Posts Tagged pet photographer Cumbria

How to Take Photographs of Pastoral Dogs

During my experience of photographing dogs taking part in agility and fly ball at The Kennel Club Award Winning K9 Academy I have found that the Pastoral Dogs particularly the Collies can be quite challenging to capture in action because of the speed involved. So try out these photography techniques when photographing your Pastoral Agility Dogs:

  • Try to pre-empt the movement of your dog and position yourself in a suitable place
  • Set your camera to a fast shutter speed of 1/1000 of a second or Sports Mode to try and take photographs of your dog frozen mid motion
  • Prepare to take a fast succession of photographs by setting your camera to continuous shooting mode
  • Whilst taking photographs quickly try not to crop out the end of your dogs tail or tips of the ears

Debs Dog Photos Flyball          Debbie Whitfield Dog Agility Photographer          Dog Agility Photographer Debbie Whitfield

Dog Breeds in the Pastoral Dog Group such as the Border Collie, Corgi and Old English Sheep Dog were originally associated with guarding, droving and herding cattle, sheep, reindeer and other cloven-footed animals. Whilst these breeds of dogs are often kept as domestic pets nowadays they are still likely to show the genetic instincts of stock management.

To capture pet photographs of your Pastoral Dogs showing their natural traits such as stalking and herding:

  • Take your Pastoral Dog to a countryside location
  • Position your Pastoral Dog with a picturesque backdrop
  • Keep your dog on a lead in the countryside if they are not used to being around livestock
  • Shoot wide angle to incorporate a wide field of view into your pet portraits
  • Use a narrow aperture such as f16-f22 or landscape mode on your camera

Sheepdog Stalking in Snow

To create a rustic country feel and enhance your Pastoral Dog photographic pet portraits use props such as bales of hay, cartwheels, milk churns and antique suitcases, preferably in an outdoor setting such as a garden or field.

  • Position rustic props carefully against a suitable background
  • Groom your dog so that he/she is looking their best before dog photography
  • Sit your dog in front of the props to create an interesting composition
  • Kneel down to your dogs eye level and try to gain direct eye contact
  • Don’t use flash as this might startle your dog – but use good natural light instead

Dog Photographer debsdogphotos Cumbria

The best known of the Pastoral Dogs is probably the versatile German Shepherd Dog which is trained by police and military across the world and is often used as a Guide Dog for the Blind.

Pet Portrait Debbie Whitfield

I hope you enjoy trying out some of these photography ideas with your Pastoral Dogs – this is the 3rd in my series of Blogs about photographing all of the Kennel Club dog breed groups. Click Here to read about Gundog Photography, Click Here to read about Hound Dog Photography Hints & Tips and watch this space in the next few weeks for Terriers, Toy, Utility and Working Dog Groups!

Please feel free to leave a comment and share this article

Click Here to receive a Free Printable PDF Pocket Guide which accompanies this article and includes an Equipment Checklist, a Shot List and a Checklist for preparing yourself and your Pastoral Dogs for a photography shoot.


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Hints and Tips for Successful Hound Dog Photography

The Hound Dog Breeds are a very diverse group ranging from the tall elegant Afghan Hound to the short legged Miniature Dachshund with many more shapes and sizes in between.

Hound Dogs usually make reliable pets but were originally hunting dogs so may show instinctual hunting behaviour. Scent Hounds such as the Bloodhound and Foxhound have a keen sense of smell and are study and tough. Sight Hounds like the Whippet and Greyhound have incredibly sharp sight and are sleek and speedy, whilst the Spitz Hounds including the Basenji and Finnish Spitz have a strong combination of both scent and sight.

Debbie Whitfield

All hounds enjoy outdoor activity and natural light creates the best light for dog photography so choose a fine day to take your hound dog into a garden, local park or countryside and try out these ideas to take some great pet photographs of your dog(s):

    1. Always groom your Hound dog(s) to make sure they are looking their best before you take their photo
    2. Switch of your flash – make sure your dog is positioned in good natural light
    3. Kneel down to a position whereby you are level with your dog’s eye line
    4. If possible gain direct eye contact with your dog whilst you take their picture
    5. Take photos of your dog in different positions – sitting, standing, lying down

Puppy Photographer Debbie Whitfield

The sleek long nose of a Whippet or Greyhound makes a particularly good profile shot. To capture an interesting profile head shot of your Hound Dog:

  1. Position your dog looking to one side
  2. Zoom in with your lens
  3. Fill the viewfinder with your dogs head (be careful not to cut off tips of ears)
  4. Use a wide aperture such as f 5.6 (or portrait mode on your camera)
  5. Make sure your dog’s eyes are in focus

Debs Dog Photos

Hound Dogs are usually very active and capable of running at rocket speed with outstanding stamina so are good at agility, racing and hunting. To capture creative pet photographs of your Hound dog in action:

  1. Try to anticipate your dogs movement and where to point your camera
  2. Position yourself safely with your camera pointing in the right direction
  3. Use a fast shutter speed of at least 1/500th second (or sports mode) to freeze action
  4. Use continuous shooting mode to capture a sequence of action photographs

Deb's dog Photos

I hope you enjoy trying out these Dog Photography Hints and Tips with Your Hound Dogs – this is the 2nd Blog in my Series of Dog Photography Hints and Tips, Click Here to read about Gundog Photography Ideas and Watch This Space in the Next Few Weeks for the Pastoral, Terriers, Toy, Utility and Working Dog Groups!

Click Here to receive a Free Printable PDF Pocket Guide which accompanies this article – including an Equipment Checklist, Shot List and Checklist for Preparing for Your Hound Dog Photo Shoot!

Please feel free to leave a comment below and/or share if you enjoyed this Blog

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Hints & Tips for Successful Gundog Photography

Retrievers, Spaniels, Hunt/Point/Retrieve, Pointers and Setters are the four recognised categories of Gundog Breeds. As the Labrador Retriever is the most popular pet dog in the UK the majority of companion dogs in the country are Gundogs. With a wide variety of all shapes and sizes throughout the different breeds the one thing all Gundogs have in common is the need for regular outdoor activity. This creates a perfect scenario for capturing stunning outdoor pet portraits surrounded by the natural environment.

Debbie Whitfield Pet Photographer

There are a variety of stunning outdoor locations to be considered when planning to capture Gundog pet portraits. Depending on the time of year seasonal scenery can range from lovely lilac heather moorlands, blankets of orange leaves in Autumn, snow covered patchwork fields in Winter or a sheltered sandy beach in summer. Seasonal landscapes such as these can set the scene to create stunning backdrops for your pet photographs. To successfully incorporate seasonal landscapes into your pet photography:

  1. Positioning your Gundog in a suitable location
  2. Use a wide angle lens
  3. Choose  a narrow aperture such as f16 – f22 (or landscape mode)
  4. Capture an expansive background behind your dog

Rolling countryside, waves lapping a sweeping shoreline or a majestic mountain range are ideal settings for your dog photographs however, If you are unable to access the countryside for any reason summer blooms or flowering spring bulbs in your garden or local park can also create an eye catching backdrop for your Gundog photography.

To capture attractive close ups photographs of your gundogs:

  1. Positions your dog in front of evergreen foliage, flowering shrubs or summer blooms
  2. Kneel down to a position where you are level with your Gundog’s eye line
  3. Zoom in with your lens to fill the frame with your dogs head (be careful not to crop out the tips of the ears)
  4. Select a wide aperture such as f 5.6 (or portrait mode on your camera)
  5. Create shallow depth of field to blur the background slightly

Debbie Whitfield Dog Photographer

Capture creative images of working Gundogs showing natural behaviour traits of hunting and retrieving by using a fast shutter speed of least 1/500 of a second to freeze their actions – be prepared to hit the shutter button quickly as capturing unexpected behaviour often creates unusual and amusing pet photographs.


Part of the reason Gundogs are very popular pet dogs is that they are usually very loyal and affectionate to their owners. Pet photographs showing dog and owner together can be a powerful way to show this strong bond. To capture photographs of pets and owners together:

  • Try setting the timer on your camera to allow yourself time to move into position beside your dog(s)
  • Ask a friend to oblige by taking the picture
  • Commission a professional pet photographer to capture such a special moment

Debs Dog Photos

 Always avoid using flash when capturing dog photographs as firing a flash not only creates the potential problem of startling your dog but also forms a strange green glow in their eyes (the equivalent to red eye in humans).

