Paul the Rescue Dog Photographed at Burry Port

Location: Burry Port

Time: 7am

Paul’s owners are are absolutely amazing people – they are dog crazy to the core and have the biggest hearts. They’ve currently got four dogs at home – three of which are rescues, Paul included. This isn’t the first time they’ve had a dog photography session with me, I had the pleasure of meeting their old pack of three dogs in 2019. Sadly only one of those dogs is still with them now. Dogs’ lives can be cruelly short.

This year’s photoshoot was purely for Paul, because he’s a very special case. He’s a rescue dog from Llys Nini, and he spent close to two years in their care while waiting for a home of his own. He also has a multitude of health problems and suffers from frequent seizures. He needed a special family to take him in and he really lucked out with the humans that found him.

It was an early start for the session at Burry Port to make the most of the golden sunrise. Once the sun is up, the light can change so quickly from soft golden hues to stronger, brighter direct light, especially when there aren’t any clouds to filter the sun’s rays. And on this day nature gave us clear blue skies, which if I’m honest, is not my favourite condition to be shooting in. I’m most happy with a bit of cloud (and yes, I do feel just a tiny bit ridiculous whinging about uninterrupted sunshine when 99% of the population was probably jumping for joy at the sight of the clear skies) but to be fair, cloud is what we’re used to in Wales.

We started Paul’s session in amongst a copse of trees, capturing a gorgeous portrait with the sun rising behind him haloing him in golden light. Then we moved onto the beach for some fun times and frisbee chasing. A steep climb up onto the dunes, which almost saw me falling backwards onto the beach as I backed up to frame the shot, resulted in Paul’s humans’ favourite shot – him standing framed in amongst the long yellow grass with the blue sky above. This is being printed on a huge acrylic, which I cannot wait to see in real life – it’s going to be epic! Then we had a little paddle in the sea and found a gorgeous red rusty sea defence, which I absolutely loved. Lastly, we had a wander around the harbour and found some cool graffiti, which gave an urban edge to the end of his session.

I absolutely loved this session with Paul. He’s such a special dog – from being given up on, to living so long in rescue kennels and suffering with debilitating seizures, to then find a family that loves him unconditionally and lets him be what he wants to be, and loves and nurtures his quirks. This is the story of a dog who found his feet, and found himself with the right humans. It’s a story of what love, time and patience can achieve for a dog that so desperately needed it. And it’s a story that I’m grateful to have played just a teeny-tiny part in by capturing this wonderful day.

dog photography session of labrador at Burry Port

Celebrating Dog Birthdays in Style

Dog Cake Smash Sessions

This last year or so I’ve had more and more clients booking in to celebrate their dog’s birthdays with a Doggy Cake Smash session. These sessions are super fun for the pups (seriously, who wouldn’t enjoy demolishing a cake to themselves), and it gives the humans a real memento to remember a special milestone in their dog’s lives by too.

Cakes and biscuits are supplied by the amazing Doggy Desserts in Llanelli. Having them just across the estuary is a godsend. It means I can do a quick trip over to collect the cake the evening before the session, so everything is super fresh for the pup on the day.

I’ve got a good selection of birthday props: bunting, confetti, numbers etc. I’m a sucker for a good prop and now I have a permanent studio space it means I can grow the collection.

These are a few of the dogs who have come in to celebrate their birthdays <3

Connie the Welsh Collie enjoying her 1st Birthday

Burrito the Corgi may have over indulged on cake

Ruby and her sister, Holly, celebrating in style

Bean the Corgi had a fantastic time at her ball pit party

The ideal product to accompany a Cake Smash Session has to be the Folio Box. The front cover comes personalised with the dog’s name and birthday date. And oftentimes I’m able to incorporate the colour scheme of the session in the box design too. It’s definitely a special keepsake.

Building A Dog Family Portrait

It feels so long ago now, but back in the Summer I spent an incredible morning photographing the most adorable whippet puppies and their Mam for their dog family portrait. The puppies were due to be going off to their new homes a few weeks after the session and their human wanted to capture some special memories to cherish before they left for their new adventures.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly nervous about photographing 12 puppies (yep, that many!), especially because the ultimate aim was to capture a family portrait of all of them together with Mam. The word CARNAGE may have come to mind, but it was a challenge I wasn’t going to turn down.

I really wasn’t exaggerating when I said carnage! We had a hilarious attempt at photographing all 12 puppies inside a vintage trunk. Picture this, if you will…12 pristine, angelic puppies all posed perfectly, curled up with their chins resting on the edge of the trunk. That was the vision in my head. What we got was a slapstick comedy scene, followed by the Great Escape! I don’t think I’ve laughed so much at a session before. The puppies were so full of beans and absolutely nothing was going to keep them contained in that trunk.

whippet puppies photographed in a vintage trunk

To give the pups (and us) a rest we decided on some individual shots next. I’d brought a vintage child’s chair with me so we popped each pup up in turn for them to have their moment to shine. We may have had a couple of comedy moments and photo-bombs here and there. And at one point I was trying to photograph one puppy, whilst one sat on my lap, one stuck its head in my face and another was trying to dangle off my ponytail – how I wish I’d had someone recording behind the scenes footage at this point!!

whippet puppies photographed sitting on a red chair

With the puppies tired out a little, it was time to re-attempt the family portrait. This time, with the help of some plant pots to contain the wriggly little buggers. Add in some intricate planning and we managed to pull it off.

