The doors are closed

The Doors Are Closed

Time to close the doors

It is with a very heavy heart that we have made the decision to close the shop doors to the public from today. We do not offer an “essential” service to the town, so it seems like the responsible thing to do amid this global crisis.

Our hearts go out to all the other small local businesses that are having to make the same decision. We are a small community with many family run businesses at it’s heart. I plead with everyone, no matter where you are, that once this thing is over get out and support the small local businesses. We are all going to need your support if we are to get over this.

WHAT ABOUT MY FRAME?

If you have brought in things to be framed then we will complete the work as soon as we can. I will contact you once the work is completed and arrange for payment and collection/delivery. It will take some time, so please be patient with us.

If you are not willing to wait, then please contact us and we can arrange for you to collect the item you have brought in for framing.

What about my pet Photography Wall Art?

Again, any orders we have will be completed as soon as possible. I will contact you to arrange payment and collection/delivery. These are extraordinary times and we ask you to bear with us while we get ourselves sorted out.

Let’s Stick together!

If there are any Brixham businesses that need product photography for web sites to allow them to keep trading online, please contact us. This is a service we are happy to provide and will do so at a very reasonable cost.

Likewise, if anyone needs help in setting up an e-commerce website I am more than willing to assist.

Thank you!

A massive thank you to everyone who has supported this business over the last thirteen years. I have poured my heart, soul and bank account into getting it to where it is, and without your support we would never have made it this far.

We will be back. It might not be the same again, but we will be back.

Stay positive, and stay safe.

Corona Virus Measures

Doing our bit to stop the spread

The corona virus outbreak is effecting us all in many ways, and here at Shooting The Dog we are taking measures to keep ourselves and our customers safe.

As of the week commencing Monday 23rd March we will only be opening the shop on Thursday, Friday and Saturday each week. Our normal opening hours will be in place on these days: 9:30 am – 4pm on Thursday and Friday, and 10 am – 3pm on Saturday.

Our shop is very small, so we ask that if you do visit, please only come in as a maximum of two people at once. If you see a customer in the shop when you arrive then please wait outside until we are free. The more distance we keep between us all, the less likely this horrific virus is likely to spread.

These are the plans at the moment, but may well change, and we will be following government advice.

The Framing Dept.

As many of you will know, Mel the framer is of a certain age; and falls into the “at risk” category. To ensure he keeps well he is, sensibly, following government advice and avoiding social contact as much as possible. This means that ALL framing jobs will be suspended for now.

Jobs we have in the shop awaiting completion, will be completed as and when it is deemed safe to do so. However, if you feel you cannot wait please contact us to arrange collection of your artwork. We will be contacting the customers of outstanding work later today to discuss their options.

We do not take these corona virus measures lightly, but Mel’s welfare is of upmost importance as is that of our customers.

Pet Photography

The pet photography side of things will , for the moment, continue; so if you are interested in having your pet photographed please contact us through the website.

We will have to introduce restrictions on the number of people who attend with the pets for studio shoots, but we will discuss this with you at time of booking. You should also be advised that it may take longer to get your final products to you.

Corona Virus Measures

Corona Virus and pets

If you are concerned in any way with regard corona virus here are some useful links to information currently available:

  1. World Health Organisation
  2. RCVS
  3. NHS

Indoor Dog Exercise Ideas

With measures being put in place to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, we might be forced to spend more time indoors, but that doesn’t have to mean that we can’t find fun ways to exercise our dogs.

Indoor Dog Exercise

Ideas for Indoor Exercise

We thought we would share some ideas to keep you and your dog exercised indoors. Lots of fun, and rewarding for both you and your dog. You might even end up with a better behaved best friend.

1. Indoor Fetch

These games are usually played outside, but why not bring them inside. If you have enough space in your house, these can be a great way to help your dog stay active. If your space is more restricted, a hallway can do the job. Get into the game by throwing his favourite toy or ball and race with him to get it instead of just watching him chase for it. Ideally, try to pick out a soft toy or soft ball. This way, both of you will have lots of fun without breaking any valuable items.

