I am often asked why I specialise in dog and pet photography. Why not weddings and people portraits? The easy answer is that I love dogs, and most other animals. I enjoy working with them. People just don’t interest me so much. And maybe I just like a challenge!
So how did it all start?
Back when I had a real job, I spent most of my time in an office. At the weekends I would go out with the camera and photograph the local wildlife. Birds, insects – anything really, it was my way on unwinding. A lot of my time was spent on my local nature reserve that was run by the London Wildlife Trust, or crawling around in my garden.
I learnt about patience and how to approach animals. There was a lot of sitting around on river banks and lurking in reed beds. More importantly, I learnt about cameras, and how to get the best out of them in different conditions. If I was to offer one piece of advice to budding photographers, it would be learn how to use your camera. No amount of Photoshop knowledge can rescue a bad photograph, I know because I have taken hundreds of bad photographs! But that is how you learn, you need to understand why a photograph is bad, or why the main subject is just a blur of feathers or fur. And the next time you get the chance you make sure you get it right – or at least move in the right direction.
Could I sell my photographs?
After a while I was spotted by some of the wildlife trust rangers and volunteers. They asked me to exhibit some of my photographs of the nature reserve in the visitor centre. And I sold some! My first photography sales. This in turn led to some of my photographs being used in publications regarding biodiversity around Richmond and Twickenham. Slowly, little ideas were springing up in my head that maybe, just maybe, I could start doing this hobby I loved on a more professional basis.
From wildlife to pets
Things all moved on about thirteen years ago, when I was made redundant. I moved back down to my home town of Brixham and bought myself a little shop. I started selling prints of Brixham and the surrounding areas. It wasn’t long before people were asking me to photograph things for them – all sorts of things. But at one point someone asked me to photograph their dog … and the rest, as they say, is history.
Many of the skills used in photographing wildlife come in extremely handy when working with pets. So it seemed the perfect step for me. I could still spend my time photographing the animals I loved, but still be able to make enough money to eat (at least once a month!).