Wednesday, 30 July 2014

How to Take Photos of your Dog in the North East...

...Using flash, a Nikon 24-70mm lens and some Yongnuo 622n Triggers.

Well, today's plan was to head up to Roseberry Topping in North Yorkshire but at the very last minute, I changed my mind - mostly because the original hairy dog was doing his nut in the boot of the car ( it's an estate car, bought purely to transport the afore-mentioned mutt ).  Instead, we made a left turn and ended up at The Secret Garden in Sunderland.  Sunderland has some nice bits and some awful bits.  This is one of the nice bits.

In my bag was a Nikon SB-800 flashgun, an eBay beauty dish, an eBay reflector ( basically a bit of material with silver on one side and black on the other, with velcro all round - a bit like Neil van Niekerk's black foamy thing), an umbrella, a light stand and a bracket.  Lots of my dog photography sessions involve a loooong walk so weight is always a consideration.  I also took along a Nikon D700, the 24-70mm lens and a couple of Yuongno 622n triggers - the best in the business, so far, bar none.

My intention was to compare flash modifiers - bare flash, shoot through brolly, reflected brolly, beauty dish and a Sto-Fen diffuser.  Needless to say, I'm already very well aware that a BIG flash bounced off a brolly will give the softest light but I was interested to see what would happen using all of the above on a sunny day with a white dog.  This is what Google calls, "original research" and the good people at Google love that stuff.  Show me another blog with white dogs and modifiers.  I dare you.


Here's the reflected brolly shot.  I do understand that much of this is meaningless without the ISO, aperture, f-stop etc but I show these purely to advise on the quality of light, rather than the tech specs...

dog photography by hairy dog in sunderland, doxford

This is the shoot through brolly shot - notice that the light is a bit harder than above.

This is the eBay Beauty Dish - look at that harsh shadow.

And on to the silver reflector velcroed on to the flash gun.  Easily the lightest, most portable modifier.

Sunderland dog photographer, jamie emerson, hairy dog photography
Back to the shoot through brolly for the next few...

My first ever Hairy Dog photoshoot utilised this stump, so it's a special place, cheers Terry and Benson, R.I.P.

doxford park pet photography by hairy dog in the north east
At this point, a friendly chap showed up with two Chow-Chows.  My lights were already set up and he was pleased to have a few photos taken of mother and daughter.

secret garden portrait photography by hairy dog
Sadly, these Chow-Chows seemed incapable of keeping their eyes open for more than five seconds :-D

Artistic pet photographer and photographic portraits north east
This is what I do.  Fine art pet photography in the north east.  Thoughtful dog.

Do feel free to visit the site, leave a comment or just hold some of this info / these images in your head for a few hours.  When I set out this afternoon, I already knew that a big flash reflected off a big brolly would give the softest light.  I knew what settings on the camera would give a dark background, I knew what settings would allow the ambient light to permeate.  But it's always worth a quick round of experimentation, especially with new kit.  Every day's a school day :-D

Monday, 30 June 2014

Half Price Dog Photoshoot Offer - Limited to just 10 spaces - July Only.

It's not very often I run any special offers here at Hairy Dog Photography but if we're going to have another hopelessly muddy, wet Winter ( and I'm sure we will! ) then I'd like to make the most of the beautiful sunny weather we're having now.  Not to mention the amazing palette of every shade of green in the visible spectrum in the north east countryside!

So, the deal is, a half price, hour long photo session pretty much anywhere in the north east ( including Durham, Northumberland, Darlington, Newcastle and Sunderland ), a half price montage design and a half price full size, hi-res download of the finished design.  That's just £65 instead of £130!  The finished montage can be printed up to one metre on the long side as often as you like.  I just send you the link and you download it to your computer or memory stick with one easy click.  If you're buying as a gift, just let me know and I'll send you one of our glossy gift voucher cards in a fitted envelope.

Here's the link to buy your deal,right at the top of the page: Half price north east dog portraits

Here's an example of what the finished montage design will look like.  You can choose up to 12 photos but often, less is more.

north east dog portrait voucher code by hairy dog photography

There are still the usual options to buy further prints / downloads but absolutely no obligation or pressure at all.  Please feel free to call me ( Jamie ) on 07866127732 for a chat, or visit the Hairy Dog Photography website here: Specialist dog portraiture in the north east

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Misty day Dog Photography, Portable Studios and Wasted Energy

Jamie Emerson runs Hairy Dog Photography in the North East of England covering Durham, Newcastle, Darlington, Northumberland and beyond.  Bespoke pet photographer, specialising in outdoor, lifestyle portraiture.

Almost every time I step out for a dog walk...

...I'll have a camera of some kind with me.  Sometimes I'll also have high hopes of a decent photograph but usually it's purely force of habit.  Today looked 'interesting' outside - huge rolling fog banks drifting through hollows, causing trees to suddenly loom up before being immediately wreathed in mist again.

