dog photography blog

What to do on a wet Monday?

What to do on a wet Monday?

Look at photographs of dogs in the rain! I just love dogs attitude to rain, most of them just do not care, some are not quite as sure but I love being out in the rain with my dogs and quite strangely I love working out in the rain photographing dogs.

All it needs is the right clothing so we are warm and dry, make sure the dog is having a great time and we are all set!

Many dogs enjoy getting wet, this image is a great example of that…

Spaniel jumping into water

Now you might say this is not fair because this was taken in a sunny day so the dogs owner and I were still in the warm sun and the dog is choosing to jump in the water to get the ball and you would be right, the dog is happy and content to get wet to get the ball.

This dog would probably also do that in the pouring rain and the adverse weather would make for a very different looking shot that would have been atmospheric and moody, a very different look to the bright sparkle we see in the splash!

So even though it is a wet Monday, think of splashing through a country lane with your dog and your dog is having a great time and you are loving watching your dog have a great time.

You both know there is a warm and dry house waiting for you where you can dry off and that should mean you can really let go and enjoy the rain.

It can be very quiet when it is raining and time for reflection and though can allow us to realise we are ok, we are able to deal with life and we are loved and wanted, especially by our dog. Walking with your dog is the rain can be a great experience, having you and your dog photographed together having fun in the rain will be a very different and still a great experience that will produce some amazing images that will remind you of the time you and your dog were out in the rain having a great time together and this will make you smile.

Smiling is always a good thing, happy times and happy memories make us smile for years after the actual event has gone, that’s why I love creating images for you.

Exceeding expectations

It is about the whole dog photography experience not just part of it and meeting the expectations you set, preferably exceeding them so the client really has a WOW moment.

A recent commission is a good example of this. A lady bought her Mum one of our dog photography location experience vouchers for Christmas and her Mum booked the session for March and we have just completed the experience with the delivery of the prints and canvas she ordered.

The whole experience starts with the initial phone call to make the arrangements for the location setting and how you make the client feel at ease and how you set the expectations for the location. When I learned the location was to be inside a 12th Century village church I was intrigued and excited by the challenge this would pose as the light in an old church can be limited and I was determined to shoot only using the natural light available which would be limited.

As the church has a very special connection with my client, she arranged special permission from the vicar and we met up and drove to the church which is a truly beautiful building with some of the oldest pews in the country so we had real history and feellng in our location.

From a photographers point of view we were in a location the dog had never been in before, we had a nervous client who was hoping her dog would behave and a dog that was wondering what was going on.

This is where my 25 plus years experience as a dog behaviourist really comes into its own as I can easily direct the client how to behave and interact with the dog and I know how to get the dogs attention without over exciting the dog so we get the most natural expression from the dog.

We were in the church for over an hour, the light was lovely, the dog was amazing and the images were beautiful. Throughout the whole experience I made sure the client was happy, I was showing her images on the back of the camera as we went, I was making sure the dog was happy and the hour soon flew by.

I went back to show my client the images on her laptop and she loved them and ordered several prints and canvas. She was very impressed with the look of the photographs in her laptop and I took the opportunity to suggest she will love them even more in print.

There is no comparison and nothing can prepare the client for the first look at the printed image, the quality of the fine art print paper we use is of the highest available, the mounting card is of the highest quality and the wrapping is applied by hand. The ink used in the printing process is giclee, the finest fine art ink that remains printed fresh for many years because my client is investing in quality, not just in the images but in me, the photographer.

From happy clients who appreciate your work and the quality of your service referrals will come and your name will spread. I love what I do, I love photography and I love dogs and this passion delights my clients. My knowledge of dog behaviour gives them security and reassurance that their dog will enjoy the experience as much as they will.

This is just one of the images my client ordered as a fine art print:

Bichon Frise in a church

when a dog loves a woman...

A slight variation from the song title by Michael Bolton but very true in this case as you will see from the photograph. We all have a strong connection and bond with our dogs but some have a depth to that connection that is extraordinary. This is such a story and how I was able to photograph the dog and his owner

I ran a dog photography competition, this is something I do quite frequently and my dog photography competitions always have a prize worth winning so they generate a lot of interest.

I always read carefully the entries and each one gets a personal reply. It can be emotional reading the things people have been through with their dogs and some stories are quite a tough read.

I extend an offer to all entrants to come to the studio for a photography session with their dog and this owner took me up on it.

I won’t divulge details of her story but she has been through some very tough times and she is convinced her dog played a huge part in getting her through into a much better place.

When I photograph dogs and their owners, I am not just looking for nicely posed shots. These are always nice to have and lovely to show the owners after their studio session but I really like to capture images that truly capture the deep connection.

The photograph is a crop of the original as the owner and the dog are gazing at each other and I don’t reveal owners faces unless I have their permission.

This image is a very powerful one for me, look at the dogs foot and claws, he is holding on to her, something he has done a lot of during their life together.

dog and owner Hi 5-1497.jpg

The connection is so obvious, this is what I look for in my dog photography. I don’t have to see the dog or the owners face, the connection is there to see, in the studio you could feel the charge of love as they connected and it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, a truly magical moment I was delighted to record.

I showed the owner the photographs today and she had to choose from 30. This was one she didn’t select today, the photographs she did select were of her and her dog and the photographs she chose are stunning.

To help her make a choice, I explained which were my favourites and why and this helped make her choice. These images will be transformed into stunning canvas and fine art prints that will be beautiful.

Bond, connection, love...

