Little Red Riding Hood
Before & After
It’s been almost a year since my fairy tale series of little Miss Maddie went viral around the world, and I still regularly get comments and questions on one image in particular. One image that, in every online poll I’ve seen about my series, always wins as the favorite image, hands down.
“Is that dog real?”
“Where did you find that image of the dog?”
“Oh my goodness, I love the wolf! How did you Photoshop it in so perfectly?”
When we started talking about the fairy tale session, especially the Little Red Riding Hood image, I knew we wanted a wolf in the shot. Of course, using a real wolf was out of the question, since 1-they are hard to find and 2-they aren’t exactly friendly.
Of course, Chloe isn’t a wolf. She’s a husky, an albino one at that, and was rescued by her family as a pup. She has two other canine siblings and a “big sister” named Emma, who just dotes on her! She is one of the sweetest dogs you will ever meet! Chloe had been in to the studio to visit me a couple of times in the weeks before the session was photographed, once even posing, quite patiently, for some holiday promotional shots I was doing. She was so well behaved and took direction SO well, and sprang to mind right away as we talked about finding a dog for the session. Leslie & Luke are her human parents, and they were excited when I asked Chloe to be part of our shoot, even though they had no idea what to expect!
The day of the session, we had planned to go to a local park and shoot at the edge of the woods. Mother Nature totally didn’t like this idea and gave us an all out snow storm instead! As we photographed the other images in the series, we debated about just shooting Little Red Riding Hood inside, even though we knew in our hearts that we wouldn’t be happy with the images. Finally, it was time to shoot this scene, and while Maddie was undergoing another outfit change to transform into Little Red Riding Hood, we went outside to check out the weather. Maddie’s parents were comfortable with taking her outside for a short while, since the buildings on my street blocked the wind, and it wasn’t super cold. We found a spot with as little “downtown life” in the background as possible, threw down a blanket, and hurried back inside.
When it was time to do the shot, I got into place (right in the middle of a big wet puddle), Leslie had Chloe stand in place, and Nicole brought Maddie out and sat her down.
The image that has become to incredibly popular is the very first shot I took. Maddie and Chloe looked at each other for a brief second, and then were both instantly distracted by the snow falling all around them and looked away. I took a few more shots, but neither would look at me, nor would they look at each other again. The snow was exciting and new, and before long, Chloe was bounding around the sidewalk, chasing snowflakes, and Maddie was cuddling up in her dad’s arms, watching the flakes fall in wonderment!
Now, anyone that knows me, knows that I really do not like Photoshop. My goal with each and every shot I take is to get everything as perfect in camera as possible. Of course, when life, and Mother Nature, throw you a curve ball, you work with what you have. The image, as great as the moment was, was far from perfect, with benches and trashcans and stoplights and lamp posts in the background. I dug in, removing hands, leashes, and collars, filling in the snow on the sidewalk, and turning posts into trees. I spent about 3 hours in Photoshop, transforming the things that were out of my control into a wintery forest scene. I’ve been told that the end result is nothing short of magical.
Here are Before and Afters, the original shot SOOC (straight out of camera), a cropped version, and the final, edited version. Looking at it now, I still see things I would change, but, like I said, I really don’t like Photoshop.
So, there you have it! Chloe, the dog that stole the shot! Please leave a comment for Chloe and her human parents to let them know how much you love it.
To check out the original blog post of Maddie and Chloe’s fairy tale session, visit http://wendiriggens.com/blog/lifestyle/once-upon-a-time-fairytale-baby-session-wendi-riggens-photography
To check out the follow up session we did for Maddie’s first birthday, visit