Monday, 30 July 2018

Aberdeenshire Dog Photography, Holidays at Home, Chickens, Ticks and Other Observations...

Another few weeks have passed in a hot, hazy daze.  Our little family were on holiday for a few of those weeks and as always, steps were taken to ensure the hairiest member of the household could join us.  Who needs the South of France anyway?  It's been so gorgeous here I wouldn't have had it any other way.  By "here" I mean Aberdeen - the holidays were enjoyed on Skye and Portsoy.

Not perhaps the best of times for dog photography sessions - the heat has caused a few postponements and quite rightly so.  Evenings are often best at this time of the year anyway, especially with active or elderly animals.

Just before the heat kicked in, I was out in the countryside meeting a couple of very lovely dogs for an evening session but before I even reached the front door, I was captivated by the friendly chickens running round the yard.  Would have been rude not to take a few photos but I can't imagine you'll be seeing a full time chicken photographer website any time soon...

Photo of a chicken by Jamie Emerson

Both these dogs were just lovely to work with - very distinct personalities.  Their owners had brought back some beautiful bandanas from their honeymoon ( see?  Even when we're not with them, we're always thinking about them! ) and I was keen to get them in shot.

Aberdeenshire dog photographer hairy dog

At any session, the idea is to get a really good variety of photographs for the owners.  Everything from heartfelt portraiture to full on, nuclear powered, paws off the ground action!

Dog portrait photography outdoors by Jamie Emerson

Blurred background photo of a dog by Jamie Emerson

As you can see, the light levels were pretty low and as the session progressed, it grew ever dimmer - no wonderful golden light on this evening.  So out came the strobes / flashguns.  In the photo below, it's hopefully not immediately apparent that extra light has been added - I try to keep it looking natural unless I'm going for off-the-scale drama.  If you have a close look though, you can see where Benson's legs and tail are slightly blurred through movement whilst a blink of diffused flash on a stand to the right has stopped the motion in his head and ears.  And believe me, Benson is a fast fellow so the flash was entirely warranted!

Hairy dog photography action photograph

Ticks - what are they for?!!

Finally, at this time of year, dogs spend their whole lives doing their best to become infested with ticks.  Seriously though, it's almost unavoidable if you walk in the Scottish countryside.  And with this infestation come the many, many posts on Facebook, along the lines of, "OMIGOD my dog has a tick, what shall I do??!"

And out come all the auld wives' tales.  Cover them in vaseline, put out a ciggy on them, spray frontline on it, rub widdershins round the tick until it falls off, only twist them clockwise, etc, etc.

I'm not about to start handing out advice on which tick-repellent works best but I can say for sure that all the above methods are a load of old toot and covering a tick with anything to "suffocate" it, rubbing at it to annoy it or burning it are all good ways to ensure the insect vomits directly into the host's bloodstream with the attendant risk of disease.

Kasper gets loads - below are a few phone snaps...  Sorry...  My method is to carefully part the fur without disturbing the tick - if it gets a fright, it'll bury in deeper - you can see it happening.  Then just grab it as close to the dog's skin as possible with tick teezers, normal tweezers or any other removal tool and wheech it oot smartly before it knows what's going on.  Simple and effective.  I've also used my thumbnail and index finger when tweezers haven't been available.

Large tick next to coin for scale

Yuck.  Anyway, happy Summer dog walking and do just get in touch if you'd like some beautiful, happy, sunny photos of your dogs :-)

Aberdeen dog photographer


Friday, 15 June 2018

How To Prepare For a Dog Photography Session with Hairy Dog.

Dog photography in and around Aberdeen is always going to be a bit hit or miss, given that despite it being Summer, we are still seeing a fair bit of haar and the odd rain shower.  I recently added an FAQ section to my website ( Hairy Dog Photography FAQs ) and am struggling a wee bit to remember all the questions I've been asked over the years.  Most potential issues can be preempted by a few sensible measures; take the dog(s) for a swift walk before the session, especially if they're a bit rambunctious, bring treats and toys but only if that's what the dog's used to, choose a dry walk if they've just been groomed, etc, etc.

With that in mind, please contact me though the Hairy Dog Photography Abedeen website if you can think of anything I should be adding to the list.  As always, I'm striving to make the whole experience enjoyable and stress free for both dogs and humans :-)

funny dog photo by hairy dog photography
Upstaged again...  I can't guarantee every photo will be a keeper!