So rather than the usual point and shoot, or small DSLR with one small, prime lens, I hefted one of the big cameras into my rucksack along with the monstrous 70-200mm lens.  A weighty combo.  I'm sure that most of us have gone for a walk with a camera, only to return home without the blooming thing leaving its bag.  Well, I do that a lot, so if I have the 'Big Guns' with me, I pretty much force myself to take at least one photo.And yes, it was pretty much a waste of effort - what should have been a set of beautiful, ghostly, ethereal photos was in reality, some photos of greyness with hints of tree...

Photo of a misty Durham landscape by Jamie Emerson of Hairy Dog

Pet photographer Jamie Emerson walks through a misty Durham field

Newbottle Church in heavy mist by Jamie Emerson

In light of the lack of visible subject matter, I reverted to my default setting of dog photographer and got one passable shot of Kasper in the woods, where the fog was less thick.  So at least carrying the big camera for a few miles wasn't a complete waste of effort!

Dog photographer Jamie Emerson of Hairy Dog

In other news, I recently visited Charlie the Spaniel in Byker, Newcastle for an indoor pet portrait photography session.  My portable studio squeezes into surprisingly small spaces and although I do specialise in outdoor, lifestyle portrait work, I'm equally at home in a studio and always relish the chance to get creative with the lighting.  Charlie and his people behaved admirably throughout - you can see his full gallery here on the hairy dog website.

bespoke dog photography in north east by hairy dog

If you'd like to book your dog in for a session, please feel free to pop over to the main Hairy Dog website to learn more or get in touch using the hairy dog contact page.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Coffee table photo books

Beautiful hardcover little black books!

Lots of people are not so good about making up their minds - it's the human condition.  Faced with 40 beautiful photos of a favourite dog, it's not surprising - most of my clients want all of them!

For all these people, may I introduce my Little Black Books.  These are 14 page albums containing 26 photographs from your session.  They're a lovely, dinky size at 7x5".  The pages are top quality photographic paper bonded to a really super-thick substrate.  The quality really is amazing.  So much better than any of the online photobooks available.  Just the perfect solution for those who can't decide which are their favourites.

Here's what they look like...

newcastle dog and pet portrait photographer, jamie emerson
You may choose to have printing on the front cover

Super-thick pages are UV laminated for a very long life

dog photographer north east, jamie emerson
Photographic paper ensures brilliant, vibrant colours

As always, please do take a minute to look through my dog photography from all over the north east and just call Jamie Emerson on 07866127732 to book your session or to ask any questions.  See you on the dog walk :-)

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Durham Dog Walks in the Sunshine!

Today's sunny Springtime walk with lots of photographs...

Here at Hairy Dog Photography, Kasper the dog and I are always overjoyed when the first signs of Spring start to show on our local walks around Durham.  The wild garlic coming through, blue skies and proper sunshine (!), the first splashes of green.  Grand!

We had Finlay the baby with us today too - he seemed to enjoy it as much as Kasper and I.  The notion struck me to take my least used lens today - a 14mm Samyang fisheye (stupidly wide angled lens).  It's a lot of fun but sees very little use as it's a bit, well, silly really.  It's good for the odd shot at a wedding and has even made the occasional appearance at a Hairy Dog photoshoot but for the most part, it's sadly neglected.

Really enjoyed using it today - it's obviously very limiting and pretty soft until it's stopped down to f8 or thereabouts but it is always interesting!  The manual focus is a challenge too, especially with a fast moving dog...

If you'd like a photo session with your dog, or know someone who might, please don't hesitate to get in touch through the Hairy Dog site.  Pet photography gift vouchers are available too and are always a lovely present.  If you just want to know what it's all about, take a look through the galleries and the "About" page.

jamie emerson, hairy dog photography, pet photographer north east, durham dog photographer, newcastle pet portraits

I think you'll find this is a public footpath...

jamie emerson, hairy dog photography, pet photographer north east, durham dog photographer, newcastle pet portraits
First port of call - Mallygill Woods ( Jamie Emerson, Hairy Dog Photography ).

jamie emerson, hairy dog photography, pet photographer north east, durham dog photographer, newcastle pet portraits

This is what the 14mm Samyang lens looks like at f2.8.  Not so good for bridal portraits :-D

jamie emerson, hairy dog photography, pet photographer north east, durham dog photographer, newcastle pet portraits
Moorhouse Woods dog walk, Durham, by Jamie Emerson

jamie emerson, hairy dog photography, pet photographer north east, durham dog photographer, newcastle pet portraits

I love what the Samyang lens does to the edges of the frame at f2.8.

jamie emerson, hairy dog photography, pet photographer north east, durham dog photographer, newcastle pet portraits

Just checking he's still there...

If you do want to book a dog portrait session, please feel free to call me (Jamie Emerson) on 07866127732, or just drop me an email on

You can also visit my main Dog Photography Website and have a look round the galleries.

See you on the dog walk!