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One of my biggest fears as a photographer is that my clients won’t love their photos. What if they’re not what they were expecting? What if they hate them all? Combine that with my second biggest fear – rain during a session, argh! – and you’ve got one nervous wreck of a photographer. I guess I just overthink things, when really I should be focussing on simply doing the best that I can. When it came to arranging my session with Willow & Oakley, I asked their dad, John, what stood out most when he originally came across my work… “I love the natural settings, every photo is full of colour, and I love the how the subject is highlighted. From seeing previous shoots, I know that whatever happens I’ll get a lovely set of photos.” Okay, so no pressure then! It’s always incredibly flattering to hear such kind words about my photography, but I can’t help but panic at the thought of not being able to deliver something that people will love. I know from experience that my style is heavily dependent on the weather – the vibrant colours, the highlights – it all comes down to the lighting conditions on the day. And that’s not something I can control, as much as I would desperately love to! As it happens, we ended up rescheduling Willow & Oakley’s session thanks to some very ominous storm clouds that rolled in half an hour before the shoot. But I knew that if I wanted to capture the shots that had inspired John in the first place, big dark clouds and the constant threat of rain just wasn’t going to cut it. So we waited. And oh man, was it worth the wait! Our rescheduled date was possibly the most beautiful, warm, sunny autumn evening I’ve seen in a very long time. The combination of golden sunlight and the vibrant hues of the fallen leaves and autumn foliage was more than I ever could’ve asked for – I was in heaven! My worries and fears just melted away, and I could just crack on with doing what I love most. The highlights below are just a taste of the fun we had that evening, and I’m so glad that I had the chance to capture the colour and brightness that John loved so much about my work. I was overjoyed when he chose a folio box of his ten favourite prints (after a tough selection process!) and I can’t wait to see them taking pride of place at home. Sure, it might be a pain to reschedule a session, especially on short notice. But if it means the chance of a beautiful day, an enjoyable experience for everyone, and a collection of colourful, unforgettable images, then I’d say it’s definitely worth the wait. FINE ART DOG PHOTOGRAPHER | NORTHAMPTONSHIRE, EAST MIDLANDS, UK AND BEYOND FollowFollowFollow ALL IMAGES & CONTENT © THE ARTISAN HOUND 2019PRIVACY & COOKIE POLICY | TERMS & CONDITIONS THE ARTISAN HOUND OFFERS FINE ART DOG PHOTOGRAPHY IN AND AROUND NORTHAMPTON, WELLINGBOROUGH, KETTERING, PETERBOROUGH, HUNTINGDON, BEDFORD, MILTON KEYNES, BUCKINGHAM, BANBURY, TOWCESTER, BRACKLEY, DAVENTRY, RUGBY, WARWICKSHIRE, DERBY, LEICESTER, MARKET HARBOROUGH & UPPINGHAM The post WELL WORTH THE WAIT: WILLOW & OAKLEY appeared first on Dog Photography Northamptonshire & UK | The Artisan Hound. ..read more
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At the end of 2017 I set myself a challenge. I wanted to take on something that would push me creatively throughout the year, and give me the chance to raise money for my local animal shelter, Animals In Need. And so, my 2019 Charity Calendar project was born. Fast forward to January 2019, and the calendar is now hanging in pride of place above my desk. With the help of 12 amazing dog models and the support of everyone who bought a calendar or helped spread the word, we raised an incredible £1,300 for Animals In Need! And as a flipped over to February this morning, it struck me that people were actually only seeing a tiny portion of the photos that were captured throughout the project – 12 images out of more than a hundred! So I decided to pull together a few of the highlights from the year and share them here in The Journal – I hope you enjoy reading about each dog and the resulting images, as much as I did meeting and photographing them! JANUARY – Elvis the St Bernard If you met him today, you’d probably find it hard to believe that Elvis was ever this small, but even at less than a year old he was a giant! I figured a huge, fluffy St Bernard would be the perfect choice to represent the cold, wintery month of January (cue mental images of St Bernards trekking through the snowy alps), so you can imagine my mixed emotions when we turned up on the day of our shoot to the sunniest January afternoon I think I’ve ever witnessed! But we made the most of the sunshine, and Elvis posed like an absolute pro for me – making it almost impossible for me to choose just one image to grace the calendar! FEBRUARY – Cooper the Mixed Breed When February rolled round it brought with it some of the worst weather possible – little did we know we’d soon be meeting ‘The Beast from the East’ (remember that?). I had to reschedule Cooper’s session so many times due to the rain, and as we edged ever closer towards the end of the month, I simply had to suck it up and solider on. Luckily Cooper and his owners weren’t as phased by the drizzle as I was! Cooper was rescued from the streets of Bulgaria just a few years ago, and was still pretty wary of strangers (especially ones with big backpacks and scary clicking gadgets!) but his bond with his mum is so