One of the many joys of photographing dogs is that if it's dingin' doon with rain or hailstones, we can just reschedule.  After years of wedding photography, it took me several more years of photographing dogs to get used to the idea that it's OK to do this!  With weddings, obviously, there's less wiggle room (i.e., none) - you just have to get on and make the most of whatever's being thrown at you...

Black labrador jumping by Jamie Emerson, dog photographer Aberdeen

For outdoor sessions though, the one thing I do need is light.  Ideally, soft morning or evening light - golden hour if possible, or even glorious midday sunshine.  Sunset shoots can work very well, especially with older or less zoomy dogs.  I do use flash here and there, either for dramatic impact, to overcome very bright sunshine or if it's just plain dull.  It's also very useful in woods to stop the dappled light from creating patterns on the subject as it filters through the leaves - it just evens the light out nicely.

GSD photograph by Haiy Dog, Aberdeen photographer

The question asked more often than any other is, "My dog won't really sit still - how will you take his photo?"  A quick look through the Hairy Dog gallery or Hairy Dog Facebook page should put your mind at rest.  So far, I've never met a dog which can't be photographed (touch wood!).  And that includes greyhounds, whippets, mad spaniels and puppies with absolutely zero training.  It's amazing what a bit of patience, combined with a few squeaky toys and my ability to make all manner of weird noises can do!  Also, as the photos show, I do tend to specialise in a bit of action photography, as well as heartfelt portraiture.

Bonio ring and terrier by Jamie Emerson, Aberdeen dog photographer
Patience you must have, my young Padawan...

Bring the whole family on your Hairy Dog Photography session!
Beautiful black and white spaniel photograph by Hairy Dog Photography
Aberdeen dog photographer, Jamie Emerson of Hairy Dog

Aberdeen dog photographer, Jamie Emerson of Hairy Dog

Aberdeen dog photographer, Jamie Emerson of Hairy Dog, this is bokeh

Aberdeen dog photographer, Jamie Emerson of Hairy Dog, welsh springer

Swimming cockapoo by Aberdeen dog photographer, Jamie Emerson of Hairy Dog
He was just at the blooming groomers yesterday!!!   #@@#@!!****

Aberdeen dog photographer, Jamie Emerson of Hairy Dog

Aberdeen dog photographer, Jamie Emerson of Hairy Dog
Bulldog not chewing a wasp at a Hairy Dog Photography Session...
So if you're consideing a family photo session this Summer, or if it's just that you'd love some photos of the hairiest family member, do get in touch! There are a few special offers running right now - please like the Hairy Dog Facebook Page to get first look at current dog photography offers.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Dog Walks and Photography around Aberdeen

Hairy Dog Photography in Aberdeen

Since moving back home to Aberdeen late in 2017, I've been hugely enjoying finding all the most interesting dog walks straight from the new house at the West of the city.  And of course, the camera comes too if there's even a hint of decent light, so the dog now has an impressive photographic portfolio incorporating the beautiful Aberdeen landscape!

Hairy Dog Photography in Aberdeen

It's also been fantastic to find so many dog-friendly cafes and pubs throughout the region.  A good cup of coffee and perhaps a bit of cake on a Winter dog walk is always welcome and Kasper the dog is usually delighted to get into the warm for 20 minutes - some establishments even offer biscuits and water too!  Some of our newly discovered walks require a drive to get to and although I could start listing all the great places we've visited (or revisited) it's probably best if you enjoy discovering them yourself - all part of the fun and there are plenty of apps and Facebook groups for that sort of thing :-)

The website is now back up and running, Hairy Dog Photography has started to appear on Google and I've finally got round to updating my portfolio which you can see on the Facebook page or on the dog photography aberdeen gallery site.  Whilst updating the portfolio, I was happy to come across some lovely but neglected photos on various old hard drives - I'll pop a few up here.

pug photo, jumping pug dog photography, aberdeen

Given that dog photo gift vouchers fairly flew out the door at Christmas time, you can expect lots of interesting new locations to be featured on the blog and Hairy Dog Facebook page very soon.  I was in two minds about covering the whole of Aberdeenshire rather than just the city limits but am very glad I did so - wouldn't want to miss out on all the surrounding countryside and amazing photo opportunities!