McGraw Photography Blog » Charlotte, NC | Pet & Dog Photography

McGraw Photography Blog bio picture

Ruby – Flower Power


Just the names triggers visions of beautiful, sparkling gems and a crimson wave of jewels. It was all too fitting to find a location just as awe-inspiring as Ruby’s name and Ruby’s unusual look. We were very lucky to stumble upon a gorgeous field of wildflowers just outside of Emerald Isle. The evening light was simply breathtaking and the flowers were dancing in the air like pink butterflies. Ruby, a rare white Boxer, was born to be photographed in such a stunning location.

I wanted to post this today because Ruby’s mom is recovering from surgery. I hope this brings a little brightness into her day!
Of course we had to have some play time mixed in with all that posing. Plus, what do you expect a dog to do in the fresh, cool sand?!?
Ruby fell in LOVE with my little squeaky ball. I understand she stole it and is still playing with it regularly!
The end.

Thank you, Ruby, for such a beautiful session. Take really good care of your mom over the next few weeks!

stephanie - OMG these are amazing!!!!!!!!!!!

Nicole Glazier - SARAH!! These photos are just beautiful! BEAUTIFUL! It was such a great surprise to get home from the hospital and see this post so soon!!! Thank you so much! xoxo!

Christina - Sarah, these pics are gorgeous! Beautiful dog, beautiful setting.

My New Diggs

I am beyond excited to finally share this post with you!

For months and months and months, I was tossing around the idea of renting a space so I could meet with clients, show them samples, go over their images, etc. You see, for the past few years, I’ve been taking my tiny laptop and lugging my huge samples to my clients’ houses and the whole process had been awkward and not-so-special for them. I’ve been displaying Canvases on kitchen floors and Coffee Table Albums on the breakfast bar between kids’ dinner plates – not the most ideal conditions. I really wanted a space where my client’s could see artwork on the walls and where I could offer them something to drink. So the search began.

I looked for several months before I found a place that would work for me. I finally settled on a Key-man office space on Catawba Ave. in Cornelius – basically an office suite that is divided into several smaller offices. My office shares a common entrance, restroom, and kitchen area with 5 other offices. The office itself is pretty small – just 10’x13′ – but it has everything I need. I have 24/7 access, plenty of natural light, and, most importantly, the ability to decorate the way I want!

When I moved into the space, it was a blank slate. It had hideous pale green walls that made me sick when mixed with the harsh overhead fluorescent lighting. Painting came first! I wanted the office to echo the colors found on my website so I went with a very pale grey color. It is almost white so it doesn’t take away from the artwork in the room.

The only decor I had for the space were my samples, a wood console/desk, and an acrylic chair. Everything else had to be purchased or made. Again, I wanted to echo my branding so I brought in a lot of warm, rustic texture with wood, linen, jute, and wicker. I contrasted this with cleaner mid-century modern lines found in the couch, coffee table, and TV storage. I am certainly not a designer and it’s not 100% complete, but I’m beyond happy with it so far!!! :)

This is basically the view as you walk in…

This is the view from the couch. When the curtains are drawn, my clients can view their slideshow and images on the TV. This is great for visualizing how their images will look as large artwork. It has helped them tremendously so far and is SO much better than the 13″ laptop I was using in the past.
Some of the things I love most about the space are the personal, little details. Because I started from scratch, many of the pieces of decor were either handmade or chosen just for this office.
For example, this shelf was handmade. My handy husband and I cut the wood to size, stained it, finished it and added the hardware. It holds the framed covers of the past two Lake Norman Currents Magazine pet issues as well as adorable cardboard animal cutouts I purchased from Macy’s in NYC while I was there for the Westminster Dog Show.
The coat hanger was also handmade and finished in the same manner as the shelving. I even busted out the drill and added the hooks myself!
My favorite handmade item is by far the coffee table. I saw this idea on Pinterest (my best friend as I was getting inspiration) and knew I had to make it. I purchased the mid-century modern legs from The top was purchased from Lowes, cut to my specs, and finished with the same stain as the shelves. I LOVE how it turned out and it adds a modern but warm twist to the room. I’m definitely going to make one for my home next!
Isn’t the wood/stain combo gorgeous?!
It’s so nice to be able to spread out the Coffee Table Albums on a table made just for them…
I found this little camera at HomeGoods and knew I had to have it right away. I mean, it’s a camera and it has a gorgeous wood base. Who could say no?
Another one of my favorite items is the “coconut tree” I found at Ikea. It’s actually growing out of the coconut and I just think that’s the coolest thing. I hope I don’t kill it.
More handmade shelves fill in the back corner of the room. These are great because I can easily display different types of artwork, switch them out on a regular basis, and not have to re-hang them if I pull them down to show clients. 
When I envisioned my office space, I KNEW I wanted a chalkboard wall. I KNEW I wanted my clients to be able to leave notes as they stopped by. This added way more work to the painting process but I absolutely love it! I can’t wait for it to get filled up! (One of my messages had to be blurred because the session is a surprise and the secret isn’t out yet!)
I had these bowls in storage and I happily came across them when I was looking for a container to hold the chalk. They fit the theme of the room perfectly and get the job done!
I love that I’ll always look at that wall and remember my wonderful 2- and 4-legged clients…
Another thing that I knew I wanted were some floating, shiny, white cabinets. Ikea saved the day and had EXACTLY what I was looking for. These fit perfectly in the room and offer wonderful, chic storage with plenty of room for the TV and samples.
I can’t emphasize how happy I am with my new office! I have a few more handmade details that I want to add – maybe a few more samples too – but overall, it has all come together perfectly. If you are ever up in the Cornelius or Lake Norman area and want to stop by, just give me a ring! I’d love to have you over! :)
If you have questions about my office, leave me a comment below! I’ll be happy to let you know where I got anything you see here!

