Capturing Ralph, a roaring success

Have you ever considered booking a photo shoot for your dog? To some it may seem a bit indulgent but what better way to capture your four legged friend for posterity than via some glorious professionally shot images.

Ralph taken by Kerry Jordan of Fur and Fables

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. 

Shoot packages available from Whippet Snippets / Fur and Fables

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!   

Ralph amongst the ferns, taken by Kerry Jordan

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!

The lovely goodies Kerry gave to Ralph after the shoot

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!

Following the shoot you Kerry creates your own online gallery from which to select your images

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   

You can also find Fur and Fables on Facebook

And Instagram 

A photographer with a painter’s eye

It’s no surprise that Kerry Jordan cites the landscape painters John Constable & J.M.W. Turner as the inspiration for her style of photography. Her stunning canine photographic images ooze with warm muted tones and a passion for not only the dogs she captures, but the landscapes in which she places her subjects.

 

I’ve been an admirer of Kerry’s work for some time now and so jumped at the opportunity to visit her when she kindly agreed to an interview.  As we sit around her kitchen table, in her beautiful Surrey home that she shares with her husband, Alex and their five gorgeous Whippets, Kerry tells me she feels amazingly fortunate to be doing something that combines all of her life long passions … enjoying the outdoors, being creative and of course dogs.

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One of Kerry’s stunning dog portraits

Kerry, Bev & hounds
Kerry (left) with some of her hounds and me with Ralph on my lap

Kerry hasn’t always been a dog photographer, in fact she started out working in the City as a PA and subsequently, as a self taught photographer learnt her craft in the tough world of wedding photography.  Not an easy job most would admit and Kerry soon realised that she preferred the more intimate and creative aspects of this job rather than the big group wedding party shots; and so moved into the direction of family portraiture.  By this time Kerry had two Whippets in her life and started photographing her hounds and those of her friends; demand for her dog portraiture blossomed and ‘Whippet Snippets was born.  Establishing her credentials as a top dog photographer, in 2014, when one of her images was placed in the finals of “Dog Photographer of the Year”

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Kerry’s photo that was placed in the “Dog Photographer of the Year” competition

Today Kerry still offers family portraiture through her brand “Boo Face” and dog portraiture via “Whippet Snippets”, but it is the dog photography that constitutes 85% of her work; and despite the name, her dog portraits aren’t exclusive to Whippets or Sighthounds, Kerry is happy to, and accomplished at, photographing all breeds.  It is perhaps partly due to this brand confusion that Kerry has recently decided to create an umbrella brand “Fur and Fables” to encapsulate all of her photographic work and other business activities under one roof.  Many of these areas overlap with clients and collaborators being part of the same community; which has lead Kerry to create this most beautiful mission statement or summary of what she is about …

‘If you are of ferns & forest & sandy toes,

If you are of breezy days & golden skies,

If you are of Fur & Fables

Whether 4 feet or 2

We should meet, because I’m just like you.”

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Above Kerry’s new umbrella brand “Fur & Fables” and below some examples of Kerry’s work to illustrate that she does photograph all breeds not just sighthounds!

Kerry is certainly not a photographer content to sit back on her laurels, she is keen not only to share her passion with others but also support those on their own small business journey.  In addition to offering commissioned shoots, Kerry also offers product shots and social media support for other companies in the dog business and creative communities.  If she finds a product she loves and believes in, she will happily champion the brand and become a brand ambassador.  And for the amateur dog photographers amongst us, wanting to improve our own snaps of our furry friends, Kerry has created an online dog photography course, brilliantly named Furdography.

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Kerry’s online dog photography course

The “Fur and Fables” website is due to launch before the end of this year, but Kerry isn’t content to stop there.  She is already planning future initiatives, which may include travelling further afield by offering mini shoot roadshows around the UK and even overseas photo shoots.

Whilst visiting Kerry, I took the opportunity to experience one of her mini shoots for my hound Ralph.  Watch out for a follow up blog on this shoot coming soon, but suffice to say it was an amazing experience and Ralph absolutely loved being a model for the day!  I think Kerry was a bit smitten by Ralph but then I think Kerry falls in love with all of her subjects, that’s how she manages to produce such wonderful images with such depth of soul and feeling.

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Ralph captured by Kerry

Kerry’s work can be viewed on her website www.whippetsnippets.co.uk, on Instagram and on Facebook