Indoor Fetch

2. A Game Of Tug

Tug-of-war is a really fun game to play. No equipment is needed except for a rope or an old piece of cloth. It can be very good to help your dog learn self-control. However, you have to be conscious that this game can be risky. It may bring out aggressive behaviour in your dog. A relationship of trust and respect must already be established in order for you to enjoy this sort of game.

Tug Of War

3. Do Some Training

Do some training

Spend some time reinforcing basic training, or teach your dog a new trick. It’s great mental exercise for your dog, and a wonderful bonding exercise. A good starting point is to teach your dog to come to your hand.

You can find lots of inspiration here

4. Enrichment Toys

Toys you can hide treats in, or that have puzzles for your dog to solve to get a treat are great ways to keep your dog entertained. Mental stimulation ideas are as important as physical exercise ideas.

Our good friends at Ruffle Snuffle have all sorts of exciting toys, Fidget loves his Ruffle Snuffle mat. You could try making your own from egg boxes, plastic cups or whatever, and hiding treats in them. Just makes sure they are dog safe!

5. A Relaxing Massage

A nice massage

Your dog will love time spent giving them a massage.

You can find out more here.

So even if you can’t get out and about with your dog as much as you would have liked to, there are plenty of things you can do for a bit of indoor dog exercise. When you have finished you could always relax and take a look at our website, and maybe book you and your well exercised friend in for a pet photo shoot.

Why Do Dog Photography?

Dog & Pet Photography Specialism

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.

The River Crane, Twickenham
The River Crane, Twickenham

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.

Red Fox, Crane Park Nature Resreve
Red Fox, Crane Park Nature Reserve

Can 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.

Migrant Hawker Dragonfly
Migrant Hawker Dragonfly in flight.
Bee on Lavender
Bee on Lavender
Marsh Frog
Marsh Frog
Blue Tit
Blue Tit

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!).

Now I can’t imagine wanting to do anything else.

dog portrait 1
dog portrait 2
dog portrait 3
A Quick Fidget Update

A Quick Fidget Update

Many of you know Fidget, the studio dog, either from visiting the studio, meeting him on walkies, or from his facebook page. You may know he suffers from canine epilepsy. So I thought I would give you a quick update on how he is doing and what has happened over the last few months.

Back at the beginning of December 2019 he had a serious bout of seizures that resulted in him having a stay at the local vets. During his time there they actually witnessed one of his seizures. That led them to contact a neurologist in Bristol. The neurologist checked over his history, and his medication, and came up with a new plan of medication and a new diet.

Since then we have been slowly moving on to his new tablets, and cutting out some of his old ones. We have introduced a new specialist diet (here is some information about it, if you are interested).

Fidget on the beach

Since last December, and the changes that have been made, he has had no further seizures. That is now nearly three months. About as long as he has ever gone without having any problems.

The big test will be when he does have a seizure – which is almost certain to happen, as there is no cure, as such. What we are hoping is that the seizures will be less severe, and recovery will be much quicker, but only time will tell.

In the meantime, he is going about his normal business of being Fidget. We take each day at a time; enjoying life to the full and having as much fun together as we can.

Fidget having fun

2020 – A Brand New Decade

Happy New Year!

That’s it, our Christmas break is over, and we’re back in the shop – so Happy New Year to you all. As we start a brand new decade, we wonder what it has in store for us all.

Hopefully, it will be a peaceful time, where we all prosper and take care of the planet and each other. Well we can at least hope!

Mel is busy sorting out a few framing jobs, Tom is putting together a few ideas for pet photography sessions and Fidget is asleep in his basket.

We are making a few changes in the shop, that should come to fruition over the next week or so.

We will be having a bit more space put aside to show off the “Brilliant Bygones” collection of ephemera. So expect to see some weird and wonderful framed (and unframed) pieces from times gone by to be on the wall very soon.

We are having to call it a day with the crafting supplies; the opening of The Range in Paignton recently has really killed off what little demand there seemed to be for it at the prices we have to charge to remain profitable. It seems that Torbay Council would rather allow the building of out of town shopping with free parking, than support the local town centres.

Do come in and say “hello” if you are passing, or even better, bring us some work!

