• Pets and people category winner in the 2015 Your Pets in Focus Photo Competition

    Pets and people category winner in the 2015 Your Pets in Focus Photo Competition (Photo: Alicia Erskine)

Choosing winners for a pets photo competition is a hard job, but someone's gotta do it. So it was that three photo judges gathered at Canadian Geographic headquarters to sift through hundreds of adorable pictures of pets from across Canada, and determine the winners of the 2015 Your Pets in Focus Photo Competition.

While the process was indeed enjoyable, it produced some difficult decisions. The judges' comments on the winning photos are below, as contributed by freelance pet photographer Lynda Graveline (LG), as well as Canadian Geographic's art director Javier Frutos (JFr) and photo editor Jessica Finn (JFi).

Click on each image to enlarge, and explore the runner-up and honourable mention images at pets15.canadiangeographic.ca.

Pet Portraits

Pet portraits category winner (Photo: Genevieve Lacombe)

LG: This image is really well shot. I liked the soft lighting and the composition of the image but what I really loved was how well the colours worked together. Great photo.

JFi: Clean and crisp is the only way a portrait should be — and this one does both well. But the combination of the dog's expression, cool and calm colour palette and moody skies made this photo a real winner with the judges.

JFr: Beautiful composition and colour balance. Shooting lower to the floor gives the dog and wood trunk (the only vertical elements on this photo) the main attention point and makes them the primary object, while the landscape works as the perfect backdrop.

Pets and People

Pets and people category winner (Photo: Alicia Erskine)

LG: I love the ruggedness of this photo. You can really see the connection they have with the dog, the time they spend together, and the adventures they go on. The back lighting and leading lines makes me wonder what the next adventure will be.

JFi: Perhaps unbeknownst to the viewer, there's a lot happening in this photo. Subtle leading lines, a nicely balanced composition and gentle backlighting really helped capture this intimate moment.

JFr: Great capture! I like how this low angle shot captures the bond and tells a story between the dog and its owners, while leaving just enough to the imagination.

Pet Babies

Pet babies category winner (Photo: Wendy Erlendson)

LG: Adorable. This photo works very well in black and white and captures the texture and detail in the fur. This is the perfect example of the category 'Pet Babies', it doesn't get much cuter than that.

JFi: This is a precious moment. The catchlight in the cat's eyes help breathe life into the image.

JFr: The mother’s eye contact in contrast to the kitten’s closed eyes, plus the overall protective feel makes this photo a winner. In addition, the choice of a well balanced black and white photograph takes away any distraction, keeping the attention to composition, lighting and contrast.

Pets in Motion

Pets in motion category winner (Photo: Michelle Fernandes)

LG: The simplicity of this photo works well with the white on white and the single orange frisbee.

JFi: This is a great studio-style, stop-motion photograph. I can see this image working well in a magazine or calendar, complete with plenty of room for copy space.

JFr: The simplicity, composition and originality made this photograph stand out from the competition. Well balanced, soft colors and right shutter speed “froze” the action, almost wanting us to see what the dog’s going to do next.