strong, she helped put him at ease and by keeping my distance and giving him plenty of space and time, we got some brilliant shots of Cooper to add to the calendar – in spite of the dreary weather! MARCH – Lennox the American Bulldog When Lennox’s mum contacted me about the calendar project, she was a little bit concerned about where we could go for their shoot. Lennox was a little unsure of other dogs, and sometimes having him on the lead increased his anxiety – we needed a place that was quiet and secure, where Lennox could be free to play, without worrying about surprise encounters from other canines. Luckily we found a secure field just outside of Northampton – it wasn’t the prettiest location I’d ever seen, but I did say that I wanted to push my creativity with this project! We took some time to get Lennox settled, and after a few minutes he was happily demonstrating his impressive sit and stay skills, as well as an incredibly amusing head tilt! I think Lennox did his mum proud, and it just goes to show that you can still achieve great photos in any location, as long as your dog is happy, safe and stress-free. APRIL – Flash the Border Collie Before we knew it, ‘The Beast from the East’ had fled and we welcomed spring with more unusual weather – luckily the late April/early May heatwave was much more enjoyable than the wind and the rain! I met Flash and his mum on a gloriously warm spring evening in the heart of Northampton. The blossoms were in full bloom and everything was starting come to life, after what felt like the longest winter ever. Not only was the weather perfect, but Flash was an absolute gem to work with. He has the classic Border Collie brains, and his mum has wasted no time in training him to an incredibly high standard – the bond and connection between them was so strong, and you could tell he was loving the work. It led to some beautiful photos, which made my life incredibly difficult when I had to choose just one for the calendar at the end of the year! MAY – Wilfred the jack Russell Terrier In May (my birthday month – yay!) I met the tiniest of my calendar models – Wilfred. But don’t let his size fool you, this little chap has personality in spades! We met at Abington Park in Northampton on another beautiful, warm evening, and Wilf quickly made himself at home in front of the camera. One of my favourite things about photographing small dogs, is how creative you can get with their placement – Wilfred posed in flowerbeds, on logs, and even on windowsills! The park can get quite busy when the weather is nice, so we kept him on his lead for most of the session. Luckily a bit of clever composition and Photoshop wizardry, and you’d never even know he was on a lead at all. JUNE – Molly the Italian Spinone Probably the most unusual breed I’ve photographed to date, Molly was every inch a superstar during her session. Her boundless energy proved a little challenging, and she was especially fond of going off in search of new and exciting smells, but we managed to catch some quiet moments with her too! With summer just around the corner, we’d also lucked out with the weather. In fact, the shade of the woods was a welcome retreat and created some beautiful light and bokeh that shaped the backdrop to a lot of the images. JULY – Lola the Bichon Cross Halfway there! And July was another hot one… But luckily little Lola took it all in her stride. We met at one of my favourite locations in Northampton, Harlestone Firs – just on the outskirts of town, this beautiful woodland has endless opportunities for photos, at any time of year. With the dry summer grass, thick ferns, and winding woodland paths, we got plenty of great shots, giving me another difficult decision when it came to choosing just one for the calendar! AUGUST – Hugo the Golden Retriever At this point I think I was starting to push my luck with the weather, and we only just managed to wrap up Hugo’s session before the heaven’s opened! Thankfully, we managed to get some awesome shots before the weather turned. We were back at Harlestone Firs, but this time took a slightly different route, which opened up some new shooting opportunities. Hugo was an absolute pro, only too happy to sit and stay wherever his mum asked. His beautiful golden coat was the perfect colour to match with the late summer foliage, blending with the tall grass and contrasting beautifully with the rich green bracken. Yet another tough choice for the calendar shot! In the end, I went with the purple hues of the early heather – something of a rarity in Northamptonshire, and I was really keen to inject some more colour into the variety of shots I’d already captured. And anyway, who can resist those beautiful eyes? SEPTEMBER- Willow the Cocker Spaniel Okay, this is where things get a little bit confusing. Willow was originally destined to be Miss October, and we shot her session right at the end of September. We had planned on getting some autumnal shots, but the evening was unseasonably sunny, and the golden hour sunshine was just too beautiful to pass up! Willow and her family travelled over to Delapre Abbey in the heart of Northampton – a gorgeous location, with photo opportunities.. ..read more
