Photographing animals as you know is a real passion of mine and so it’s no surprise that my pet commissions are one of my most favourite things to do. My dog Alfie was always a willing subject when I first started photography and he was key in developing my skills and teaching me how best to work with animals in front of the camera. Having grown up with dogs all of my life I do feel a natural affinity with them and an understanding which I hope shows through with my dog photography.
I recently had a commission for a shoot with Danielle and her beautiful miniature Dachshunds, Rollie and Pep. Rollie being 10 and Pep 4, they were mother and daughter despite having very different and interesting markings. When they arrived I spent some time with both of the dogs, getting to know their characters and letting them get used to me. I spoke with Danielle and we discussed how the shoot would go and what pictures we were aiming for.
We then headed up to the old parlour studio on the farm. This space has a dark backdrop and allows me to get some more fine art images of pets which is very popular with clients. I used a wooden cart as a prop. Being very small and low to the ground it can sometimes be difficult to photograph Dachshunds but the prop allowed me to elevate them slightly, whilst creating an interesting image. Rollie and Pep had a good sniff around the space first so they were comfortable with their surroundings and then we popped them up on to the cart to see how they felt about it. The welfare of animals in my photography always comes first so I was reassuring them as they sat and only took a few photos at a time before giving them a break. Least to say they were amazing!
I love the relationships we have with our pets. Dogs and owners have a special bond that is unique to them and capturing that in photograph can be tricky so it is my job to keep dogs and humans relaxed so we can witness that bond and photograph it in a beautiful way.
You could tell the bond between Danielle and her dogs was so strong and between each other, with Rollie and Pep being mother and daughter. At one point during the shoot I was photographing Rollie on her own when Pep came and sat on my lap as if to give her direction. It was so sweet and Rollie then focussed on Pep which allowed me to have her attention for the shot.
I was keen to capture that special relationship between Danielle and the girls and black and white worked so well, creating an image that would stand the test of time. I love natural interaction and it always speaks volumes within an image so I like to let pets and owners do what feels right for them, giving direction when needed and adapting to the actions of the animal.
After our studio time we headed outside. I knew the girls would have some energy to burn and they deserved a run around the garden after being so brilliant in the studio.
There is no better place to capture the true characters of dogs than when they are outside having fun. A few lovely portraits in the garden then it was up to the woods where we got some lovely images of the girls exploring and some more photos with Danielle.
This photo shoot was really good fun and I was very thankful to Danielle for bringing her lovely Rollie and Pep to see me. They were such a pleasure to photograph and I am so pleased with the images, they give me so much joy every time I look at them.
What Danielle said about her shoot.....
“The photo shoot was given to me as a gift and what I expected to just be a fun afternoon (which it really was!) has portrayed into gorgeous photographs that we’ll have for life. We laughed and cried when the proofs came through.
Heidi captured the girls in all their glory and is clearly a great animal person, both dogs were super relaxed and even sat on Heidi’s knee to help direct!
I’d highly recommend a photo shoot with Heidi as a gift or even if you simply want to have fun with your pet in a beautiful setting!”
I love to capture a variety of images within a shoot, I want to give my clients a selection they can keep forever and look back on with fondness. Our pets are such an important part of our families and I have always believed they should have a place on our wall with our human family.
If you would like photographs of taken of your dog or pet please get in touch via the website or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information visit my Pet photography page on my website!