K9 School Pictures!












with J’adore le Chien Pet Photography & Pawsitive Tails

Fine art pet photographer Ellen Shershow Peña will create stylish memories of your fur child
WHEN: Sunday, April 6, 2014 10 am – 5 pm
WHERE: Pawsitive Tails, 1255 22nd St, San Francisco ·  Directions
WHAT: $149 includes a 20 minute shoot for 1 dog, 3 professionally retouched 8” x 10” photographic prints, 3 images for use on social media, option to upgrade to framed/metal/wood
WHY: Your dog is totally and completely awesome


DETAILS: Each session is limited to one dog. Please book two consecutive sessions if you have two dogs. All images are on a white background without props
Questions? Please contact Ellen Shershow Peña at ellen@jadorelechien.com 415.690.0278
Participation is limited to 7 dogs and is booked on a first come, first served basis.



I’m not gonna lie, last week was kind of a bummer.


I was just having—you know—one of those weeks. Like, all I wanted to do was loll about, listen to Taylor Swift songs, and ask my Mother to bring me a sick tray of Matzah brei and ginger ale.


Then I remembered that

a)I’m not seven years old

b) My mother lives 3,000 miles away and

c)Sick trays are so passé they don’t even use them on Mad Men anymore.


I glumly wandered into my bi-monthly pro-bonoMuttville Senior Dog Rescue shoot, shoulders slumped down, the tragedy of my life weighing heavy upon my brow…. and…..


My crap ass mood was Dunzo!

The crew at muttville was so sweet, so funny, so marvelous, I almost grabbed an umbrella in one hand, popped a beribboned hat atop Einteins head and broke out into this rendition of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

So you know we’re doing this week! We’re making the whole crew Dog of the Month!

THAT’S RIGHT MY FINE FURRY FRIENDS! ALL OF YOU! (what? That’s a problem for you? There’s, like, some sort of rule book that says I have to pick one? Whatev. This is my project and I can do what I want and this month I’m celebrating. If you’ve got such a problem go down to Muttville Manor  yourself–you’ll see!–You’ll totally go home with a pack of new furry friends!)

May I present to you, the fabulous, mood enhancing, lovable and talented dogs of Muttville:



ONE thing that it is important for you to know about me is that I am maniacally on time for anything work related. In what I believe is a direct result,  I’m nearly always late for anything of a personal nature.  And so it is with many television shows. While I’m proud to have been an early Mad Man devotee, such is the exception, never the rule.


With this in mind, you’ll need to reserve judgment when I admit that I discovered Downton Abbey a mere 9 days ago. Yes, 9 days.  My Mother has been trying to get me to watch since, well, since a long time, but up until now I’ve stuck to the edict I learned at 14; the only path to true adulthood is never doing what your parent ask you to do.




I’m already through all of season 1 and I’m dying to delve into season 2.*


This meant that when I went into Muttville Senior Dog Rescue for one of my twice monthly pro-bono sittings, my thoughts went something like this:


‘When will Daisy she realize that the evil Thomas will never love her and it warms my heart thinking that Gwen Dawson’s descendant Joan P. Harris (née Holloway) is so much more than a secretary and Mary! Oh she is so my favorite she acts like such a good girl but then she is all ‘Mr. Pamuk! We can’t go down that hall!’ and ‘I don’t care a thing about rules’…and the way she is sort of awkward and graceful all at once and ‘I’m so bored of my gorgeous purple and gray dress…’


….Meanwhile, I was asking Binkie Rose to stand and Binkie Rose felt she would look better sitting, allowing her taffeta to drape just so and







*Anyone who tells me what happens in season 2 is banned from my blog forever. I’m serious. You think I can’t do that? Go ahead and try me!



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What a difference a home makes

Two weeks ago, something amazing happened.

It all started back in December. I photographed a dog named Benny at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue. As with many dogs, I did not know his backstory. The word I would have used to describe Benny was, sadly,  ‘dejected’. He was super sweet, and he really seemed to like having his picture taken, but I got the sense he was really down on life.

Two weeks ago, Benny’s new family brought him and his siblings, Jojo and Ginger, to my studio for a photo shoot.

The Benny that pranced into my studio was a completely different dog.

Benny is now the happiest dog I have ever met (and I’ve met some really happy dogs) he literally could not stop smiling.

Check this out:

The first image I took  of Benny on his first day at Muttville. He did not have a family yet.

Right below it, you’ll see one of the images I took two weeks ago, after he was adopted into his new family:







I know…I needed a tissue as well.


