Shooting K9 Charity Calendar Photos for the Waterloo Police

The classic cop story: a devious crime, a detailed investigation, an exciting high-speed chase, an intense interrogation, a news conference with flashing popping as the police show off their impressive bust… except this one involves more drool, flying fur, and a gruesome pile of bones — dog bones, that is.

The Waterloo Region Police approached me with a very unique task: to create a kickass K9 Calendar to raise serious funds for Special Olympics Ontario. I needed to keep the guns to a minimum and limit the donut jokes, but apart from that, I was free to do as I liked with the project.

It’s rare to be given create carte-blanche on an assignment, so I put my thinking cap on. I could keep things simple — a dozen ‘hero dog’ photos at locations around the Waterloo region, shot from below to make our K9s look mighty? Naah – too easy!

How about highlighting the dogs’ unique talents of tracking down missing people and suspects? Hmm… getting warmer.

Maybe I can get my dog into the photos somehow? True to character, maybe she can be a criminal?

Got it! Photograph iconic police movie scenes as a 12 image story where the dogs are the cops and incorporate as many humorous doggy and police stereotypes as possible. Now this was a cool idea!

The images I wanted to create were really specific and I had to be sure that I wasn’t taking up too much time of the in-demand police pups, so I needed to plan these photos out in a big way. My drawing skills don’t compare to my Photoshop skills, so with the inspiration of Brooklyn 99 reruns, I morphed hundreds of objects into each month’s mockup, paying special attention to perspective, storytelling, and where each subject would be placed.

As I specialize in photographing animals, I wanted to incorporate little jokes that dog owners would get — a police chase through an agility course, chewed up pencils, barking at a squirrel up a tree, hiding bones in a big hole.

With the Chief’s rubber stamp, we were off to the races. Location scouting, prop sourcing, and dog trick training – I needed those guilty criminal dog eyes on cue!

The commanding inspector, inquisitive detective, goofy desk officer, good cop, bad cop and a pointed hot pursuit, the K9 unit dogs and their handlers were great sports and models, pulling off dynamic expressions like pros.

From a pet store crime scene to patrolling Waterloo Region in a vintage cruiser, this calendar tells the story of Ranger, Grim, Chase, and Tracker, as they work to solve a case of stolen dog bones – with a little help from their two-legged handlers.

P.S. You can purchase your copy of the calendar here to help support the Special Olympics.

About the author: Jason Krygier-Baum is an animal photographer based in Ontario, Canada. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Krygier-Baum’s work on his website, Facebook, and Instagram. This article was also published here.

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