Posts Tagged pet portraits
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
Working Dogs are usually large and require plenty of outdoor exercise which creates an ideal scenario for dog photography. The Working Dog group is made up of a diverse set of highly intelligent breeds which can perform a wide variety of tasks. Working Dogs with a fearless nature coupled with a sturdy and powerful build make good Guard, Search and Rescue, Military, Police, and farm dogs although can be kept in homes if given consistent training, lots of exercise and a structured life.
Outdoors is the perfect location for working dog photography. To plan your pet photo shoot in advance –
- Decide on a picturesque location such as a riverside, beach, woodland or garden where you can take photographs of your dog
- Check the weather forecast and choose a day when good natural light is forecast which is essential for taking good pet photographs.
- Consider safety – if your working dog is not used to being around other animals and people keep them on a lead but remember to try and hide it behind them if you don’t want it to show on your dog’s photographs.
Whilst it is good to take photographs of your working dog posing, playing or even working in a scenic location try to take some head shots too:
- Kneel down and position your camera viewfinder level with your dogs head
- Zoom in with your lens and fill the frame with your dogs head but be careful not to cut out tips of their ears.
- Choose a wide aperture such as f 5.6 (or portrait mode on your camera) to create a blurred background
- Try to make sure your dogs eyes are wide open and in focus
- If photographing your dog in bright sunlight make sure they are not looking directly into the sun which might make them squint.
- To create an interesting composition try to place your dog ‘s eyes/nose slightly off centre rather than in the middle of the frame.
I hope you enjoy trying out some of these photography ideas with your Working Dogs – this is the 7th in my series of Blogs about photographing all of the Kennel Club dog breed groups. Click Here for Utility Dog Photography Ideas, 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
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 Working Dogs for a photography shoot.
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.
As the name suggests Toy Dog Breeds are small in stature and consequently do not need a lot of exercise compared to larger breeds of dog. The Kennel Club Toy Dog Breed list includes small breeds such as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Pug and Bichon Frise.
Due to the size of the Toy Dogs I have found it is always a good idea when taking photographs of these dogs to:
- Kneel or even lie down low so that you are taking photographs directly at your dogs eye level
- Alternatively position your toy dog safely on steps, a chair, table or similar to create a platform of height when taking your pet photographs
Toy Dogs are sometimes referred to as Lap Dogs as they are small enough to lie on someone’s lap which creates a great opportunity to photograph the strong bond between dog and owner. You may want to commission a dog photographer to capture such a special relationship http://www.debsdogphotos.wordpress.com. Alternatively ask a friend to help photograph your dog and yourself together or :
- put a chair in a position with good natural sunlight (preferably outdoors)
- carefully position your camera at the correct height opposite the chair
- set the timer on your camera to allow yourself time to sit on the chair
- place your dog on your lap before the camera takes the picture
Use props to add interest to your toy dog photographs and brighten the scene (but bear in mind the proportion of your dogs size and don’t choose anything too big). For example you could:
- place your dog(s) beside flowers in attractive pots to capture attractive photographs
- put your dog(s) into a wicker basket for a cute pet photo
- position your toy dog(s) on a fluffy sheepskin rug or brightly coloured blanket
Remember to groom your dog so that they look their best and kneel down (so you are not look directly down onto the top of your dogs head) when taking your toy dog photographs. Also don’t use flash as this may not only startle your dog but could create a strange green glow in their eyes similar to red eye in humans.
I hope you enjoy trying out some of these photography ideas with your Toy Dogs – this is the 5th in my series of Blogs about photographing all of the Kennel Club dog breed groups. Click here to read about How to Photograph Terriers, Click here for Pastoral Dog Photography Hints & Tips, 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 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 Toy 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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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):
- Always groom your Hound dog(s) to make sure they are looking their best before you take their photo
- Switch of your flash – make sure your dog is positioned in good natural light
- Kneel down to a position whereby you are level with your dog’s eye line
- If possible gain direct eye contact with your dog whilst you take their picture
- Take photos of your dog in different positions – sitting, standing, lying down
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:
- Position your dog looking to one side
- Zoom in with your lens
- Fill the viewfinder with your dogs head (be careful not to cut off tips of ears)
- Use a wide aperture such as f 5.6 (or portrait mode on your camera)
- Make sure your dog’s eyes are in focus
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:
- Try to anticipate your dogs movement and where to point your camera
- Position yourself safely with your camera pointing in the right direction
- Use a fast shutter speed of at least 1/500th second (or sports mode) to freeze action
- Use continuous shooting mode to capture a sequence of action photographs
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
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!