There are few things that people can agree on in life, but the cuteness of little kids and big dogs is a near certainty.
For decades, the world has gravitated towards the sweetness of these two subjects. Seeing an opening for optimal adorableness, photographer Andy Seliverstoff decided to bring them together in his outrageously precious photo book Little Kids and Their Big Dogs.
The St. Petersburg, Russia-based photographer put the book together after some of his photos elicited extremely enthusiastic reactions on Instagram. Now, those who are social media-savvy and the less computer literate alike can enjoy the infectious joy of these photos.
“The main goal of my photo shoots wasn’t just to create beautiful pictures, but to capture the interaction between the kids and dogs,” says Seliverstoff, 58. “This state of endless joy and mutual confidence has become the central idea of the Little Kids and Their Big Dogs book.”
The first snap of this photo series happened by chance.
“When good friends asked me to photograph their 2-year-old daughter, they showed up at the park with their Great Dane in tow,” he explains. “I was blown away by the relationship between little Alice and gigantic Sean, so I decided to incorporate him into the shoot.”
As a Great Dane owner himself for 20 years and a professional dog show photographer, Seliverstoff has developed his own style when it comes to working with canines, especially those of an impressive stature. To help create your own little kid and big dog memories, the photographer offered a few photo tips to PEOPLE.
Let things happen: It’s a great idea to have some ideas for staging your photo session, or to have some props, but don’t let that dictate the entire shoot. Some of my very best shots have been totally spontaneous moments.
Offer a distraction: At the photo shoot with Alexandra and her older Great Dane Zara, Alexandra wasn’t that interested in participating. But once her mom gave her a camera to photograph Zara, the chemistry changed entirely.
Don’t be high and mighty: Shooting kids and dogs means getting down to their level. Knee pads optional.
Safety comes first: If either a child or dog looks uncomfortable, don’t push things. Relationships are about respect.
Be aware of dogs’ natural boundaries: The kids in my photos might be hugging and kissing dogs, but that’s because they know them very well, and in many cases live with them. Don’t encourage such PDAs with an unfamiliar dog.
Be patient: Whether you’re parenting a kid, training a dog, or trying to take a photo of either – or both – you can’t be tense if you want great results. Relax, give everyone time to unwind, and then wait for the magic to happen.
Along with inspiring others, Seliverstoff created Little Kids and Their Big Dogs with a mantra in mind.
“In the end, I hope the book conveys this important message: Love for dogs and children makes people kinder,” the photographer says.