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It doesn’t matter how much you think you know about something, there’s always more to learn. And that couldn’t be more true for photography. As with any form of art, you’re constantly walking the fine line between mastering your craft and discovering yourself as an artist. In a world of ever-developing technology, it can feel like you’re constantly chasing after new gadgets and gear, learning a new editing technique or finally figuring out the focussing system on a new camera. But what we often overlook, in such a tech-oriented industry, is the need for personal development and growth as an artist. Because after all, that’s what we are. Behind all the glass and gadgetry is a desire to create, a vision, a message we want to convey or a beauty that we want to bring into the world. And so what’s the point of mastering that beautiful new lens, if we aren’t fully in tune with what we’re shooting, and why? This year I decided that I wanted to undertake a personal project. I knew that I wanted to dedicate myself to exploring something aside from my client work. Something where I could be completely free to experiment and uncover who I am as an artist. To discover why I choose to express my creativity the way I do. So that I could finally answer that question of ‘why dog photography?’ But no matter how much I brainstormed, no matter how many ideas I came up with, nothing stuck. Every idea felt unoriginal or insincere. Nothing felt ‘right’. I was frustrated. I felt like my inspiration was draining away the harder and harder I tried to push for ideas. So I took a step back. I took a pause. And I decided it was time to invest in a bit of education. Now, I know my way around a camera. I’m a dab hand at Photoshop. And I know how to read a dog’s behaviour during a session. What I needed was someone with the same appreciation for artistry that I have. Someone who could help me to ask the right questions and point me in the right direction. And I knew exactly who I could count on. I first met Alice Loder last year when I attended a photography workshop she was hosting down in Surrey. It was a brilliant weekend, and you can see what we got up to right here. I’d been following Alice’s work for such a long time, and it was brilliant to meet someone who felt so similarly to me about dog photography. I came away from the workshop feeling so energised, and knew I wanted to work with Alice again. So when I sat down to consider some 1:1 mentoring with another photographer, it felt like a no-brainer! Alice was incredibly flexible when I reached out to her, offering to drive up to Northampton for our day of mentoring. We met at my home for a morning of theory – not to be underestimated – and immediately got stuck in with a quick portfolio critique and some in-depth discussion about how to read light and use it to help with composition. Alice has a background in fine art painting, and her knowledge of artistic techniques comes through in not only her own work, but in her teaching too. It was exactly what I had hoped for, talking with a mentor who saw our craft the same way that I did – as an art form to be appreciated for its beauty and aesthetic. We talked about my plans for a personal project, and what I was hoping to achieve with it, in the hope that we could use the rest of the day as an opportunity to explore it in more detail. Armed with a few ideas, it was time to head out on location for an afternoon of shooting! In typical British style the weather was unpredictable, threatening rain with a short spell of drizzle as we arrived on location to meet our models. We started the afternoon with Benji, a stunning Rough Collie, and Bruno the GSP (in fact, the very first GSP I’ve ever photographed!). Despite the gloomy weather, we managed to get some amazing shots in the undergrowth – in fact I think the overcast skies added to the moody atmosphere in some of our shots. Alice led our session brilliantly – giving me pointers without being too directive or controlling. It felt a bit daunting at first working with such a talented photographer, but it actually turned out to be a really fun and relaxed afternoon! Our next models were beautiful little whippet, Nala, and epic Bassett Hound Lennie. I don’t think you could have combined two more different breeds! But they got along just fine, albeit at different speeds! Nala was another first for me – I don’t have a lot of experience with sighthounds, and she certainly kept me on my toes, zipping about all over the place. But it was a welcome challenge, perfectly suited for a mentoring experience. We had an absolute blast with some action shots to end the day – Lennie even decided to join in! I spent a lot of time working through the images from the day – I’m usually quite slow when it comes to editing, but I really wanted to take my time with these ones. My main aim was to implement some of the techniques that Alice had taught me during our theory session, while still maintaining my own style and way of working. It was tough, but it felt like a breath of fresh air, giving me more opportunities to experiment with the images I’d taken. Looking back on my day with Alice, I now realise that I was perhaps too hasty in trying to define a personal project. I still have so much to learn about myself and what truly connects me to my work, but working with Alice gave me a fresh sense of momentum and a nudge in the right direction. It wasn’t just the shooting techniques and the art theory, it was a realisation that there’s so much more to what we do than meets the eye. I still don’t know what I want to do with my personal work, but going into 2019 I can safely say that I feel empowered and inspired to