Taking images of animals is difficult, trust me, I have spent a lot of time practicing.
They move a lot, they can be scared of the camera, they won’t look at you, they might be reactive around other dogs, or they might just be really disobedient and not do anything you ask them to… and that’s just trying to get them to pose!
On top of that, to get a good image you need to have the right kind of lighting, the best background to enhance your animal’s colouring, a good lens and some clever editing. See my article with 10 tips for capturing better photos of your dog.
We love our pets, they are part of the family. We like to have pictures of our human family, so why not have pictures of our dogs, cats, rats, whatever type of non human animal you share your life with. Animals form such a special part of our life experiences, they make us laugh, cry, empty our bank accounts, but most importantly they enrich our lives.
Like everything, they can disappear in the blink of an eye, so before they do, its important to remember them the right way with great images that capture their essence and personality.
Ok, so you have decided to get a professional dog photographer but how do you choose which one, and in particular, why should you choose me?!
1. I made a coffee table book about dogs
In 2020 I decided to embark on the massive project of making my own coffee table book of dogs. It was a gigantic undertaking, far bigger than I had ever expected, including enjoyable and not so enjoyable moments. I learnt an enormous amount along the way however, and that helps me to be a better photographer for your pets.
First of all, I took images of nearly 100 different dogs in a huge range of different locations. I captured pictures on farms, people’s homes, beaches, forests, puppy school and open coastlines. Some dogs were obedient, some had their own agenda but all were loveable. Every one of them taught me something new about photography, and also about canines in general. Despite the large range of difficulty, I still found a way to make it work and got an image from each dog that I could use in my book.
“Hi Emma, Congratulations one the beautiful book (naturally greatly enhanced by Poppy’s inclusion!!) Your huge amount of work has culminated in a triumph. The photographs are stunning and of course the subjects are special. You seem to capture the essence of the canine entity. I am sure you are wasted in Dentistry!! Wow!!”– Barbara Miller, Lennox Head, NSW
2. I’ve held a photography exhibition and a book launch
Making a book also taught me the art of not only taking photographs, but also editing and even more specifically, editing for print. It is one thing to get a picture to look right on a computer monitor with a back light, its another to get it looking perfect on a piece of paper. Not only that but the right type of paper and designing the layout of the book.
Doing the book launch and photography exhibition enabled me to experiment with a range of different mediums. I had prints on acrylic blocks, wood, art blocks, metallic, polychromatic art matt prints and also metal itself. I learnt how to edit for each medium and which pictures look best on which format. I have several examples to show you and believe it makes me qualified to help you get the most out of your images.
3. I have designed and built my own house
Ok, slight disclaimer here, I obviously didn’t build my house, the builder and tradespeople did that, however I did design and furnish the house from scratch and have my own images on the walls, including photos I took of wildlife from Africa as well as pictures of my own dogs.
This of course does not qualify me as an interior designer, however I feel it does help me to help you with selecting the best images for the right places in your home. I can even use photos of your walls, and photoshop your pet portraits in place, so you can really make an informed decision of where you would like your prints to go.
4. I have two dogs of my own and have had a wide range of animals in my life.
Like most kids, I have always loved animals, I just never grew out of it. I have had a wide range of pets from mice, hamsters, rats, fish and of course dogs my whole life. I even had pets when I was at university, much to the horror of my house mates when I had two pet rats that used to sit in my hood while I was studying. I have also worked for WIRES in rehabilitating a range of different species of wildlife and even learnt how to handle and rescue snakes, including our beautiful but poisonous brown snakes.
My first dog was a Shelty called Gidget. From then I have had two west highland terriers, a chocolate Labrador, a rescue Labrador X to present day where I now have Rustie and Penny.
Rustie is the fastest dog I have ever owned. She also likes to leap around like a kangaroo, and has proved to be a really good subject to practice with. I have taken her to a multitude of places around the area to scout out future locations for photoshoots with other dogs. Unsurprisingly, she was also the influence behind Rustie and co, and the reason I started this pet photography business.
We adopted Penny a year and a half later and she brought a new dynamic to the mix. Smart as a button and as enthusiastic as a 5 year old child on sugar, this new little fox hound x koolie has helped me practicing with not only a different personality but also photographing multiple dogs at once.
Penny was adopted from www.dogs4jobs.com.au. She is from an unwanted litter from a farm and is a Fox Hound x Koolie
5. I love dog training and go to the North Coast K9 Academy every week.
The best thing about dog ownership in my opinion is dog training. A lot of pet owners dismiss this as a chore but they are missing out on creating strong and lasting bonds with their animals. Training teaches us to understand our pets better, and also have a better appreciation of their brains and how they work.
For me, it has not only helped with my own pups but also to understand other dog behaviours as well. People often comment that my photos reflect the personality and essence of their pets. A lot of this is down to understanding their behaviour and when they are uncomfortable. I take time to help the dog relax and have worked with a lot of nervous canines. If all else fails I just leave them to be themselves, some of my best shots have been the candid ones.
6. I am a certified dog photography master
I have undertaken a specific dog photography course called Dog Photography Masters. The photographer who started this academy has won several awards for his images of dogs in action and has been a massive influence on my style and techniques. I am currently working on the next level of this course and hope to complete this to become the first dog photography master level 3 in Australia by the end of October 2022
7. I am creative and am always doing new courses and trying new techniques.
In my spare time I do a lot of creative arts, including sketching, painting and digital arts. I am always learning new techniques and I feel that it helps enormously with my photography and vice versa. A lot of the theories of colour and aesthetics, definitely transmit themselves across the different disciplines. The world of photography has an infinite amount of directions it can take and I am excited to change and develop my skills and style over the years to come along with my other artistic endeavours.
8. I have been living in the Northern Rivers since 2004 and know the best spots for taking images.
Through the work I have done with my book, and my connections through the dog school, I have searched and practiced pet photography all over the Northern Rivers. I have figured out where the best spots are for different types of dogs and personalities. I even do home visits for some of the older or more reactive dogs. Some of the best images I have taken have been in people’s homes.
9. I am a dentist.
You might think, “What has that got to do with pet photography?” but I feel it has given me good training for this. Not only is dentistry scientific and aesthetically based ( just like photography), but it really aids in developing your attention to detail. It has also taught me a lot of patience and empathy, something that is important with not only some particularly nervous animals, but also their owners as well. Sometimes a dog takes a while to warm up, and that’s ok.
10. I really enjoy what I do!
Last but most importantly, I really enjoy what I do! My love of animals, the joy of being outside and being creative gives me so much joy I could do it all day long. I never get bored of meeting new canines and their people. Each and every session teaches me something new and I can’t get enough of it.
So there you have it. My ten reasons for choosing and trusting me with your pet’s photography needs. From the first conversation on the phone where we interview you about your pet’s requirements, to the editing and showing of the images we have created. I love every aspect of it and hope that it shows in your experiences and the final product. I take great pride in my work and know that I can help you get the best pictures and keepsakes of your beloved pets for your home.
Find out more about my dog photography packages here!