ruthless photos – sydney dog photographer » sydney's premier pet photographer

Masthead header

Monthly Archives: May 2016

I always start my adoptables blog posts with “it’s that time of the month again” before remembering why I never should start a blog post like that! There’s only so many ways that I can say “WOULD YOU LOOK AT ALL THESE ADORABLE FACES” so I’ll just be quiet and let you enjoy them in peace.

If you received this blog post by email, please click on the heading to open in a web browser so you can view the gallery properly. Click on the first image to open and then scroll using the next and back buttons or the arrow keys on your keyboard.

These dogs and puppies were all rescued by Fetching Dogs. Some of the puppies have already started adoption trials. Be good puppies!

Are you ready for part three of my Tails of Sydney outtakes? (Previous posts can be seen here if you missed them.) I like seeing them all together each month and feeling a sense of achievement. It’s been one hell of a ride so far!

Bison the Boerboel took lying down on the job to a whole other level at his shoot in the Botanic Gardens. When a 65kg puppy (that’s right, he’s still growing) decides he’s lying down you just have to go along with it.

Brindle South African Boerboel dog at Sydney Botanic Gardens lying on side with tug toy in mouth

Reagan and Jake had their shoot at Sydney Olympic Park. It was the perfect location for two dogs that can’t be off-lead, there were plenty of things to tether them to! I later found out that one of the other participants in this project (also a Doberman owner) has her name etched on one of those poles as she volunteered at the Olympics.

Big dog Doberman standing over little dog Corgi at Sydney Olympic Park

We got up extra extra early for Lola’s session in Manly. The sunrise was SO pretty and our model did a superb job of not changing her expression the whole entire time – she’d make a great poker player!

Small dog standing in sculpture at Manly Corso in Sydney

Boo had her shoot at Woolloomooloo Wharf. If she looks sad it’s because her favourite ball had just fallen in the water, DEVASTATION!

Black and white dog standing at Woolloomooloo Wharf in Sydney

Beaucoup’s shoot was at Milsons Point. I’d been to this spot at the start of the project with another dog but the trains on the Harbour Bridge above were too much for her. As a (very successful) show dog Beaucoup is used to hustle and bustle and standing around so she wasn’t bothered one bit by the sounds of the city.

Vizsla standing under Sydney Harbour Bridge with Sydney Opera House in the background

Allie (ex Fetching Dogs) and Max (ex SDCH) had their shoot at Cronulla, their hood. When my alarm goes off on the morning of a sunrise shoot I wonder what the hell I was thinking booking the session for that time but when I get to the location and see how pretty the sky is it makes it all worthwhile.

If you’ve been following my work for a long time you might recognise Max – I did his adoption photos a few years ago and he did that same head tilt for me. I never met Allie when she was in foster care but I did photograph her two siblings. I thought they were Jack Russell mixes so I was surprised to see how big she’d grown!

Two white dogs at Cronulla Beach at sunrise

Jess Honeysuckle had her #tailsofsydney shoot on a beautiful Autumn day last week. She may be almost 12 and arthritic but she still loves fetching her tennis ball. She loves something else more though – water. I think she chased the ball twice before deciding that the duck pond looked very inviting. Lucky it was the end of her session.

Old Golden Retriever running with ball in Autumn leaves

This was Ziggy Stardust’s official Tails of Sydney outtake. I’ve only agreed to do a shoot at Sydney Park once before because it’s a realllly distracting environment for even the most well trained dogs. As a rescue dog who hasn’t been owned for all that long I was a bit concerned about doing Ziggy’s shoot there but, apart from a few times when her need to run kicked in, she really impressed me. Her person brought a lot of roast chicken, that may have helped.

Brindle whippet or greyhound dog licking nose at sunset at Sydney Park

Most of you will have met these two legends before. We had lots of fun during Flynn and Doug’s session in the back streets of the inner west. It was hard to pick an outtake because I reallllly want to share a money shot but I’ll have to wait, because I said at the start that I’m saving the best for the book and I’m going to stick to it!

Two kelpies standing on bin in front of graffiti on May Lane in Sydney

You may have noticed there are only nine photos here, instead of ten. One is a surprise for the owner so I have to keep it under wraps for now. All I can tell you is it’s a very cute puppy and it’s killing me to have to keep it a secret!