Stephanie - Looks great, congrats!

Karla - Gorgeous, Sarah!!! Absolutely perfect!!!
Congratulations! : )

Colleen Byrd - Stunning and so cozy, love it… the chalkboard, the couch And the tissue box which will definitely be needed….so happy for u and hope to get to see it in person soon.

Peter Taylor - That looks very very nice. Your clients will feel very comfortable and relaxed while there! Well done and congrats!

admin - Thanks, everyone! Yes, Colleen, the tissues were a must-have! Not just for my clients but for me too! I’m such a crybaby!! :)

Mica - Looks awesome!! Great job!

Joan - You are just amazing! I’ve been looking around for space and you’ve already got one arranged for and decorated. Marvelous!!!

Charlotte Reeves - Oh Sarah – I am so happy for you! I can’t believe how awesomely this turned out! Love your style and that it ties in with your corporate identity so well. You’ve obviously thoroughly thought about each and every little addition and it really shows. Inspirational!

Ashlin - I LOVE everything!!! What type of wood an stain color/brand to you use? Also, is it a polyurethane finish? Satin?

admin - Ashlin, thank you so much! Gosh…it’s been a while. I think it was minwax in a walnut color. We then sealed it with several coats of polyacrylic in a satin finish. :)

Dog Fancy!

When I first started my photography business, one of my goals was to have an image published in a national magazine. At the time, my focus was architectural photography so my dreams revolved around being published in magazines such as Metropolitan Home, Dwell and Architectural Digest. As times have changed and my focus has solely become pet photography, my dream publications have also changed. Now I dream of being published in Dog Fancy, Bark Magazine, Modern Dog and others.

A couple months ago, one of my dreams became a reality. I got an email informing me that one of my submissions to Dog Fancy was accepted into the magazine and that it would be featured in the September issue. I was so excited when I received my copies in the mail! One of Boss’s pictures (see his blog post here) was the image they chose and I’m sure he is so proud to be featured on two pages in this national publication!

Boss’ mom even sent over a couple pictures of what the new-found fame has done to his self-image. I sure hope he can bounce back from this… BOL!

Karen - Wow, congrats!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am an inspiring pet photographer myself (just starting out last month) as a way to put my love of dogs and photography together.

What an accomplishment, you must be so proud! :-)

Stephanie - congrats, you deserve it!


I am simply blown away! As of me writing this, out of the 45 pets that I have photographed in the short time I have been volunteering at the Humane Society of Charlotte, only 5 are still available at the shelter! That means 40 of the cats and dogs have found furever homes! I hope that streak continues as I welcome a new group of adoptees to the blog.

Thank you to everyone that shares these images on Facebook (this should take you to the FB album if you want to share) and via email. That’s what really gets these animals in front of potential new fur-parents. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

For more information about your favorites, please contact the Humane Society of Charlotte.

For those that follow me on Facebook or Instagram know that I fell in love with little Max today. I saw him from a mile away – I just have a soft spot for black lab mix puppies. They all remind me of my Sadie. Max has the biggest legs and paws and should grow up to be a nice-sized boy. I wish I got to do a proper shoot with him as I only got this images as I was leaving. Well, maybe not. I really might have taken him home.

On a related note, yes, there are tons of puppies up at the Humane Society. However, they are so much easier to adopt out so my time is best spent on the older pups that may not get the attention they deserve. I really would like to spend a day photographing the puppies though. Hmmm…I might have to arrange that just for the sake of cuteness! :)