosework class with Ian, the English Cocker, I checked email.  There is was……an email with the subject heading “CPP Results”.  I sat there and was afraid to open the email.  I finally got up the nerve to open it.  It started out with a platitude thanking me for taking part in the CPP image submission process.  I thought to myself…..”Oh no! I didn’t pass!”  Then my eyes skimmed a little further to find the word “CONGRATULATIONS” in all caps.  I had to read the email three times before it really sank in.  I am now a CPP, a Certified Professional Photographer.  I am beyond pleased to say that all of the images that I used were dog portraits (except the Selective Focus image, which was dog-related).

There are only a handful of CPPs who specialize in pet photography.  I am proud to say that I am now among their ranks.  If you’ve been wanting to have a beautiful photographic portrait taken of your favorite four-legged friend, give me a call at (502) 592-7071 or email me at to schedule a consultation.


Posted in Chit Chat, News, Portraits

Photographing Senior Pets

Back around the first of the year, I did a portrait session for a canine senior citizen named Buzz. I’ve adored Buzz since he was a pup, so I was very honored that his owner asked me to photograph him now that he is getting on in years. While photographing senior pets can be a challenge, I am always up for a challenge.

Louisville Pet Photographer, Louisville Pet Photography, Louisville Dog Photographer, Louisville Dog Photography

The smiling face above is how I always think of Buzz. The difficulty was to capture that look in a classic portrait. You see, Buzz is hard of hearing, as are many senior pets. We couldn’t use squeaky toys or funny noises to get his attention. That left us with treats. Buzz is an English Springer Spaniel. If you know anything at all about spaniels, you know they are true chow hounds. Buzz is no exception. The owner would use treats to get him into position and then back away. Of course, Buzz decided to follow the treats rather than stay where he was left. Age does have its privileges, and Buzz is like most retired obedience-trained dogs who waste NO time in figuring out when the rules no longer apply to them. The three of us humans in the studio were laughing out loud at Buzz’s antics by the end of the portrait session. With a lot of treats, a lot of patience, and a quick shutter finger, I was able to capture Buzz’s personality for posterity.

Louisville Pet Photographer, Louisville Pet Photography, Louisville Dog Photographer, Louisville Dog Photography

Buzz’s Classic Portrait

I love spaniels for many reasons. They have beautiful coats that are so silky to the touch. They are wonderful companions. What I love the most, though, are those soulful eyes as seen in the classic portrait above. The eyes on a spaniel can melt your heart, and Buzz’s were no exception. Many thanks to his owner, Alex, for allowing me the opportunity to capture that timeless expression.


Posted in Chit Chat, Portraits

Photo Highlights from HDTC

Louisville Pet Photographer, Louisville Pet Photography, Louisville Dog Photographer, Louisville Dog Photgraphy

Flash in Open A at HDTC’s February obedience trial.












In February – Valentine’s Day weekend to be exact – David and I were photographing the Hamilton Dog Training Club’s winter obedience and rally trials.  We had 2 long 12-hour days of obedience followed by a more normal 8-hour day of rally.  Since I was showing Flash in Open A at the trials, we took turns photographing.  I thought I would share a few of the purchased photos from that trial.


It was a lot of fun to see not only the great working teams, but also the fun interactions between dog and handler.  If you would like to see more photos from the trial, click here.  The online gallery will be available for viewing until at least mid-April 2015.

Posted in Chit Chat, News Tagged , , |

Rest in Peace

Max memorial

Posted in News

Not the post I thought I would write today…..

