How does it all work?
Before we get going, we'll have a chat pre-shoot to talk about your dog, what they like and what they don’t, their quirks, what motivates them and the most suitable locations and time of day. I'll also ask you to fill out a questionnaire.
I prefer to book a couple of days, that way, if the weather isn't playing ball on the first date we have a back up. A little frustrating maybe, but better light = better photo's.
If you think it's necessary that I meet your dog first, we can do that too. I aim to do whatever makes you and your best friend the most comfortable. If we're all comfortable, it will show in the pictures.
Once we're agreed on a time, date and location and everyone's happy, we'll go for a walk and I'll do my thing.
After, I'll edit down to a number of the best images, depending on the package you choose and spend some time getting the most out of each image. My style is natural and colourful but I won't go over the top and I don't use filters, alternative backgrounds, overlays or effects. Each image is treated individually and I take time at every stage of the process to deliver natural looking pictures from which you can choose your favourites.
When they're ready, we'll arrange a viewing. You'll come to my home office where I can show you the best pictures of your pal with a drink and some nibbles. You can choose your favourites and we can look at the products available and discuss how your finished artwork with look.
When your artwork is ready if I can I'll deliver it to you personally. If not, it will be boxed up and packaged beautifully and delivered direct to your door.
Drop me a line if you have any questions about the products available.
I can't let my dog off lead, is it even worth bothering with a Photoshoot?
Of course it is! This isn't a problem at all.
If it's just a case of your dog needing to be somewhere secure, with no other dogs or distractions, we can discuss locations that will enable them to get some zoom time. I have to be careful where I let Dexter off, so I understand and know a few suitable places.
If your garden is a reasonable size and you'd prefer we stay at home that's also fine.
If you really really can't let your pooch off lead, or some of the special locations I offer insist on them, then I can work around it in Photoshop, I have many years of retouching under my belt and lots of experience getting rid of distracting things, like leads. So let me worry about that.
In these circumstances it's best to bring the longest lead you have and a family member or friend to come and help with positioning.
Can I pick the location?
Of course you can. As long it is within a reasonable distance to Ripon, I can meet you there.
I may decide to check it out first if I'm not familiar with it, to make sure it offers enough variety to get the best shots.
For any place further away, we may need to discuss adding a small fee for travelling outside of my catchment area.
I prefer a range of different backgrounds or areas, so if there's some water, great. If there's a wooded area too, that's fab. If there's also something in bloom, interesting rock formations, ruins or fallen trees, even better. I'm happy to hear your ideas but please be aware that a plain location isn't going to give us a much variety in the photo's.
We'll discuss what you have in mind and come to an agreement about where would be best for you, your dog and the photographs!
What time of day is best?
For me, the absolute best time of day is either morning or evening golden hour (roughly an hour around the sun coming up and going down). The time and length of golden hour varies depending on the season, so we'll work out the exact time of day when you book your session.
Mornings are my favourite, on a good day the light can be magical but it can be very very early in the Summer months. I'm always up for it, whatever time, if you are!
Another benefit of getting out at first light is that we'll often have a location to ourselves, so if you're dog isn't very sociable this might be the best time for them.
If you can't do either mornings or evenings for whatever reason, it's not a massive problem but I would advise avoiding between 10am - 4pm in Summer, as this is when the light is the harshest and least flattering.
My dog isn't great with strangers, I'm worried they won't like you.
My dog isn't either, he's a rescue and can be a little fear aggressive with some people he's not familiar with, so I get it.
I know what I need to do to try and gain their trust, and we can talk about the treats or toys I can bring with me that may help. If I need to meet them prior to the shoot that's also fine.
I will always take it easy with them and make sure they're comfortable before I start. If I don't, it shows in their expressions and ultimately in the pictures. I usually let them have a good sniff of me, my camera and give them a chance to run off some steam.
I'm aware though that sometimes they can take a dislike to someone and there's no changing their mind. In this situation, I'd suggest we still try to get some shots but that you bring a long lead (so I can keep you out of shot if that's what you'd prefer) and I'll stay at a distance that they're comfortable with. My favourite lens allows me to get some lovely and varied shots of your furry friend from quite far away.
My dog just doesn't stop and I struggle to get photo's that aren't blurred. I'm worried you won't be able to get any decent pictures.
I use a really good camera and lenses and know exactly what I need to do to freeze any action that is occurring. I've practiced with Dexter a lot and he's got a top speed of about 35mph! I've also worked with quite a few spaniels, so I'm also pretty familiar with the frantic, nose to the ground stuff they do.
Whatever breed though, I spend a bit of time before taking pictures watching how your dog moves, their personality and working out their best angles and positions.
I'm confident I'll get photo's of your dog that you'll love. And if I'm not worried about it, neither should you be.
In the extremely unlikely event that something goes wrong, either with my equipment, location, weather or something else, and we don't get the results we're hoping for, I will always offer a reshoot at no extra charge.
The photo's in your Portfolio don't have many people in them. I'd quite like to have a picture of me and my dog, can you do that?
Most of my clients have been the more camera shy type who just want gorgeous photo's of their pet, however I'm more than happy to include you and other family members in some of the pictures. Just let me know if you'd like this when you're booking.
I usually allow a maximum of two people to be present and stress that I'm a dog photographer first and not a specialist portrait photographer, so I'll take some time with you all but most will be spent working on getting the best pictures of your pooch only. They are most definitely the stars in this.
If what you actually want is a set of family portraits with your pet, I suggest you look for a portrait photographer who will be happy to accommodate all of you.
Do I need to bring anything for the Photoshoot?
Favourite treats and toys, the things that get your dogs attention are really helpful. It's always best to reward good behaviour and make sure they're having fun and are comfortable with the experience. I'll have my own supply of these too and do a fair range of silly noises in order to get those most loved facial expressions.
I don't however encourage unnecessary clothing or props, it goes against my natural style of photography. If this is something you'd like it might be better to look for someone whose style corresponds more closely with your vision.
Can I get my pictures printed elsewhere?
It's important that I'm in control of the quality of your products, so that I know you're getting the best and most accurate reproduction of my photographs. I also have to guard my originals and copyright closely so I don't usually supply high resolution files to other printers. If you would like to discuss purchasing image rights to a photo for another use, please get in contact.
Can I just have the big digital files?
There was a time when photographers could control the look, use and Copyright of their images because they owned the original negatives of their photographs. These days it's not so easy.
Unless I have agreed a separate image licence with you (where you pay a specific amount for an agreed use of that photo), I do not supply any high resolution files. These are my negatives and this is how most Photographers protect themselves and their work from unauthorised use, copying or altering these days.
I can supply a small version suitable for social media and personal digital device use for an extra fee but it is part of the contract between us, that you don't either try and make any money from my work, alter the look of the photograph with additional filters, or reproduce or copy in any other way without my authorisation.
More information can be found in my Terms and Conditions