Our Christmas Card Sessions

By now everyone should have had their Christmas cards, so it is safe to show you some of the cards we produced before Christmas. We had a great response to this promotion and will definitely be doing it again this year.

A selection of the cards we produced last year

Molly Christmas Card
Pablo Christmas Card
Poppy Christmas Card
Dolly Christmas Card
Benji Christmas Card
Ruby Christmas Card

Final Shoot of 2019

Our final shoot of 2019 was of Dexter and Riley. Two Border Terrier brothers who couldn’t have been more different when performing in front of the camera. Dexter was quiet and demure, while Riley was really up for it and in your face. Great fun and as always it was a pleasure to get to work with them.

Riley
Dexter & Riley
Dexter

… And So into 2020

As we move into the new year, we are looking forward to working with lots more lovely dogs, and hopefully we’ll get to work with some other pets as well. Would love to get the chance to work with some of the more exotic pets – snakes and lizards maybe.

We had quite a few gift vouchers go out as gifts for Christmas, so we are expecting to see those coming in as booking soon.

Our gift vouchers have no expiry date, so if you received one as a gift, don’t panic! You can always wait until the warmer weather comes around again and go for an outdoor, on-location shoot if you wish; or maybe even a snow scene, if we get any of the white stuff over the winter.

One slight change we are making with our products for 2020, if you purchase a piece of wall art or an album we will now provide you with a USB memory stick of social media ready images as a gift. So now you will be able to share your images with your friends and family at no extra cost.

Why not take a look at the lovely reviews our customers are leaving us at Trustpilot? Then, if you are ready to join the list of happy customers, use the link below to start the process of getting your pets photographed and creating a memory that will last a lifetime.

Why not book a photo session

On line booking available

Happy Christmas and All That

A Christmas Message from Shooting The Dog

Christmas Windows at Shooting The Dog

It’s nearly here again! We’ve had a pretty busy year here at Shooting The Dog, and, as we never like to stagnate, a year of more changes to the business.

We have changed the way we do things: moved the studio out to the front of shop, introduced our in-person viewing sessions and changed suppliers for many of our products. All in order to provide the best service and highest quality products we can, while trying to keep things reasonably affordable for our clients.

This year hasn’t been the easiest, the high street seems to be getting quieter every year. Our running costs keep getting higher, and suppliers prices are rising all the time. So making a profit, while not charging ridiculous amounts, is a challenge to say the least. But we persevere, and hopefully we can keep going through 2020.

One more session to go

I have one more session booked in before Christmas, two border terriers, so that should be fun. Then we will take a short break over Christmas and the New Year – although if someone is in a rush for a pet portrait I am sure I can fit them in. Just contact us here and we’ll get back to you.

A quick recap

As we are getting towards the end of the year, I thought I would have a quick look back at all the wonderful dogs I have had the pleasure and privilege to work with during the year. So below is a selection of some of the stars of 2019. Many thanks to everyone who has used our services over the last 12 months. Especially the pet owners who have allowed me to get away with playing with your pets and making out that I am working.

I really love what I do and can only continue to get away with it your help.

Dogs of 2019
Bailey & Meg
Dogs of 2019
Bear
Dogs of 2019
Benji
Dogs of 2019
Evie
Dogs of 2019
Leo
Dogs of 2019
Molly
Dogs of 2019
Pablo
Dogs of 2019
Poppy
Dogs of 2019
Barney
Dogs of 2019
Benji
Dogs of 2019
Dolly
Dogs of 2019
Jake
Dogs of 2019
Lily
Dogs of 2019
Norman
Dogs of 2019
Pip, Bailey & Kira
Dogs of 2019
Ruby

I’m sure I have missed some out, and apologies if I have. Every dog I photographed this year has been brilliant, some of them have been challenging, but everyone of them is a star in my eyes.

Time to wrap it up

That’s it for our 2019 Christmas message. Except to say to you all, have a very happy Christmas, and I wish you all a successful and peaceful New Year.

Thank you to everyone who has had their pet photographed, or a picture framed, or even just popped in to buy a postcard. You all keep us up and running and for that we are very grateful.

