People happily book photo shoots for their families and children, so why not their dogs too? One of my regrets is that we didn’t have professional photos taken of our previous dog, we only have a few family snaps to remember dear old Ronnie by. Our dogs are with us such a relatively short period of time that it is lovely to be able to have some quality photos that are not only beautiful pieces of artwork but capture the characters of our beloved dogs for eternity.
So when I recently visited the renowned dog photographer Kerry Jordan of “Whippet Snippets” and “Fur and Fables” to interview her for my blog (read profile post here), I decided to take the opportunity to book in a mini shoot for my hound Ralph. Cost is obviously a factor in deciding whether to book a shoot or not; and let’s face it is not something that is affordable for everyone; but there are ways of keeping the costs down and one of the ways Kerry overcomes this is by offering “Mini Shoot” sessions at set times of the year. These mini shoots, which are just 15 minutes long, are at a set location, normally scheduled one after the other, making productive use of Kerry’s time and thereby keeping costs down; what’s more Kerry doesn’t actually charge personally for these sessions all she asks is for a £50 donation to a dog rescue charity. There are of course plenty of other shoot options and packages offered by Kerry ranging from a basic package at £150 to £525 all day shoot involving two locations.
Kerry kindly agreed to undertake a mini shoot for Ralph, and with our donation paid to the Celia Cross Greyhound Trust, the next step was a phone call consultation from Kerry to ascertain information about Ralph … breed, colouring, okay off the lead or not, sitting & stay ability, any treat allergies etc. It’s at this point location would be discussed but, obviously as we were visiting Kerry anyway, the location for the shoot was in her neck of the woods. Not a bad thing, as Kerry knows the best places and landscapes to capture the perfect shot; but she is happy to drive up to an hour from her location in Fernhurst, Surrey, so you can choose where best for your dog, whether that be at home or in your favourite location.
When interviewing Kerry she did retell a rather funny story about once turning up at the house of a collie she had been booked to shoot. His owner had already warned Kerry that the dog was rather nervous and unsure of strangers, so when she arrived and saw this dog out in the front garden she thought this was a good opportunity, whilst waiting for the owner, to gain the confidence of the dog. She began by plying the dog with a few treats, and once he seemed comfortable with her she slowly began snapping away. Only to discover, after it’s baffled owner came out of the house to ask what on earth she was doing, that this wasn’t the dog she had been booked to shoot, the dog she was meant to photograph lived a few doors down!
The location for Ralph’s shoot was the beautiful Devil’s Punch Bowl, in Hindhead. Within minutes of being introduced to Kerry, Ralph was literally eating out of her hands and like the piped piper Kerry lead him to a few favourite spots, where she captured head shots, seated shots and full pace running shots. We were blessed with a dry, bright autumnal day and Kerry worked the autumn palette to create some stunning images, getting herself into some strange positions in the process. Kerry joked that she constantly forgets to look where she is sitting as she excitedly plonks herself down in an effort to get the right angle for the shot. Sitting in unsavoury things is probably not what you would have expected to be an occupational hazard of a dog photographer.
The shoot was such fun and flew by, so I can imagine how special an all day or even two hour session must feel. At the end of the shoot Kerry always gives a gift for your dog; Ralph enjoyed some super “Innocent Hound” sliced venison sausage treats and some fabulous handmade coconut dog soap from “The Dog and I”. Ralph can highly recommend both but, not being a lover of baths, I have a sneaking suspicion he preferred the treats to the soap!
Soon after the shoot Kerry forwards a link to a slideshow of an edited selection of images, which she follows up with a call and shows you how to log onto your own personal online gallery, from where you can order one of many packages or choose from a list of single items. It is difficult to choose as you are spoilt for choice, but it is best to have a budget in mind before you look, if you don’t want to get carried away. That’s one of the things I appreciated most from Kerry’s approach, there wasn’t any hard sell; we were left alone to order what we desired and not pushed or encouraged to order more than we wanted or could afford. But if you find it difficult to decide Kerry is happy to offer advice and can even give you a virtual representation of what a framed print may look like on your own wall!
I can’t recommend Kerry or the whole experience highly enough, although it may seem an expensive luxury, it is money well spent to have such beautiful lasting images of your dog, which are also artwork for your walls. And if you aren’t fortunate enough to live close enough to Kerry, then do keep an eye out on her social media platforms, as Kerry is considering scheduling a few ‘roadshow’ events around the country, even as far north as Scotland, in the new year.
For more information see the Whippet Snippets website
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