Later in the day, I had this image in my mind of all three siblings in a line together. I placed Benny first, with Ginger right next to him followed by Jojo.   Benny’s Moms were on the left and right (I often place parents next to the dogs, but out of the frame, because it helps the fur children feel at ease) and went to photograph, but Benny had other ideas; he pranced forward so he was standing just in front of his moms and siblings,  and sorta puffed out his chest, like some combo of Vanna White and Pink, and basically said ‘Check it out! I won the prize! I got the best family ever and I’m happy!’


Yes, Benny, yes you did.

Benny, Ginger & Jojo


As most of you know by now, I donate twice monthly sittings to Muttville Senior Dog Rescue.  The really amazing thing about this gig is that twice a month I’m guaranteed to have a super fabulous, super fun, super Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious day. You can visit Jadore le Chien Pet Photography to see all the available mutts, and check out Muttville to learn how to adopt.


This months ‘Dog of the Month’ was both ridiculously easy and inexplicably hard to select. In a perfect world, Bacon Mac and Cheese would be good for you, spas and hair salons would be free thanks to generous government subsidies, I would wake up every morning to blue birds whispering ‘Ellen is the best Ellen is best Ellen is best’ into my ear, and every stray mutt the world over would be dog of the month for a day.

But alas, sometimes life is unfair.

Simba, however, is one special little dude.

For one, Simba is quite popular with the ladies. He is something like a cross between Jordan Catalano and George Clooney—you know, handsome, wicked cool, likes to misbehave when people are watching but is the perfect gentleman when nobodies looking. Simba was full of energy when I first met him and muttville, chasing all the pretty girls about and generally shouting ‘Look at me!’ every chance he could. As soon as I got him in front of a camera, however, he morphed into Fred Rogers. He asked for a bow tie and had some water. Then sat calmly until my camera was set, at which point he tilted his head so the light hit his eyes just so. When we were done, he licked my face.

Of course, there is one thing about Simba that is distinct from Clooney and Catalano. As my grandmother would have said, Simba is not the kind of guy you date; he is the kind of guy you marry.

If I were you (and I’m not, I’m me—but follow along here) I would think marrying a dog was, well, a tad strange (no judgement! Each to his own! Being honest here!) BUT I would totally want to make Simba my fur child. Just sayin’

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haven’t blogged for a year. It has been so long since I’ve blogged that I don’t even know if ‘blogged’ is what the kids are calling it these days. I fear it may have been re-invented—you know—like how ‘Designated Driver’ is now DD. Is it just called ‘B’ now? Because that actually makes me think of Botox which I feel is really nothing like blogging although, again, its been a year, so I could be wrong.

But I digress.

Back in December I started donating twice monthly sittings to Muttville Senior Dog Rescue.  Twice a month I get to go hang out with a small flock of these fabulous creatures—AND OH. MY. GOD. THEY. ARE. FABULOUS.  Beginning today, I will feature one of these fabulous creatures as my ‘Dog of the month’. You can visit Jadore le Chien Pet Photography to see all the available mutts, and check out Muttville to learn how to adopt.

It took me about 3 minutes this week to have a major epiphany: the hard part about ‘Dog of the Month’ is choosing which dog to feature. Each dog is kookier, cuter, snugglier, wiser and more adorable than the last

All of that said, this month, Trini had me at hello. At 7 pounds, Trini is a wee mutt, but has the biggest, most soulful eyes I have even seen. Trini reminds me a little of that girl you knew in high school that you really wanted to hate because she was super popular and wicked pretty and good at everything, but found that you couldn’t hate her because she was so darn nice and actually admitted to you once that she has an irrational fear of public speaking.

In closing, I am going to continue my tradition of asking you for a present at the close of every blog. This month, however, I’d like to allocate my gift to Muttville. The Mutts there are all in need of forever homes, and I just know you or someone you know would be perfect





Owning my own business is fabulous and horrible. On the one hand, I am the master of my own destiny, on the other hand, some days I feel like a mad cow on Quaaludes.

No—really—you want an example? I woke up this morning and had this thought:


‘ok so the first thing I need to do is not check my email since that blog I read about being Zen said don’t  check email first thing so I think I’ll make my coffee and drink the ENTIRE CUP before I check email in fact –socks!–I’ll SIT ON THE PORCH so I’m not tempted but –mmmmm I love my new Bobby Brown mascara–oh also I need to unpack the photographs that arrived yesterday and ship them to Connecticut plus I need to look up that dog obsessed fashion blogger Brittanie mentioned –where are my socks?–oh wait no first thing I need to check how to make my face book page look more like my website with SPwebBooks –is it March already –seriously where are all my socks–yes it is I have taxes to dive into oh and clean out my closet –socks…socks…socks!––oho Lightroom  4!–and  Aishe of SFPuppy Prep and I were supposed to have lunch today –where the f–k are my f—ing socks—not sure if we said a time need to check email but not until after coffee –they don’t even need to match I just need any two f–ing socks–so I can be Zen and….’