Pre-Christmas – lots of rain, dear.

A Review of October

It doesn’t seem to have stopped raining since the beginning of October; okay we have had a couple of sunny days, but not many. And wind – it’s been so windy just lately. Not a good combination for photography, at least not my sort of photography. Who wants a portrait of a windswept, muddy, wet, bedraggled dog?

Still the studio work continues, and we have had a fairly good take up on the Christmas Card mini-sessions, which have been great fun.

Christmas Card Mini-Sessions

If you would like some unique Christmas Cards…

We have also been messing about with “silly” pet portraits during October – just trying out some ideas really. This is the sort of thing ..

Very silly stuff, but a lot of fun.

A Fidget Update

Fidget seems to be coping with the tablet change over quite well. He was originally taking 45mg of Epiphen in the mornings, and 60mg in the evening. He has cut down to 30mg morning and evening, without any adverse effects, and is due to drop the morning dosage to 15mg next week. So fingers crossed it doesn’t kick of the seizures again.

In the meantime, he is enjoying frequent visits to the beach and the park, where he is running about like a puppy again – which is brilliant to see. You don’t realise what effect these drugs have on your dogs until your “get them back” again!

… and on into November

There is still time to book your pet in for a pet portrait and get your wall art or albums in time for Christmas – but don’t leave it too late ! Just contact us and we’ll arrange everything for you, and at your convenience.

Our Shooting The Dog pet photography gift vouchers are now available to buy directly from the website. You can do that here.

Our Christmas Card Mini-Sessions are available until the end of November, so don’t miss out – book today!

Oh, and if you are beginning to think about what to get your pet for Christmas, check out our friends at Ruffle Snuffle Mats – they make loads of exciting things to enrich the life of your pet.

Fidget's Halloween Portrait
Fidget’s Halloween Portrait

Dogs & drugs & rock ‘n roll

The last few months have been a bit stressful. My dog, Fidget, suffers from epilepsy. He has been taking epiphen to control it for the last three years. Unfortunately, these drugs have now started to impact his liver function. So we need to slowly move him off the epiphen and onto something else.

Changing the tablets

We started to reduce the dosage, but apparently went a bit too far. Fidget then had 28 seizures over three days. Which considering he hadn’t had a seizure for two months was concerning. We upped the dosage slightly and fortunately the seizures stopped.

But after a few days he started shaking and tremouring, and generally became lethargic and very wobbly on his back legs.

Time to reduce the dosage again!

Now we are getting the balance right, and he is seeming much better. Next dose reduction is next week, so we are hoping we don’t kick off any more seizures.

Sample Books and Camping

September is nearly over, and has seen the arrival of our sample photo books and a well earned early autumn short camping trip.

Sample Photo Books

With a change to a new supplier, it was exciting to receive our sample fine art photo book this month. They come in a presentation box, and have a wonderful linen finish cover to them.

Book Sample - Title Page

We can add any text you would like, so if you wanted to tell your pet’s life story then this is the perfect product for you.

Book Sample - Inner Pages

They also make the perfect solution when you can’t quite make up your mind what photograph to select from your photo shoot.

Gift Voucher Re-launch

Gift Vouchers

We have also re-launched our gift vouchers over the last month or so. More information can be found here.

The perfect gift for the pet lover in your life, and can be customised to your exact requirements.

SEptember Camping Trip

Camping at Hennock
The Perfect Campsite

As usual at this time of year, me and Fidget escaped the town centre life and headed to the country with our trusty tent for a few days. The weather was perfect and the campsite was a dream. Just what we needed to unwind and relax for a few days.

Camping - Sleepy Dog

Little Fidget had a wonderful time, and never ceases to adapt to life under canvas. Long walks in and around Dartmoor ensured he always slept well.

Camping - Ball Games

He was also (as ever) always up for a game of ball when the opportunity arose.

Tent lit up at night
The tent at night

But now we are back, and getting ready for the next three months in the lead up to Christmas. October will see the relaxing of the dog bans on the local beaches, so we are hoping that we get a few location shoots booked in for some beach action.

Puppy Picture

On my next blog I hope to be able to tell you a little bit more about this little character.