I hope you enjoy trying out some of these pet photography ideas with your Gundogs whether they are Retrievers, Spaniels, Hunt/Point/Retrieve, Pointers and Setters and ultimately capture keepsakes of your special pet to treasure forever. If you found this article useful please feel free to share it and leave a comment below. Click Here to receive a FREE Printable PDF Pocket Guide which accompanies this article – including an Equipment Checklist, Shot List, and Checklist for Preparing Yourself and Your Gundog for a Photo Shoot!

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The Benefits of Pet Friendly Business

It is not surprising that Keswick, Cumbria was recently recognised as the best dog friendly town in the UK. Keswick was the Winner of the Town/City Category of ” Be Dog Friendly Awards” a Kennel Club initiative to encourage non pet businesses and public places to be more dog friendly. There are not only plenty of great locations for dog walks with stunning scenery (and fabulous photo opportunities) in Keswick but also lots of dog friendly accommodation, shops and pubs, with water bowls often available on the town centre streets for thirsty dogs.



Pet Friendly Keswick

The benefits of dog friendly public places include increased social interaction (dogs owners often stop and chat together )thus creating a friendly atmosphere and not forgetting the business benefits of accommodating the estimated 8 million dog owners in the UK to a town centre whereby trade will consequently improve. If you run a businesses such as a pub, hotel, cafe or shop in the UK you could not only benefit from increased trade by welcoming dogs and their owners to your premises but by being a dog friendly workplace studies have shown that your business could prosper with reduced stress levels, increased attendance and improved moral of your staff .

On the other side of the fence It is important to be a responsible pet owner and ensure dogs are toilet trained and able to sit, stay, be recalled and are well controlled in food serving premises. The Kennel Club encourages “Petiquette” practical tips for pet owners to ensure their pet is welcome in pet friendly businesses and public places – for more information see

Debbie Whitfield is a professional pet photographer in Cumbria and owner of Maggie the Red and White Border Collie. Click here to find out more about Debbie.

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Using a Wide Angle Lens for Pet Photography

Hi I’m Maggie and I live in Cumbria with Deb who is a pet photographer – she recently took me for a walk around Derwentwater, Keswick in the English Lake District. As you can see Deb composed this pet photograph with a wide angle lens by positioning me on a rock in the foreground, with the still water of Derwentwater and sailing boats in the middle distance and the Cumbrian mountains in the background. A standard zoom wide angle or short lens (around 18mm-55mm) is sometimes called a kit lens as it usually comes with a camera purchase. It can create a wide field of view and give a sense of distance with depth of field so is often used for landscape photography, but can also be used successfully for pet portrait photography. When composing a pet photograph with a wide angle lens you can create a sense of distance by including a strong foreground feature, an interesting subject in the middle distance and a scenic background. You will also notice Deb composed the photograph with me looking into the scene (rather than to the edge of the photo) to draw the eye of the viewer around the stunning scenery.

Debs Dog PhotosTry out this pet photography technique to capture compelling photography of your pet in their favourite location. “Woof Woof!” Speak Soon – Maggie

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Pet Photography Hints & Tips to Capture Photos of Your Pet’s Playing

Today my puppy pal Bobby came to play and Deb took some pet photographs of us! Bobby is a Border Collie Dog and lives in Cumbria too, but he’s a bit younger than me and as you can see he has black, white and brown hair, (I think it’s called tri coloured) not red and white like me . We had a great time chasing each other around the garden. Sometimes we did high flying judo moves in mid air and sometimes we played hide and seek. I played a joke on Bobby and pretended I was dead just so that I could jump up and catch him! Deb laid down on the grass too I thought she wanted to play but she was doing her pet photography! It is a good idea to lie/kneel down to your dogs level and focus on their eyes using a fast shutter speed (or sports mode on your compact) to capture a good photos of them playing.

pet photography by Debbie Whitfield  IMG_2067  


Debs Dog Photos Cumbria

Speak Soon Woof! Woof!  Maggie

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Hints and Tips to Improve Pet Photography Composition

Deb my mum is a pet photographer in Cumbria and we thought you might like to know how she composes pet photographs to make them interesting so that maybe you can try to take some creative photographs of your own pet.

Whilst capturing pet photography Deb usually places me or my face (the main focal point of the photograph) off centre to create an interesting composition. Imagine two vertical lines and two horizontal lines across your camera viewfinder when composing your shot and place your focal point where the lines cross, like this –

Pet Photography Cumbria

As you will notice Deb has placed my eyes were the lines intersect with my nose on the vertical line to create a pleasing composition.