Miffy, the 12yo Keeshond x German Shepherd x Mastiff x some other breeds (according to her DNA test), had a portrait session on my recent trip to Canberra. Her people thought she was going to be a challenge, and when I pulled up and heard her barking her head off I thought the same, but she actually surprised us all.

headshot of old dog with grey muzzle

We kept her on lead for much of the shoot because, despite her seniority and arthritis, she was still considered a flight risk. I reckon she wouldn’t have strayed far from the nice treat lady though.

senior dog on cobblestones

Miffy was adopted from ACT RSPCA when she was a puppy and has been very loved for all twelve of her years. I think that’s why time has been so kind to her.

smiling old dog

smiling old dog profile

Once it was deemed that the park was quiet enough, and there were enough of us to catch her if she tried to make a break for the border, she was unclipped to chase the ball a few times. There’s still plenty of drive left in this lady!

black dog running with pink ball

We leashed her up again for some shots at the entrance of the park. While we were there a people photographer was briefing his subjects for the shoot they were about to start, they were all very impressed with Miffy’s modeling. I was grateful that she didn’t make me look like a hack.

dog giving side eye at park

Canberra in Autumn is so pretty. If you wanted to get me down there for another weekend of portrait sessions next year you wouldn’t even have to ask me nicely.

dog lying beside lake burley griffin

smiling old dog with sunburst at lake

Miffy’s owners finalised their order recently and this canvas trilogy will make up part of their collection. Joining it will be a 12×12″ album, all the digital files and a phone cover.

ruthlessphotos-trilogy

I get asked for basic tips on how people can take better photos of their pets A LOT so I decided to put this information, that I prepared for my appearance on The Morning Show, on my blog so it can be easily shared.

ten tips for taking better photos of your dog

Ruthless Photos’ ten tips for taking better photos of your dog
1. Create a positive association with the camera
Introduce the camera slowly by firing off some shots near the dog while doing something that it enjoys – stroking it, feeding it, playing with it, etc. Teach them from early on that the camera/phone is nothing to fear.

2. Bribe them with their favourite thing – toy, treat, empty toilet roll, whatever works
No one likes working for free, use your dog’s favourite things to keep them interested in the job at hand.

3. Use noise to get their attention
Many craft shops sell the squeaker for soft toys and most dogs will stop what they’re doing and look at you when they hear that squeak. You might even be lucky and get a head-tilt.

4. Get down to their level
While shooting from above can be a really effective way to photograph dogs, try getting down to their level sometimes to show the world from a dog’s eye view.

5. Use soft natural light, not flash or harsh sunlight
Unless you know how to use off camera lighting I recommend that you avoid shooting with flash or in full sun. Your photos will be much more pleasing if you place your subject in soft natural light or open shade.

6. Always aim to get the eyes sharp – the eyes are the window to the soul after all!
Unless you’re specifically choosing to be artistic by focusing elsewhere your photo will look best if the eyes are sharp. If you don’t know how to achieve that with your DSLR read the section in your manual that explains how to change and move your AF point.

7. Look out for background clutter
Things like washing lines and wheelie bins can ruin a photo. Don’t just look at your dog in the viewfinder, look at the whole scene and adjust your position if there are things behind your subject that aren’t very pretty. Another thing to look out for is trees and lamp posts that appear to be growing out of your dog’s head.

8. Use a fast shutter speed
Most cameras (even some phone cameras) will allow you to manually set the ISO, aperture and shutter speed. Learning how these settings work together is the first step in taking better photos. Setting your shutter speed to 1/500 or more (you can use auto ISO and the TV setting until your have a full understanding of manual controls) will help reduce the chance of getting blurry photos from camera shake or your dog moving slightly.

9. Take lots of photos
Dogs aren’t robots and unless you have a highly trained one you’ll probably need to take several photos to get just one money shot. Be grateful you’re shooting digital and not film!

10. Keep it fun, don’t get impatient or frustrated, reward often
​I’ve mentioned rewarding your dog three times now because it’s such an important​ part of the process. If your dog isn’t having fun or you get angry when it doesn’t do what you want you’ll struggle to get good photos. If you find yourself getting frustrated put your camera away and go play with your dog instead. You’ll both be glad you did.

Standby, a whole lot of cute is about to happen! All of these puppies are already adopted but I figured I’d share them anyway, cause who doesn’t love puppy photos, amiright?!

If you received this blog post by email, please click on the heading to open in a web browser so you can view the gallery properly. Click on the first image to open and then scroll using the next and back buttons or the arrow keys on your keyboard.

These puppies were all rescued and rehomed by Fetching Dogs.