dog photography emotion

A few words of advice for choosing a photographer.

You have decided you would like to have some professional photographs taken of your dog and possibly you as well. Where do you start?

The obvious place is the internet and there will be a lot of photographers out there so which one is right for you? What do you need to know about the photographer or the company before you book and spend your money?

Their images are the obvious place to start but how do you know the images they have on display on hteir web site and social media are even theirs? You need to get to know your photographer in order to make an informed decision. Now, there are lots of photographers in the UK, but how do you know which photographer is right for you? How do you decode all of their claims? How do you know if they are any good?

Here are six top tips.

  1. What does Award Winning Photographer mean?

Lots of photographers have won awards. They may have won an award last week for winning the ‘dads’ race’ at the school sports day. Obviously, that recent award is not relevant to photography, so, your ‘award winning’ photographer needs an award that’s relevant to your requirements. The photographer may have won an award for wedding photography, that is not much use to you if you require great dog photography, in addition because styles are continually changing an award-winning style from 5 years ago could look very old fashioned today. So, ask the photographer when they won their awards and what were the awards for. Have a conversation with the photographer, meet with them in person in a coffee shop so you get to know them and what they can do.

2. Price

As with everything in life ‘you get what you pay for’. Don’t simply buy on price. Bad photography can ruin your images, make your dog look awful and worst of all, show you and your dog in a bad way. At the time of writing (2019) a good dog photographer will be charging about £75 - £95 for an hour session, there may or may not be any included prints however, always ask for a price list for all the print and canvas sizes plus any additional products, then there are no nasty surprises. Make sure the photographer is open and clear up front about the money involved.

3. Insurance

Please make sure that your photographer has both Public Liability insurance and Professional Indemnity insurance. Do not use anyone who does not have insurance.

4. Consistency

It is very easy for anyone to put their best twenty dog portraits shots on to a web site. However, those top twenty pictures may have taken ten years accrue. You need someone who is able to deliver top quality images time after time. If you choose a photographer to shoot 20 different shots of your dog in a one hour session, they all have to be top quality. Ask to see a complete shoot from a previous client.

5. Testimonials

Don’t rely on the photographers’ web site for testimonials. They could be made up. If you are on social media, have a look on their Facebook page, you can then message the person giving the testimonial, to check it out.

6. What does being a member of a Professional Body indicate?

Some Photographers are Members of a Professional Body, the organisations have names like BIPP, MPA, SWPP, AOP. They also have a qualification process. The three main qualifications are Licentiateship, Associateship and Fellowship. These are quite old-fashioned names that indicate the level of competency the photographer has reached within the organisation.

·     Licentiateship - Entry level qualification, showing an established professional level of skill and competence

·     Associateship - A high standard of craftsmanship and creative ability

·     Fellowship - Attainable for distinguished and exceptional ability and creativity

However, some fantastic photographers do not belong to these organisations or have decided not to gain qualifications beyond Licentiateship.

Conclusion - follow your instincts, don't go for the cheapest, look for good testimonials on social media and ask to see a full portfolio of work.

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.