The Shooting The Dog Blog

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

Easter Contest Image

You Could Win A Pet Photo Shoot

Today we are launching our 2020 Easter Parade Competition.

Make an Easter bonnet and take a photo of your pet wearing it. Send it to us, and you could win a studio pet photo shoot voucher (worth £65) for your pet.

You can find all the details and the entry form our special 2020 Easter Parade Contest page.

Entries must be made through the official page …. so why are you still here? Start making your bonnet!

Win A Pet Photo Shoot

Traditional Framed Prints

We are going to start a series on the blog looking at our products in more detail over the next few weeks.

Today we are starting with our traditional framed prints.

Pictures Displayed The Traditional Way

Traditional Framed Print 3
Traditional Framed Print 1
Traditional Framed Print 2

All our framing is carried out by our in-house framing department. So we can frame your prints exactly to your requirements. This allows us to match your framed artwork to your style, whether you live in a sleek modern apartment or a cosy little cottage.

A3 Framed Print Example

Our range of framed prints span from A4 up to a large 30″ x 24″ statement piece and prices start at £100.

Traditional Framed Prints

Prices

Framed A4 Print
£100
A4 Print
2" Mount
Your choice of frame
A3 Framed Print
£150
A3 Print
2" Mount
Your choice of frame
Framed 20x16 Print
£180
20" x 16" Print
2" Mount
Your choice of frame
24 x 20 Framed Print
£200
24" x 20" Print
2.5" Mount
Your choice of frame
30 x 24 Framed Print
£200
30"" x 24" Print
2.5" Mount
Your choice of frame

Triptychs

Another way to show off your photographs in a frame is in a triptych. Three images in the same frame. We offer two print sizes for our triptychs. The smaller one being three 7×5 prints and the larger one being three A4 prints. The frames can either be portrait (three images shown vertically) or landscape (three images shown horizontally).

portrait triptych

We can of course put any number of images into one frame upon request.

Triptych Prices

7x5 Triptych
£140
Three 7" x 5" prints
Your choice of prints
2" Mount
Your choice of frame
A4 Triptych
£220
Three A4 prints
Your choice of prints
2" Mount
Your choice of frame

So that’s about it for a glimpse at our traditional framed prints. If these aren’t for you, don’t worry, we’ll be looking at our aluminium prints, fabulous acrylic prints and our prestige canvas gallery wraps over the next few weeks.

Is Pet Photography Expensive?

We hear it a lot from people outside the studio. Admiring the photographs in the window and then telling each other how expensive it must be; even though they haven’t asked us. So today’s post is all about the money. But is pet photography really that expensive?

At this point I could start complaining about how much it costs to run a photography business, and, yes, we have our overheads like any business – and we want to make a profit and eat occasionally.

So why does Pet Photography seem expensive?

Well to be honest it’s not cheap. But then if you wanted cheap you wouldn’t be looking at a professional pet photographer. We don’t want to be cheap!

What we want is to offer is value for money, good service, and professional, high quality products.

I have tried keeping costs down in the past by using cheaper suppliers, but in the end quality tells. No-one wants to have to keep delaying their customers because a supplier has sent another duff bunch of products which then had to get reprinted. Paying slightly more – and hence have to charge slightly more- to ensure that the products we provide our customers are the best we can get, is a much better option.

We want to provide artwork that will last a lifetime, memories that live on forever – that shouldn’t really fall into the cheap bracket.

A Quick Comparison

Acrylic Gallery Panel

Let’s take a look at one of our popular products – our wonderful 20 x 16 acrylic panel.

A glossy high definition print that oozes quality and definitely makes a statement in any home. It’s fabulous … and it retails at £270.

If looked after properly, it will last a lifetime – so that’s a one time cost.

We decided to take a look around on the internet for something to compare this to, to try and show what great value for money this investment would be. We struggled to find anything interesting to be honest, but we did find one or two interesting things.

Make-up – I’m not making this up!

According to a study in 2017, women spend an average of £450 per year on make-up. That would almost pay for two of our acrylic gallery panels- and you would be able to wear make-up again next year!

An average of £200 a year is just spent on fixing eyebrows that were plucked to oblivion only a few years ago.

Must Have Coffee … Really, I Need A Coffee!

In the UK the average person is spending more than £300 a year on coffee, and over £700 a year on wine.

If you just cut down a bit not only would your blood pressure thank you, but you would soon be able to afford our fabulous acrylic gallery panel… that will last forever.

So What I mean is ….

Although pet photography can look expensive, once you look at how much we spend on things that really don’t last long (especially coffee and wine, in my particular case) then you can see that it really is good value for money. And with a £50 credit towards wall art purchases when you book your photo shoot, then I would go as far as to say it’s a bargain.

Cut down on your wine, coffee and make-up

Book your pet in for a photo shoot

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.