Sometimes she uses landscape format placing the longest side of the photograph at the bottom of the frame, like this –


Landscape Format

Sometimes she chooses portrait format by turning her camera so that the longest side of the image is vertical, just like this –


Portrait Format

Experiment with both to see which works best for your pet portraits.

By capturing wide angle shots (standing back and setting her lens as wide as possible) Deb captures photographs of me with an interesting background to create a sense of space and set the scene. As I am a Red and White Border Collie Dog and I like to stalk sheep , so Deb captured a wide angle shot to show one of my behaviour traits. In Cumbria there are lovely landscape scenes which Deb uses as a backdrop for wide angle shots but you could practice this pet photography technique in your garden or local park.

Border Collie Dog Stalking Sheep

Wide Angle Composition

She also captures close ups of me by zooming in and/or standing close when composing her photo to show finer details like my yellow eyes and red fur off well.

          Red and White Border Collie Dog

          Close Up Composition

I hope you will enjoy trying out these pet photography composition techniques.

Have a look at some of Deb’s pet photo galleries

Speak Soon Woof! Woof ! Maggie

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How to Improve Your Pet Photography with Maggie

Deb took me to some ancient English Woodlands in Cumbria today to do some pet photography as she is a pet photographer. She told me to “Sit” (I know what that word means now) in some attractive flowers amongst the undergrowth of the trees whilst she kneeled down to capture some pet photographs of me.

Deb's Dog Photos

It was much more fun to run around the tree trunks so Deb took some photographs of me running, jumping and carrying a big stick, this was a bit more difficult for her. Deb needed to select a fast shutter speed to capture some photographs of me frozen in motion – she had to use a fast shutter speed of more than 1/500 of a second.

17   Debbie Whitfield Pet Photographer Cumbria   Dog Photography

Then Deb zoomed in with her telephoto lens to capture some headshots of me. I’ve got piercing yellow eyes which contrast with my red coat as I’m a Red and White Border Collie Dog.

Pet Photographer Cumbria

Take your dog to a scenic location or even your garden if you have one and capture photographs of them in lots of different poses and positions to create an interesting portfolio of pet photographs – try lots of different shutter speeds or select Sports/Action Mode on your compact camera to capture photographs of your pet running. Remember the more you practice the more you will improve your pet photography ! Speak Soon “Woof Woof” Maggie

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Maggie’s Seaside Sillouette Pet Photography

This evening I had my first visit to the seaside at Allonby, Cumbria whilst Deb captured some silhouette photography. The sun was setting low in the sky just  above the Scottish fells across the Estuary of the Solway Firth.  Ripples and tidal patterns formed as the sea gently lapped the sand, well that was before I started splashing around in it! It was fun paddling in the water but my coat got very wet and I needed to violently shake all of the sea water and sand off myself and onto Deb and Bev!

sunset, Allonby, Cumbria    silhouette photography, cumbria

Deb captured some stunning silhouettes with the sunset in the background – when you take photographs directly into a sunset your camera creates silhouettes as it underexposes the subject in front of the bright sun light.

Debs Dog Photos, pet photographer Cumbria

Speak Soon – Woof! Woof! Maggie

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Maggie’s Dog Photography Moments

My fluffy red fur has transformed into luscious long hair and my tail has become bushy with a white tip. I arrived here at Orton Rigg Farm, nr Carlisle, Cumbria on 21st February 2015, I’m not a fox but as you can see from my photographs I’m a Red and White Border Collie pup called Maggie!

pet photography Cumbria

I’ve got lots of places to explore and play – there’s the garden, a few fields and even a little wood with lots of trees! The garden is just great for digging holes and they (the humans who look after me) provide flowers for me to dig up and eat – so kind of them! They also peg brightly coloured laundry up on a line for me to jump up at and pull down to the ground!

Deb's dog photosBorder Collie Dog  Red and White Border Collie

At a certain corner of the garden , Deb (one of my humans) sometimes talks to another (invisible) dog called Boy and tears roll down her cheeks, she also throws balls around for me to catch but I prefer to try and catch the birds out of the sky! The swallows dive low into the garden but I have never caught one yet because they fly very fast ! Deb is a pet photographer (I don’t really know what that means), but she always has a black machine strapped around her neck which she sometimes points and clicks at me !? Woof! Woof!  Maggie

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