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LEARNING TO PHOTOGRAPH GUNDOGS.

Hannie recently booked to come along to one of our dog photography workshops, but when the weather turned and we needed to reschedule the group we had a decision to make.


Hannie was coming from the Netherlands for a weeks holiday and so it wasn't just as easy as re-arranging the date. We decided we would go ahead and turn the day into a 1-2-1 session.


The fog that had been lingering for a few days, refused to budge and it really did look set to be a dismal day.

We started with a run down of

where Hannie was with her photography, her kit, and what she really wanted to learn and take away from the day. Mostly outdoor and action photography, so we started in the studio !!!.


Travelling from the Netherlands for a holiday, Hannie also had her dogs with her. So rather than using our tried and tested models, we opted to give her young Lancashire Heeler, Woody a try.


And what a super star he proved to be.


We set the studio to reflect that he is a working dog and after talking through the required settings, Hannie got to work.





We stopped to have some lunch and a review of the morning session, and worked through a spot of editing and we were both delighted with the images that had been captured.


Hannie was due to be out photographing on a shoot the following day, and was keen to try and improve her action photography. With a small break in the weather, we grabbed the opportunity, loaded a couple of dogs into the truck and headed for the moors.


We geared the afternoon around gundogs and picking up and worked at making the environment as authentic as we could ( If you aren't keen on seeing game , then the next few pictures won't be for you !!) . The light was tricky, and Hannie had to work at keeping her exposure and shutter speed balanced, whilst learning to read how the dogs were running across the ground and where would make the ideal shot.


We started with some flat ground to make sure the settings were correct and to give Hannie a chance to 'get her eye in', and then moved on to retrieving through heather, reeds and rushes, which would be very similar to what she would be shooting in the following day.


George, the Orange Roan Cocker and Kes, the Black Labrador where our dogs for the afternoon. George decided that Hannie was his new best friend and that her lap was the best place to be.


Two very different types of dog. Not only in colour but also in speed and movement across the ground. Both had their challenges.


Switching from a black dog to a white/orange dog, obviously meant concentrating on what the cameras light meter was saying, made doubly difficult by the tricky light conditions.




When we are out and about on the moor, I make a point of explaining to students that their feet aren't glued to the ground and that if to achieve a better shot they need to move, then move !!!


I also encourage students to create their own shots rather than relying on what I set up. That way they learn to look for the shot and see the composition for themselves.


When out on a shoot it's very easy to get carried away with just capturing the retrieve, so we took a moment to capture some portraits just before we lost the light. Dont' forget to always be aware of what is going on around you. Interaction between dogs and owners often makes for some fabulous images.



Back to the ranch for a cuppa and another review, and to discuss what we had learnt during the day. A discussion on how we could progress with some editing lessons and the day was finished.


A couple of hours later, a lovely message from Hannie.


" Hi, many thanks for today this was amazing and really what I needed to come back on track and move forwards! So kind of you to spend so much time on me and you explained it all so well, will download the photo's and clear the card for tomorrow. Again many many thanks, you are so brilliant"


If you are looking to improve your photography, whether that be studio or outdoor action/portraits, or both, then a 1-2-1 session can really help. Focusing on where you feel you need improvement or even if you are just starting out - the day is designed fully around your needs.


For further information have a look at the website or give Caroline a call on 07798 883142.











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