Posts Tagged photography

French Bulldog Becomes Britain’s Most Popular Dog

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.

french-bulldog-by-debbie-whitfield

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.french-bulldog-debsdogphotos

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.

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Dog Friendly Walk Bitts Park, Carlisle, Cumbria

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.

entrance-to-bitts-park      bitts-park-carlisle-by-debbie-whitfield     bitts-park-carlisle-cumbria

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.

carlisle-castle-framed-from-bitts-park     autumn-in-bitts-park     bitts-park-in-autumn

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.

dog-walk-bitts-park-carlisleParking 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)

 

 

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Dog Friendly Walk River Caldew Dalston, nr Carlisle, Cumbria

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

       posed-pheasant  otter-peering-out-of-river-caldew

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

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Working Dog Photography Hints & Tips

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.

Agility Dog Photographer

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.

Debbie Whitfield Dog Photographer        Boxer Dog Photograph

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.

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Utility Dog Photography Hints & Tips

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 .

French Bulldog

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.

Debbie Whitfield Pet Photographer

  • 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.

Pet Photographer Cumbria

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.

 

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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 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 –

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Landscape Format

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

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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 https://debsdogphotos.wordpress.com/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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