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Monthly Archives: April 2016

It’s time for part two of my Tails of Sydney outtakes. (Part one is here if you missed it.)

I had a hard time choosing Bella and Tilly’s outtake, because their shoot consisted mostly of outtakes! These dear little old ladies would have much preferred to be at home curled up in a lap than standing on the steps of St John’s Cathedral in Parramatta, and at 15 years of age I think that’s completely fair enough.

Two little old dogs standing on church step at St John’s Cathedral in Paramatta

Apparently the book will have 99 spreads featuring dogs and one featuring a drowned rat! I was lucky to get any photos of Edie the Griffon, she had us laughing so much. Her session was in Hyde Park where she had a ball doing forbidden zoomies through the water feature.

grifon running through fountain in hyde park sydney

I already blogged Jake and Mack’s session but you can never have too much of these two, so here’s their outtake from their shoot in Woolwich

two brindle staffys sitting in front of sydney skyline at Woolwich ferry wharf

Photographing Aurora the Samoyed at Luna Park was one of my favourite shoots so far. All of those bright colours and a really well behaved dog were the stuff of pet photographer’s dreams! Much as I love this photo it won’t be in the book because not long after I took it, just as we had finished packing up and were about to head home, they switched on the lights at the entrance and it was just magical. We re-assumed position, at the spot marked by Aurora’s drool, and took a bunch more photos of the prettiness. I smiled all the way home. Big thanks to Luna Park for giving me permission to shoot there.

samoyed lying in front of luna park entrance big clown face

Being a senior Max got to have his Tails of Sydney session early on in the project. This chipper looking Jack Russell is almost 16. He’s mostly deaf, going blind, lost half his liver to cancer four years ago but there ain’t a thing wrong with his sense of smell! To get to the lighthouse at Cremorne Point we had to climb down a rusty old ladder. If that’s the scariest thing I have to do during this whole process I’ll be more than happy.

Very old Jack Russell dog at Cremorne Point Lighthouse

Morris and Blue’s shoot got off to a pretty rocky start with the youngest star wanting to be anywhere other than in front of my camera. Luckily I carry a very big bag of tricks and I eventually found some things that he felt were fair payment for his cooperation. I even managed to get him to crack a few smiles! They had their shoot at the Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability in Waverton. It’s usually very quiet but I managed to book the session on the same evening as an Earth Hour event being held there. Thankfully I’d already found the best toy in the world by the time the crowds started arriving so these two were putty in my slobber covered hands.

A Groodle and a Border Collie smiling at Waverton Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability

Unlike all the other outtakes I’ve been posting I can’t confidently say that this photo won’t be in the book because Cosmo (on the left) was … how should I put this … a little less than cooperative that day! While Bindi was flashing her winning smile from one end of the shoot to the other, her mate was making frequent breaks for the border. In his defence though, like the nursery rhyme, when he was good he was very very good 😉

Two senior pit bull type dogs at Gladesville Bridge in Drummoyne

You already met Frank in my before and after post last week. Him and his people got up very early for their shoot at Mackenzies Bay on Easter Saturday. When I was there I learned that the bay, a little nook between Bondi and Tamarama, turns into Mackenzies Beach every seven years. I love how much this project is teaching me about Sydney – I might become a tour guide when it’s over!

Blue roan Cocker Spaniel posing on rocks at Tamarama

When I contacted The Grounds of Alexandria to ask if I could do a Tails of Sydney shoot there I didn’t have high hopes, so when they came back with “we’d love that, WE LOVE DOGS” I was overjoyed! Tom the Boston Terrier is a local and according to his questionnaire he’s a quick learner and loves food, so he got the gig. You all know by now how much I love squishy faced dogs and their clown antics, Tom didn’t disappoint. He kept us entertained for the whole shoot and did everything asked of him, and a few laps of honour that no one asked for!

Brindle boston terrier lying on bench at The Grounds of Alexandria

Louie was one of the first applications I received for my #tailsofsydney project and I remember sending the photo to my friend with a giant “LOOK AT THAT FACE”! Louie is a flyball dog that’s constantly on the move. Putting the life ring down didn’t only help paint a picture of where we were (Chowder Bay), it also provided a slight barrier to keep the fidget in the one spot, even if it was only for brief moments at a time.

