My friends Bryan and Stacey from Picturesque, by Mr and Mrs M. recently got the most adorable dachshund puppy, Flo. They really wanted some studio photos of her and their other dog Finlay, so we thought it would be a great trade if they took some photos of me taking the photos of Flo and Finlay so we can give people a behind the scenes look at a Mutley’s Snaps studio session!
One of the things that I see often on our Facebook page is people claiming there is no way their dog would behave for it but there is no need to worry, I have lots of tips and tricks for capturing the images. I have infinite patience in the studio and always try to make the sessions as relaxed and as fun as possible.
When the dogs first come into the studio, I lock the studio door to make sure the building is secure and there is no chance of someone opening the door and letting them escape. Then I let the dogs explore for a while as we have a seat and a chat, this time is good for letting the dogs become relaxed with the surroundings. If the dog is relaxed around me I will usually practice some sits with them letting them have some yummy hotdogs (I always check they are allowed any treats first). If they aren’t quite comfortable around me, I’ll throw some hotdogs on the floor and let them pick it up from a little distance until they feel more relaxed. Everything is done at the dogs pace with the studio sessions typically lasting between 45 minutes to an hour and a half, but there is no strict limits on the sessions.
Typically I like to start the session with the dogs up on the stage, makes my life a little easier when they are at this height, especially will smaller dogs like Flo. However if it’s an elderly dog or a dog I’m worried about possibly falling off I’ll set up with the paper on the floor. Being up on the stage also means lots of hotdogs! Food motivated dogs are great, hotdogs work wonders. I also use toys for those more interested in them. Between hotdogs, toys and silly noises I always get a variety of expressions.
The stage also doubles as a table which I use to get the computer up on when people come back to view their images. If they bring the dogs back in with them they often jump back up on the stage even if it’s being used at that time as a table since they still remember the hotdogs!
And here are some of the images of Flo captured while she was up on the stage.
Finlay wasn’t as sure about the stage as Flo. So he would happily jump up for a hotdog, sit for a photo then jump down again. It took a little longer but we got there with him.
One of the nice things about smaller dogs is there is lots of things you can put them in like the apple crate bed in the following images. Suitcases are also fun and lots of people love seeing their dogs in them.
Peanut butter on the nose makes for fun shots of them pulling funny faces and licking their nose.
The bubbles we use in the studio are peanut butter flavoured and dogs just love them.
As well as the smaller beds and suitcases, I have some chairs in the studio to use during the shoots. When using the chairs I always put the paper right down onto the floor, so they don’t injury them selves if they decided to jump down.
You can see here Flo is happy to do anything you ask in return for some hotdogs.
Finlay isn’t Flo’s biggest fan so when it came to sharing the chair with her, we had to use his lead to keep him there. He finds it a little undignified getting made to pose with the destroyer of his peace and quiet at home, he dreams of the days of being an only dog.
Bryan and Stacey were thrilled I was able to get photos of them together and quite surprised!
Here are a couple more of Finlay since Flo has been hogging the show.
One of the hazards/pleasures of having to be so close to the ground while photographing is puppy cuddles!!!
I always try to captured a range of images from simple portraits, to action shots and some times incorporating their owners like with Bryan and his cool tattoos.
It’s all about having fun and creating great images that you can really treasure.
Confession time… before I got a studio I hated the idea of photographing dogs in the studio. I probably had a similar image of a studio session as a lot of people do, stressed dogs lacking personality. However that couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve found the studio sessions to be really fun and relaxed, and I truly feel I’m able to capture lots of personality in the images. There is nothing better than inviting people back to view the images and hearing them gasp with excitement when they come across the images that perfectly sum up their furry family member.
I’m incredibly proud of the images I’m creating in the studio and thankful to all the people that have trusted me to create images of their pets that get turned into beautiful wall art.
People are always commenting on how much more I’ve managed to capture than they thought, and how clear and vibrant the images are.
I’m really thankful for Bryan and Stacey for taking these wonderful images of me, I really hope you can see how much I love what I do.
You really should check out Bryan and Stacey’s work on their website – Picturesque, by Mr and Mrs M. They photograph weddings and especially love working with fun creative couples whether it’s a trendy city wedding in Glasgow or an elopement up the top of a hill at Glencoe. They also do lovely family and couples shoots (we are booked in for a wedding anniversary shoot next year!), and are more than happy for you to bring your dog along.
Here is a photo of them (I’m not jealous in the slightest that their gear is nice and clean, I much prefer mines covered in mud, slobber and peanut butter…not!) followed by some of their work.
Our studio is based in Falkirk, central Scotland. Just a short trip from both Glasgow and Edinburgh, and only a couple of minutes drive from the Kelpies and the Helix park. We specialise in Pet Photography – animals aren’t a part of our business, they are the whole of it. We just love having lots of interesting animals in from dogs and cats to parrots and snakes. We will love you for ever more if you bring goats and pigs in… please someone bring them in!