I won’t lie, Photoshop was very much my friend for this shot. With twelve puppies to contend with it was nigh on impossible to get them all looking in the same direction at the same time, and knowing that we had some escape artists on on hands too (did you see the trunk fiasco?!), the most sensible thing to do was to photograph three pups in a pot at a time and then I spent an hour or so in Photoshop building a dog family portrait. I was little gutted as it would have been epic to have been able to get this done in camera in one perfect shot, but I know when it’s more sensible to call on my editing skills instead, and this was definitely one of those moments.

whippet puppies and mother photographed in plant pots for a dog family portrait

Rua & Harper

Red Setters in the Woods, the Dunes & the Sea

Location: Llanmadoc

Time: 7am

I had the immense pleasure of photographing two absolutely stunning red setters towards the end of the Summer. Their human was very kindly given a Pet Photography Gift Voucher for one of my sessions by her colleagues (they have amazing taste in gifts!).

After a bit of planning we decided that Llanmadoc would be a perfect location for them, so that we could make the most of the woodland and also enjoy the beach as well. With the weather forecast looking sunny, we made a plan to meet at 7am so it wasn’t too warm, and also to make the most of the beautiful morning light.

There’s a bit of a stroll down to the woods from Llanmadoc, so the girls had a chance to sniff around and get any pent up energy out after their car journey. Then it was on to business. The woods has a perfect wide path running along the south eastern edge which means the morning light illuminates it beautifully. We knew one of our aims was to capture a classic portrait of the girls together and this was the perfect time and place. I absolutely love this portrait of them, they look so regal, but also slightly comical at the same time. For me, it oozes their personalities: Harper trying her best to get that perfect pose, and Rua there serious as can be, but with her derpy little lip curl. Luckily, their human feels the same way and this image is currently being printed nice and big and will be custom framed before heading to its new home. It’s going to look absolutely stunning.

After nailing the portrait, it was time to have some fun, so we let the girls rip with some action. This pair tackled action shots with so much enthusiasm (as you can probably see). We then wandered from the woods over the dunes and towards the beach, the girls were both in their element bounding through the long grass, and their fur looked beautiful shining in the sunlight. At this point it was getting surprisingly warm, so we stopped for a water break and then headed for the sea. The tide moves incredibly quickly on the North Gower Coast, so we actually had a fair walk to the sea itself. Rua isn’t quite so enthusiastic about the sea as Harper is, so she was happier on the wet sand at the shoreline, whereas Harper was straight in the water. Needless to say, both me and the girls’ human got a bit soaked by the sea. But it was definitely worth it.

After our dip in the sea it was time to head back, while taking a slight detour to hunt for my GoPro that I’d managed to drop somewhere on the beach. It’s credit to the girls as hunting dogs that we actually managed to find it! Then there was one last stop off for another posing session before we called it quits for the day. I’ve been experimenting with more epic landscape shots recently and I knew I wanted to try one of Harper & Rua in front of the woods and with the cliff in the distance, so we gave it a go. This is the result of 44 images stitched together, and I’ve got to say that I’m pretty pleased with how it’s turned out.

If you think you’d like a session for your own dog, or are thinking of gifting a session to one of your favourite people, then give me a shout and we can have a chat about all things dig.

Voodoo in the Studio

ferret photographed in the studio on a yellow background

So, this was a first for me – ferret photography instead of dog photography! Voodoo is a beautiful long haired ferret who joined me in the studio earlier this year, and I had so much fun with him. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect to be honest, but he was the sweetest little thing, not to mention ridiculously handsome. I’ve been lucky enough to source some amazing props from Viva la Frida, a fantastic little vintage shop in Swansea (you should definitely check them out if you’re into your vintage/retro stuff). So, armed with vintage scales, a retro cat bed and an amazing basket we started our quest for ferret portraits.

Ferrets aren’t as obedient as dogs, but they do work for treats (or at least Voodoo does). His human had brought fish oil along to use as his bribery to stay in one place, and it worked incredibly well. That, coupled with elevating him up on props so he couldn’t wander away easily, resulted in some gorgeous photos of him that I’m super proud of. I especially love the shot of him poking his head out of the basket. This shot actually helped me place in the Top 100 in the Open category of this year’s International Pet Photographer of the Year Awards.

I won’t lie, he did make me work hard for these shots as his attention was rarely on me for long, so getting images where he’s engaged directly with the camera did take some doing, plus his movements are a lot more erratic than a dog’s so I did have quite a few shots just missing that crucial focus on his eyes. But, that being said, I’m over the moon with how well the final images turned out.

If you’re contemplating your own ferret photography session, or any other pet for that matter, then give me a shout. I’m always up for a challenge!