Louie posed for me on a stand up paddle board earlier in the shoot. You’ll have to wait for the book to see that one though.

Pug mix with underbite standing in life ring on wharf at Chowder Bay

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for the next block of ten outtakes in a month’s time!

Back in 2010 I photographed two Dobermanns for a lovely couple who, from memory, were some of my first “proper” clients. Sure I’d done a lot of portfolio building and a tonne of pro-bono work but this was the real thing, what I’d worked so hard for, and I was quietly terrified. I guess I did ok because earlier this year they hired me again! Bindi and Ralf have since passed and they now have two rescue blockheads, Jake and Mack. A few weeks ago I went to their house for a Portrait Session and then we went on-location for a Tails of Sydney shoot, so they could be in the book too.

It was a pretty hot day so I was delighted to walk into their new home and find the air con was on, it was bright, architecturally designed and suitable for indoor photos. After a little tour I decided to start with Mack. It was then that I realised he’s Daddy’s boy and Jake is Mommy’s boy and neither was happy that they’d been taken away from their favourites. Mack wanted to run back downstairs and Jake wouldn’t stay down!

brindle staffy waiting at door

brindle pitbull type lying on stairs

I tried all sorts of things to make inside work but it wasn’t to be and the dogs were getting stressed so we headed outside.

brindle pitbull type looking up and smiling

brindle pitbull type smiling

I found Jake’s weakness – a squeaky ball. He would do anything for it!

brindle dog playing with blue ball

smiling old pit bull type

Mack was happy to work for food. All of the food.

smiling staffy in a drop

brindle staffordshire bull terrier

He was partial to the tug toy as well. I was no match for him so he got to keep it!

brindle staffy tugging on a toy

On the way to the car I took some photos of Nick with his gym buddy. I’m guessing Mack’s muscles keep him inspired to pump that iron.

dog and owner in gym

When we got to Woolwich Dock I realised I’d actually been there three years ago to do rescue photos. (I have such a rubbish memory!) There are some very fancy boats there, including Wild Oats and Andiamo. The boys aren’t allowed off lead but I have plenty of easily photoshopped leads so keeping them safe was not an issue.

two brindle dogs at woolwich dock

Nick and Anna mentioned that they’d like headshots of each boy to hang with the headshots of Bindi and Ralf from their previous shoot. I had a noisemaker they hadn’t heard yet and it worked a charm to get these expressions in a distracting setting.

smiling staffy with head tilt

smiling senior staffy mix

I had planned to go to a lovely spot down by the water next but there was a wedding party and lots of children so we decided to head to the wharf instead. Can you imagine if this is where you started your commute to work every morning? You’d find it hard to complain, right?

two brindle dogs at woolwich wharf

two brindle staffies in front of Sydney skyline

By the time we wrapped up everyone was fairly tired and Jake pretty much summed up the mood with this gem!

pit bull type in car sticking out tongue

The two-legged members of the pack came to view their photos recently and chose a large metal print, a 12×12″ album and the digital collection. Here’s the print that will join Ralf and Bindi’s metal prints (if you want to see it full size you’ll have to wait for Tails of Sydney to be published). I’ll share an album flip through on my Instagram at some point.


If you’ve been thinking about getting your pets photographed I recommend you do it in the next six months, while it’s not too hot or stormy. You’ll find all the info on my website under the pricing tab (including some FAQs and a booking form).

If you’re viewing this from your phone, or you received this post via email, you won’t have the fancy before and after slider.

I don’t post before and afters very often because I feel they open me up to a tonne of hate from purists who think this amount of editing is “cheating”. In my darkroom back in my film days I would do all sorts of whacky stuff to get different effects so I don’t think that digital editing is any less part of the craft. Plus and it comes with the bonus of no carcinogenic chemicals, win!

This was the first shot I took of Frank in this series of images for his spread in my Tails of Sydney book and it was a test to see if the balance between my flash and the ambient light was correct. It wasn’t what I was aiming for but I love Frank’s expression so I decided to do some work on it. The before is completely RAW and straight out of camera. The after is a combination of editing done in Lightroom and Photoshop. You’ll see I moved the surfer so he was still part of the story but not so close to Frank’s ear.



You’ll be able to see more of Frank when the book comes out. Only another 79 shoots to go!