Posts Tagged pet photography
French Bulldogs are becoming more popular in UK than Labradors and smaller classic breeds such as the Yorkshire Terrier and Cocker Spaniel.
As a professional dog photographer I have frequently photographed French Bulldogs particularly at the Kennel Club Award Winning K9 Academy, North Shields so know how adorable and intelligent they can be. Their small statue, adorable appearance (Bat Ears, huge dark eyes and a long tongue) coupled with a an affectionate nature makes Frenchies an ideal breed for people who live in smaller houses and flats.
Celebrities such as The Beckhams and Lady Gaga may have made the French Bulldog a trendy choice as a lapdog/handbag dog but this is not a good reason to keep one – as is the reality with any dog you need to realise they are a life-long pet not a commodity. The reality is possible expensive vet bills – defiantly paws prints on floors, dog hairs on furniture and going on dog walks in all weathers: The Kennel Club recommends exercising French Bulldogs for at least one hour per day and grooming of the short coat once a week.
With the rising popularity of the French Bulldog beware of unscrupulous breeders who may be tempted to make a quick buck – possibly charging thousands of pounds per pup. By choosing to buy from KC Assured Breeders you will be sure your French Bulldog will be healthy and well socialised.
As a pet photographed based in Cumbria, Northern England experienced at photographing French Bulldogs I thought I would share a few tips to help you capture your Frenchie’s personality!
- Get down on your knees, or even lie down so that you are directly level with your French Bulldog’s eyes
- Squeak a favourite toy to get their attention
- Set your camera on continuous shooting mode and take a quick succession of photographs of your dog which you can choose the best from
- Capture photographs of your dog in different positions (sitting, standing, close up head shots)
- Capture photographs of all the different expressions your French Bulldog makes to capture his/her unique personality.
I hope you have enjoyed reading my article regarding the pros and pit falls of the rising popularity of the French Bulldog in UK and gained some pet photography tips. Feel free to leave a comment below and/or Follow my Blog for more Dog Friendly Articles and Pet Photography Hints & Tips.
Bitts Park located in central Carlisle, Cumbria is a stunning setting for dog walks particularly in the Summer months when the flowers are in full bloom. The striking hanging baskets and flower beds which surround the Statue of Queen Victoria can be walked around with dogs, wheelchairs and pushchairs as paths are well kept.
Carlisle Castle can be viewed in the background and there is a tree lined path running parallel to the River Eden which makes a scenic route. As a dog photographer based in Cumbria I know this part of the park is particularly attractive in Autumn when the colours of the leaves change to various shades of orange, red and yellow creating a stunning backdrop for pet portraits.
A children’s play area, tennis courts and a high rope course for the more adventurous are adjacent to Victoria Park and there is also a small refreshments kiosk with public toilets nearby. Bitts Park is a short walk (through shopping areas and subways) from Carlisle city centre where Carlisle Bus Station and Railway Station can be found.
Parking is very nearby at Bitts Park Car Park just off Dacre Road (the main entrance) or slightly further away at Devonshire Walk Car Park (located at the opposite side of Carlisle Castle) both are payable public Car Parks.
Public Toilets: Yes
Car Park: Yes
Wheelchair/Pushchair Friendly: Yes if you keep to the paths
Distance: short walk of a few hundred meters around Victoria Park can be extended by taking the riverside path
Railway Station: Yes (approx 1/2 of mile away)
Bus Route: Yes (approx 1/3 of mile away)
If you are looking for a scenic and pleasant dog walk in North Cumbria The River Caldew at Dalston is ideal. As it is listed Site of Scientific Special Interest there is plenty of wildlife watching opportunities along the way! Dalston is only a few miles west of Carlisle and has its own railway station and bus route, there is a small public car park opposite the co-op on the main street with easy access to the river walk and public toilets. As a local pet photographer I have taken pictures of lots of dogs here with the River Caldew as a backdrop.
Wheelchair/pushchair accessibility is variable depending on the route you take as is the length of the dog walk. If you leave the car park and take the (non-vehicle accessible) narrow road towards the white bridge, walk over the bridge talk a right turn and walk alongside the narrow millrace (stream) the footpath is wheelchair/pushchair accessible. Continuing past Eller’s Mill (the traditional factory which still produces cotton wool) there is an attractive small waterfall on the millrace; at this point it is a good idea to turn around and back track with your dog(s) if you have a wheelchair/pushchair or are unsteady on your feet.
If you continue you will need to cross the road over the busy Bridge at Bridge End, walk a short distance through a housing estate and turn right down a rough track to access the riverside.
This area is a bit rough under foot as there is not an easily accessible path, but is ideal for wildlife watching and photographing – Otter, Kingfisher, Grey Heron, Pheasant and Dippers are just some of the species which I have spotted.
Depending on the time of year you may also see a stunning blanket of Ramson (Wild Garlic ) or Wild Snowdrops as you walk underneath the trees surrounding the riverbank. You may view/purchase some of my wildlife photography most of which was captured here @ www.dwhitfieldart.wordpress.com/wildlife
Public Toilets: Yes
Car Park: Yes
Wheelchair/Pushchair Friendly: Partially
Distance: 1-2 miles (or more or less-as far as you wish)
Railway Station: Yes (approx 1/3 of mile away)
Bus Route: Yes
It is interesting to take photographs of dogs in The Utility Group as it is the most diverse of all the KC Groups. It includes a wide variety of dogs which were originally bred for a specific purpose but are not included in the Kennel Club’s sporting or working categories. The three different sizes of Poodle, both the British and French Bulldogs and the Shih Tzu as well as many other breeds of dog which don’t fit into any of the other KC Categories are assigned to the Utility Group .