I could go on, but you get the idea.

This was all in the space of oh, about 45 seconds, give or take a second.

Last but not least, I was so pleased with how I ended my last post that I’ve decided to close all my posts in the exact same way:

A Present
If today’s post made you laugh, or even smile just a wee bit, you are welcome to send me a present. Today, I would like to solve several quandaries with one tiny bit of brilliant software.  Thank you. You are too thoughtful!



I went. I saw. I covet so many more things now.

I finally did it! I went to WPPI Las Vegas. And let me tell you, however overwhelming you think it is, it is so much more than that.

I was so unprepared for the entire event, I thought I would get down some words of wisdom for other WPPI Innocents:

1. This whole pre-boarding of 5 classes business.
I found  this inexplicably confusing.

Perhaps it is one of those things that once you get it, it is absurdly obvious, something akin to my 12 year old confusion about deodorant—you see, I did not initially understand deodorant to be about a morning routine. I initially understood it to be like a salve that you rolled on after working up a sweat.

Stop right now with the judgement!

In my defense my mother was in her hippie-caftan phase and was working on her ‘all children should be free’ theory of parenting.

Plus, I had brothers, not sisters. Play me any 10 seconds of any Kiss song— ANY KISS SONG –and I could identify the song name AND album, plus I knew about ditching Andy Gibb for John Lennon which was very advanced for 1983. The point being I was a quick-witted child and I am an equally quick witted adult but there are those things that require a bit of explaining

Fortunately for me, the lovely Lori Fuller explained:

“…You can pre-board for five of the platform classes that are included with your registration.  That means you can select five speakers you would like to see and if you pre-board with them, you stand in a separate line and get early admission into the seminar room…. it is a way to ensure you get in to see the speakers you really want to see b/c many of them fill up…even in those conference rooms that hold a couple thousand people.  You are allowed to go to as many classes as you want throughout the conference, not just five.”

2. Skin Care
One thing it is important for you to know about me is that I am a strong believer in a skin cair routine that includes a good SPF.

WPPI, however, is an exception, as you will only be outside for about 10 minutes a day. Go ahead, scoff, but between the hotel air, the casino smoke, and all the walking your skin will dry out like parchment if your not very careful. I recommend packing Clinique’s Moisture Surge Use it before bed and under your makeup.

3. A pair of very, very, very comfortable shoes.
I recommend Thierry Rabotin.

I’m telling you, the soles are made of tiny pillows sewn by fairies who frolic among the lavender fields in a tiny Italian village that smells of candy and happiness

4. Anne Ruthamnn
Say it with me: “I would like to thank the universe for inventing Anne Ruthmann. Amen” Now read this please

5. Kelly Moore Bags
After decades of suffering through those horrific, over sized, bulky, naaaaasty camera bags, the good people of the planet are finally waking up to the fact that women photograph and we want to look fabulous. Bring money to purchase one of Kelly Moore’s indispensable creations. And your welcome.

6. A Present
If you’ve enjoyed this post, you may feel the undeniable urge  to buy me a present, I would like this please . Thank you.































Pre-pubescent turtles

Things that make me cookoo-bananas-pissy and a cure for my hateful pissiness

A list, in no particular order, of things I hate:

1. Semi-casual acquaintances from years back who get married, change their last name, use their tiny new born infants as their Facebook profile picture, then friend you and assume you will know who they are. Really? What am I, the infant whisperer?

2. Very tall people who ride the Muni, stand in front of me in the Muni train stairwell, thereby completely blocking my exit from the train. Its particularly annoying when I shout ‘Excuse me!’ to get them to move, and they turn around and search the blank space directly behind their heads, about two feet above mine. Yes, douche bag, I am under 5 feet, I do exist, and thats my stop your about to make me miss.

3. Anyone who doesn’t like Steve Martin. Because, what, you think you could make a better movie than ‘The Jerk’? No.

And my cure…..

These pics I took of Carlos Santana. He was  a pleasure to photograph and I’m wild about what we came up with.

Am I tooting my own horn? I can live with that.