I sat down today to write about my wonderful weekend at Photo Pro Network Summer School in Owensboro.  I’m finding it hard to write that post at the moment.  Right now, my heart is breaking.  The health of my 13-year-old Poodle Max, aka  UROC URX2 U-Ag1 U-CDX Scherzer Lastline Of Defense CDX RAE OAP AJP CL1-R CL1-F, is rapidly deteriorating.  So, today’s post is going to be a living tribute to the greatest dog I’ve ever owned.  His registered name is long and his titles are many.  We showed together in conformation (until he went over-size), obedience, agility and rally.  He was my first agility dog to get to the Excellent level and likely the last since I don’t do agility any more.  I don’t really like agility but, in Max’s eyes, “run and jump” was the greatest sport in the world.  I ran agility with him because he did every other sport with me that I wanted to do.  Once David helped him overcome his fear of the teeter, it became his favorite obstacle.  One of my favorite agility memories is from a trial at Queen City Dog Training Club in Cincinnati.  It was a Jumpers course and somehow I ended up going one way and Max another.  We both stopped and looked at each other.  The expression on both of our faces was “What in the world are YOU doing over THERE?”  When I watched the video later, I had flicked out a pinky finger toward my left as I turned right.  Max took that cue and went left and was more than a bit ticked off at me that I had mis-cued him!

In obedience, he once took the high jump during the figure eight exercise in Open B (the Open level class for dogs with the CDX title).  We had been doing a lot of agility without much obedience practice at the time.  When I watched the video of that day in the ring, I had to laugh at my boy who was having a blast.  In rally, he was always a willing partner.  Well, almost always.  He sometimes saw ‘dead people’ in the corners of the rings where we trialed.  Heck, he still sees ‘dead people’ – demons only he can see.  When his demons show up, he just can’t work through them.  But that’s okay, because he has always been the dog that will give me everything he has at any given moment.  Even when the demons cause him to panic, he turns to me with trust and tries his hardest for me.

From the moment that I met Max, he was destined to be mine and to rule the household.  When I met his litter, there were two boys.  I really wanted his brother.  His brother wouldn’t give me the time of day, but Max kept coming up and crawling into my lap.  After several visits with the same reactions from the two boys, I finally relented and Max came home with me.  I have never regretted that decision.  I had only had him a couple of days when I called my mom, his breeder.  I told her that Max was quickly wrapping me around his paw and I knew it, and I didn’t care.  Max’s favorite snack was, and still is, french fries from the fast food seafood restaurant, Moby Dick.  He learned to beg while waiting for me to share my Moby Dick french fries.  Nowadays he usually begs first from my husband, David.  However, if there are Moby Dick french fries, he comes to me first.

Max will never steal food.  We can leave a plate of cheese on the sofa arm and leave the room.  When we come back, Max will still be waiting for his cheese.  His latest way to ask for something is to reach out with his right forepaw and tap David on the arm….very gently… if to say “Excuse me, sir”.  Once he has David’s attention, he will stare intently into David’s eyes and then at the plate of food, then back into the eyes.  It’s almost comical to watch, because Max has it down to a science after all these years.

As I said earlier, Max has his demons.  He is deathly afraid of small children and anything  that rolls.  I know exactly when and how that fear developed.  It was one of those freakish things that happens during a critical fear period.  He was never able to overcome the experience despite years of counter-conditioning.  We’ve worked through it the best we can over the years.  At this point, it is what it is.  And it’s part of who Max is.

Max is the only dog allowed to sleep in our bed.  It started at motels when we’d stay overnight for dog shows.  Max (with David’s voice) would ask, “Mom? Can I sleep in bed tonight?”  The answer was always yes.  Slowly, over the years, sleeping in bed started happening at home as well.  He usually sleeps at the foot of the bed, between David’s feet.  Some nights he’s my dog and sleeps curled up against the back of my legs.  Usually it’s very comforting to have Max sleeping against me.  Lately, though, his breathing has gotten more labored and I wake up to hear him coughing or wheezing.

At the start of this post, I said that Max had lots of titles.  He does.  But … that is not who he is.  Who is Max?  Max is the ‘plain brown dog’ who stole my heart.  He is a lover of all things made of (or flavored like) cheese (“Cal-sum” in Max-words.)  He is a lover of pop-pop (popcorn), Moby Dick french fries, apples (which he will eat right off the core once you take the peel off for him) and sleeping in bed.  He is the best whole-dog cuddler ever. He is the dog who stole my heart and who trusts me implicitly.  He is also the dog who defied the odds and survived a splenic hematoma and surgery to have the spleen removed four years ago this August.  He has made me laugh and cry.

And now, while I still can……I’m going to get off this computer and go take more photos of one of my best friends.

Best Dog Ever!


Posted in Chit Chat