experiment, inching ever closer to that ‘eureka’ moment that I know is squirrelled away inside me. The moment when it all lines up and the dots connect. For now though, I’m just content to embrace the journey and enjoy the experiences that take me there. CRAVING MORE CANINE CULTURE? Subscribe to The Journal for all things creative and canine - from the latest news and events to exclusive special offers - delivered directly to your inbox JOIN THE ADVENTURE FINE ART DOG PHOTOGRAPHER | NORTHAMPTONSHIRE, EAST MIDLANDS, UK AND BEYOND FollowFollowFollow ALL IMAGES & CONTENT © THE ARTISAN HOUND 2018PRIVACY & COOKIE POLICY | TERMS & CONDITIONS THE ARTISAN HOUND OFFERS FINE ART DOG PHOTOGRAPHY IN AND AROUND NORTHAMPTON, WELLINGBOROUGH, KETTERING, PETERBOROUGH, HUNTINGDON, BEDFORD, MILTON KEYNES, BUCKINGHAM, BANBURY, TOWCESTER, BRACKLEY, DAVENTRY, RUGBY, WARWICKSHIRE, DERBY, LEICESTER, MARKET HARBOROUGH & UPPINGHAM The post PHOTOGRAPHY EDUCATION: DISCOVERING MYSELF appeared first on Dog Photography Northamptonshire & UK | The Artisan Hound. ..read more
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The Artisan Hound: International Dog Photographer. Now there’s a title I never thought I’d achieve! But last October, I did just that. And what an experience it was… It all started last spring when I was contacted by Robyn of Haute Dog: Couture Pet Photography in Dallas, Texas. She was searching for someone to photograph her very special heart dog, Jake, and I was unbelievably flattered to find that I had made her shortlist (and even more honoured since she’s an incredibly well-renowned pet photographer in her own right!). A Skype call and a few email conversations later, and I was booked for my first ever international client session! We’d chatted for a while, and everything just clicked. I almost burst into (happy) tears when I received her email saying “Out of literally all the pet photographers in the world, I am confident you are the one for this job. Will you be my dog photographer?“ We spent the next few months finalising dates, and arranging the perfect location for the session. Robyn was even kind enough to let me stay at her home for the duration of our time in Dallas – a home shared with her pack of five insanely awesome hounds! There was Jake the Bernese Mountain Dog, and my soon-to-be canine subject. There was also Hannah, the incredibly soppy St Bernard, and Kimber, the equally soppy Mastiff. And finally Ellie and Hudson, the super-bouncy super-goofy Great Danes! My excitement was matched only by my nerves – the furthest I’d ever driven for a session was 30 miles, and now I was going to be travelling nearly 8,000! Before I knew it I was on a plane, headed for the USA. I could write an entirely separate blog post on the amazing things I got to experience during my time in America, but I’ll try and stay on track, and stick to the photography! Although I can’t go any further without saying just how brilliant a hostess Robyn was during my stay – she even went as far as to organise some awesome sightseeing trips for me during the time that we weren’t shooting, including my first ever cattle drive, and authentic Texan BBQ – I even ate a waffle in the shape of Texas, and drank Dr Pepper for breakfast! Remember how I said I’d stay on track?… So onto the session… The location we chose was the Mandalay Canals at Las Colinas – an incredible and unique little gem tucked away on the outskirts of Dallas. These urban canals were packed with ‘Old World’ charm, inspired by the canals of Venice. I don’t usually shoot in urban areas, so this was a brilliant opportunity to really push myself and experience something new. And as for my furry subject? Luckily, being able to stay with Robyn meant that I had plenty of time to get to know Jake – the charming, gentle, soulful, super floofy Bernese Mountain Dog. It was easy to see why he was her heart dog! Jake was also a pro when it came to posing for photos (when your mum is a prolific pet photographer, how can you not be?) and he was an absolute dream to work with. Okay, okay, I know what you’re all really here for… Enough of my rambling, and onto the photos! But I can’t end without saying a massive, heartfelt thank you to Robyn for her hospitality, kindness, and all-round awesomeness that made my experience one of such epic proportions – thank you so, so much! (and huge shout out to Adam and the rest of the Pope pack too!) Robyn’s also done a beautiful write up of our experience, and sheds some light on just how special Jake truly is to her – pop over to her blog and have a read (warning – tissues may be required!). CRAVING MORE CANINE CULTURE? Subscribe to The Journal for all things creative and canine - from the latest news and events to exclusive special offers - delivered directly to your inbox JOIN THE ADVENTURE FINE ART DOG PHOTOGRAPHER | NORTHAMPTONSHIRE, EAST MIDLANDS, UK AND BEYOND Instagram Facebook Pinterest ALL IMAGES & CONTENT © THE ARTISAN HOUND 2018PRIVACY & COOKIE POLICY | TERMS & CONDITIONS THE ARTISAN HOUND OFFERS FINE ART DOG PHOTOGRAPHY IN AND AROUND NORTHAMPTON, WELLINGBOROUGH, KETTERING, PETERBOROUGH, HUNTINGDON, BEDFORD, MILTON KEYNES, BUCKINGHAM, BANBURY, TOWCESTER, BRACKLEY, DAVENTRY, RUGBY, WARWICKSHIRE, DERBY, LEICESTER, MARKET HARBOROUGH & UPPINGHAM The post INTERNATIONAL DOG PHOTOGRAPHY: ADVENTURES IN THE USA appeared first on Dog Photography Northamptonshire & UK | The Artisan Hound. ..read more
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