dog photography studio

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.

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.


Why Beagles are great in the dog photography studio?

Why are Beagles great in the dog photography studio?

Because they are Beagles! Beagles are strong minded, wilful, determined, mischevieous and full of character.

Even at 13 years old as our model is. Their colours, their face, their eyes all help to draw you in to the portrait, to hold your attention and captivate!

Beagles tend to have fine temperament and are steady by nature so they can cope with the noises and flashes in the studio and they love having their photograph taken.

Beagles are fun to be around and if the mood in the dog is fun and happy, that lifts the mood of everyone in the studio and makes photographing the dog so much fun and if the Beagle is having fun that shines through in the beautiful portrait we create.

Beagles love to perform and to be the centre of attention, some would say they like attention too much and become very good at getting it!

Beagles love to scent and can get carried away when a strong smell wafts across their nose and we all know what a Beagle sounds like when in full scent following mode, that is a sound to wake everyone up!

Beagles were used to hunt hare because of their fine sense of smell and their remarkable stamina, this means however if your Beagle takes off on a scent, he isn’t going to get tired and will take some finding.

Beagles make superb pets and due to their compact size, they are easy to live with and are very trainable which s a great help when they are in the studio having their dog portraits created.

Beagles are lovely to be around, they are social, love a good fuss and want to help and they want to please and this is a real asset.

Frank is a Frug who has style...

Frank is a Frug, a French bulldog cross Pug and he has a favourite walking essential, his Julius K9 harness.

Frank loves it because it is very smart and he thinks he looks great in it, who are we to disagree?

Comfort and safety are very important to Frank so as he takes his daily exercise he knows he is smart and safe.

Frank is one of our dog actors and models and he loves to work in front of the camera, we use Bowen lights, Canon cameras and lenses to create the most engaging images for our clients. We are based near Leicester in the centre of the UK and we specialise in commercial dog photography and creating images that truly engage the viewer which only enhances their perception of the service, product or brand the image is promoting.

Frank is so happy working n the studio, off camera are other dog actors and dog models from our team just relaxing and waiting their turn to work on their project.

We love Franks expression in this photograph as he just looks so relaxed and cool, he is a dude which is a good reflection and a positive association for the Julius K9 harness he is modelling.