When I first saw baby Willow in a photo taken at one of Take a Lead‘s puppy school classes I fell in love. She had wrinkles for days and looked so soft and velvety. Like nearly every dog with a social media account I clicked the follow button. Quite a few months later I had a request for a gift voucher. When I found out it was for Willow’s owner I was beyond excited. At 10 months of age, with two elbow surgeries already under her belt, this beautiful redhead was ready for her close up.

Dogue de Bordeaux sitting on black and white seat with head tilt

We started at her home where I was guaranteed her undivided attention. She was a pro from the get-go, modelling up a storm.

Dogue de Bordeaux sitting on black and white seat looking serious

The shoot wasn’t without it’s diva moments though, where she let me know she’d had enough of this whole doing what she was told business.

Dogue de Bordeaux lying with head on black cushion looking bored and sad

Big red dog with wrinkles looking curious

French mastiff sitting in leather armchair

When I was finished putting her on all the furniture at home we packed up and went to the park. Sit and stay off lead at a distance. Nice job Willow, all of the treats for you!

Dogue de Bordeaux sitting on grass in tree lined area of park

Given her recent surgeries we could only do a small amount of action photos but that was ok because she gave me a huge amount of ridiculous running faces. I found it hard to narrow it down to just one for this post.

Dogue de Bordeaux running towards camera looking goofy with red ball at the park

It was time for a rest after that. A rest and a munch on the nearest stick.

French mastiff dog lying on the grass chewing on a stick

We went deep into the trees next for a totally different backdrop. Willow continued to pose it up like a supermodel.

Dogue de Bordeaux sitting in the woods looking over shoulder

Dogue de Bordeaux standing in forest side on to camera with head tilt

We finished our shoot at the top of this stone set of stairs. You might recognise the first shot from Instagram. I posted a picture of the Christmas card I received from Willow’s people that features it along with the words “Merry Everything”. It’s perfect!

wrinkly red dog sitting on top step looking down at camera with a big sad face

When your subject does this after close to two hours of shooting you take it as a sign that they’ve given you their best work and it’s time to pack up!

Dogue de Bordeaux lying with head on top step in front of blue sky looking miserable

Not long afterwards it was Willow’s first birthday. Like any self-respecting dog owner they threw her a party! But this wasn’t your average run-of-the-mill “cake in the dog park” kinda party. This was meticulously styled by her owner and when I turned up to photograph it, before the guests arrived, I felt positively robbed that I’ve never had a party that looked so pretty.

styled dog birthday party with cake

After several thwarted attempts to get into the cake that clearly had her name on it so was for eating right now, Willow accepted that sitting close to it was the best she could expect.

big red mastiff dog sitting under table at birthday party

One thing I learned that day was the importance of buying an entire packet of tiny gold crowns for the dog’s first birthday photoshoot … some might turn into a highly prized tug toy before you get the money shot!

Dogue de Bordeaux wearing tiny gold paper crown sitting in front of balloons at styled dog's first birthday party

If this photo doesn’t make you full of all of the joy in the world you really should speak to your doctor. The confetti, the backdrop, the tiny crown, the expression. It’s all.too.much. Quite possibly my favourite photo of 2017.

Dogue de Bordeaux wearing tiny gold paper crown catching pink confetti with her mouth in front of balloons at styled dog's first birthday party

Because pretty clouds were important, and didn’t show up for me the first day, we did another quick shoot down by the water shortly afterwards. It was super windy but when you’re as big as a small horse the only part of you that gets blown around is your ears. I just love these last two photos of her, they really show her silly side.

Dogue de Bordeaux head shot with off camera lighting in front of sky with funny face

Dogue de Bordeaux standing on rock at water at sunset lit with off camera flash the wind caught her ear

This is a composite of the framed wall collection that her people now have hanging in their hallway …

three photos of a Dogue de Bordeaux on a wall

… and you can see a digital flip-through of the 12×12″ custom designed album I made for them over on my Instagram.

You too could have photos like this of your dog. Stop putting it off, email me now to book a session!

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