When you discuss the connection and the bond between an owner and their dog we all have our own ideas of what that looks like, how it is expressed and what it feels like. If you have a dog, you will have your own experinces of what makes a strong bond, or connection and how that demonstrates the love you share with your dog.

It is those moments we share with our dog that develop and strengthen our bond, those shared experiences that bring us closer together.

We can all recollect our favourite holiday with our dog or our favourite day trip or road trip to a new and exciting destination.

When photographing dogs, either in the studio or on location, I get asked a very common question:

Can you make sure you capture the dogs character?

That usually means the dog is doing something they really enjoy so their face is full of interest and life. I make sure I do take these style of photographs because the client has asked me to but they are missing a huge opportunity to capture a level of expression and character and this is the one they see with their dog because it involves the dog looking at them.

You are your dogs world and they live their life for you so what better way to capture and demonstrate their character than like this…..

Bruce the pug-0700.jpg

You see, this image is not capturing the dogs face because he is not looking at the camera, he is looking at his world. Of course it is nice for us to see the dog looking at the camera and the owner in this image chose an image with that as their pose.

For me this is a more powerful statement because it is a moment they are sharing together, sharing their bond, their connection and their love.

There are many other photographs I took during this session and I like many of them but it is this one that moves me the most as it is so special because it captures so very well the love the owner and dog share and they joy that brings both of them.

Everyone will have a different favourite photograph because we all see things slightly differently but there can be no mistaking the emotion captured in this photograph.

A good photograph will trigger a memory of the moment the photograph was taken and that memory will trigger an emotional memory that will remind you how you were feeling when the photograph was taken.

I will remember taking this photograph and the others from the session because I remember the emotion and the love these two shared.

Making dogs look beautiful

As a professional dog photographer, I specialise in making dogs look beautiful so it made sense when Leicester Dog Grooming asked me to take photographs of dogs they are also making look beautiful so they can share the images on their social media channels and on their web site.

We went across to Billesdon and set up a nice and simple two light approach as you can see.

IMG_7013.JPG

It is always interesting to show you the set up and the location so you can see the challenges we face sometimes on a location shoot. A groomers is a busy place and can be noisy which adds to the challenge of getting a nice expression from the dog. This is one of the shots that we took…

Dog owners want their dogs to look beautiful and they want the groomer to make sure that happens and this makes it easier for the photographer to make a beautiful image when the dog looks her best.

The environment and setting is a challenge but it is something over which we have no control, all we can control is the lighting which was on low power and very close to the dog so we get a lovely soft and warm light which perfectly compliments the colours in the dogs freshly groomed coat.

These are just two of he images we took on the day and show different dogs but looking beautiful, fresh from the groomers table, looking and smelling wonderful.

Look out for the images on social media and their web site.

First time in the studio...

What do you do when a dog has never been in a dog photography studio before, he has no idea what is going on and has never seen a flash before? How do you get a good photograph let alone one that will WOW his owner?

This is where my extensive experience as a dog behaviourist really comes into its own as I can understand the body language the dog is showing me and I can help the owners understand their dog and how he is reacting and they can stay relaxed. It is the combination of understanding the dog and helping the owners that helps the dog relax very quickly and feel confident enough to show off his character.

It is the character of the dog that must shine through in the photograph as that is what the owner and the viewer want to see, that draws the viewer in to the photograph and makes them stop a little longer to take in the view!

As part of the settling in process in our studio, we allow the dog to run free and explore the studio and whilst we are doing this we fire the flashes. The burst of light and the sounds the flashes make can startle a dog initially but with sufficient repetition they soon relax and ignore the lights and sounds.

This is Bruce, a three year old Pug who had never been in a dog photography studio before and who was very wary when he first came in.

His owner was just as worried as she thought he would be a nightmare, wouldn’t sit still and would cock his leg up on everything.

She wanted photographs of Bruce on his own and with her which is always a challenge but it something we are used to working through to produce our usual high standard of images.

The photograph above was achieved without treats or toys, Bruce just really got into the whole role of being a model and he just loved performing for the camera.

For a complete beginner he certainly learned fast and found this is something he can really do and, pardon the expression, get his teeth into!

He loved the studio, he loved the lights and he loved posing. His owner loved the whole studio experience and this is what she said in a follow up email when I asked her if she enjoyed it:

“Oh Saturday was just brilliant- Bruce really surprised me at how much he was posing, he really enjoyed it!”

This is what you get when you and your dog come for a dog photography studio experience, we all have a great deal of fun and I make lots of silly noises whilst behind the camera so we get really great expressions from the dog.

The hour soon flies by and by the end of the session we will have taken between 200 and 250 images. These are sorted after the shoot and we choose around 30 to edit, process and then we come to your house to show you our work and this is where you can order the images you love.

Our job is to make choosing as difficult as possible by presenting you with 30 images that you will love so much you will want to buy them all!

We love photographing dogs in our studio, we love photographing dogs on location and we make sure we do our best to help you have the best experience possible.


Our performing dog artists

What a day we had in the studio with three amazing performing dog artists. I have worked with many trained dogs over the years but these three are simply something else as is their owner and trainer Lucy Creek.

Capturing dog expressions can really help advertising engage with more people but a dog that can really capture the attention by an action or pose is even more valuable and these dogs are more than capable of adding real engagement value to your products or services advertising and marketing materials.

Working in our Coalville studio, just a few minutes from junction 22 of the M1 we are ideally placed to meet your advertising and marketing needs.

All it takes is a phone call to 01530 242209 to start a conversation which will let the ideas grow and develop into the images you want and your audience will love.

Just two of our performing dog artists owned and trained by Lucy Creek