Whilst most dogs in the Utility group were originally bred to perform a specific function they are more commonly kept as domestic pets nowadays, but may still show some of the instinctive traits. To capture your Utility Breeds personality you could try to take photographs of your dog showing these behavioural instincts.
- The distinctive Dalmatian which featured in “The 101 Dalmatians” novel by Dodie Smith and subsequent animated films was originally bred to accompany horses with carriages on their travels. Even a domestic house Dalmatian will have endless energy so try to photograph them in action.
- The Bulldog which is well known as the National dog of GB was originally bred for now illegal bull bating therefore is physically strong and powerful and sometimes stubborn. The instantly recognisable wrinkled face and flat nose can make Bulldogs appear comical and stern at times making them quite photogenic for pet photography.
Always make sure your Utility Dogs are well groomed so that they are looking their best before you take their pet photographs. Wide eyes are particularly important when capturing cute pet photos so when taking photographs of your dog remember to:
- Avoid taking pictures of your dog looking straight into the sun as they may squint
- Squeak a favourite toy to attract your dog’s attention
- Kneel or lie down depending on your dogs height to gain direct eye contact
- Avoid using flash which can cause a strange green glow in dog’s eyes
I hope you enjoy trying out some of these photography ideas with your Utility Dogs – this is the 6th in my series of Blogs about photographing all of the Kennel Club dog breed groups. Click Here to read about How to Photograph Toy Dog Breeds, Click Here to read about How to Photograph Terriers, Click Here for Ideas to Photograph Pastoral Dogs, Click Here for Gundog Photography, Click Here for Hound Dog Photography Hints & Tips and watch this space in the next few weeks for the Working Dog Group!
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 Utility Dogs for a photography shoot.
The Terrier Breed Group is interesting to photograph as it includes a wide variety of small to medium sized dogs often with a feisty and tenacious temperament. This wide ranging group of dogs includes the medium sized Airedale Terrier, the stocky Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the smaller Jack Russell Terrier to name but a few.
One of the most famous of the Terrier Breeds is probably the Skye Terrier known as “Grey Friars Bobby”. As the story goes when his owner John Gray died in 1858 Bobby resided at his grave in Grey Friars Graveyard, Edinburgh until he died himself 14 years later.
As Terriers were originally bred to flush vermin such as foxes, badgers and rats from underground burrows and dens they often still show characteristic behaviour traits of barking and yapping loudly. To take pictures of your dogs showing these characteristics
- Kneel or even lie down low (depending on how tall your Terrier is) so that you are level with their eye line
- Ask someone to squeak or throw their favourite toy if it encourages them to bark
- Use a fast shutter speed to freeze the action of your Terrier barking
To use attractive seasonal foliage as a backdrop for your Terrier photographs;
- Find a suitable location with seasonal flowers or shrubs.
- Choose bright flowers which contrast with the colour of your Terriers coat
- Capture posed pet portraits by positioning your Terrier in front of the foliage
- Take action photographs of your dog running through a field of Buttercups or Rapeseed
A Tartan blanket would be an attractive and appropriate prop for photographing one of the Scottish Breeds (such as a West Highland or Scottish Terrier)
- Ideally lay the blanket outside were you can position your dog on it in good natural sunlight.
- Try to gain direct eye contact with your dog when you take their photograph
- If you have to be indoors cover a comfortable armchair with a tartan blanket and try to use light from a window rather than flash to light the scene.
I hope you enjoy trying out some of these photography ideas with your Terriers – this is the 4th in my series of Blogs about photographing all of the Kennel Club dog breed groups. Click Here to read about How to Take Photographs of Pastoral Dogs, Click Here for Gundog Photography, Click Here to read about Hound Dog Photography Hints & Tips and watch this space in the next few weeks for Toy, Utility and Working Dog Groups!
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 Terrier for a photography shoot.
Please feel free to leave a comment and share this article.
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.
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:
- Positioning your Gundog in a suitable location
- Use a wide angle lens
- Choose a narrow aperture such as f16 – f22 (or landscape mode)
- 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:
- Positions your dog in front of evergreen foliage, flowering shrubs or summer blooms
- Kneel down to a position where you are level with your Gundog’s eye line
- Zoom in with your lens to fill the frame with your dogs head (be careful not to crop out the tips of the ears)
- Select a wide aperture such as f 5.6 (or portrait mode on your camera)
- Create shallow depth of field to blur the background slightly
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 www.debsdogphotos.wordpress.com
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!
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.
Try out this pet photography technique to capture compelling photography of your pet in their favourite location. “Woof Woof!” Speak Soon – Maggie
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.
Speak Soon Woof! Woof! Maggie
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 –
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 –
Sometimes she chooses portrait format by turning her camera so that the longest side of the image is vertical, just like this –
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.
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.
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 https://debsdogphotos.wordpress.com/photo-galleries/
Speak Soon Woof! Woof ! 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.
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.
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.
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