It's National Dog Photography Day
26th July, 2023
It's no secret that dog parents love immortalising the image of mans best friend. Whether it's a photoshoot in the present day, medieval artwork, or all the way back to cavemen drawings. Throughout time there have been endless ways we have celebrated our four-legged companions.
Hello Kerry! So I think the most important question to start with is - why is dog photography so important to you?
I think anyone who has had their dog go over the rainbow bridge will agree with me that having photos of them though all stages of their life is one of the most comforting things that you can have when they are gone.
When I lost my old boy 2 years ago, the photographs I took of him were bitter sweet for a while, and then I loved looking back and remembering his antics. For a lot of people, like me, dogs are a huge part of our lives. Whether it’s getting a snap on a phone or getting a professional photoshoot so that when our memories fade a little we still have a visual – all of it is immensely important to me.
That's beautiful and will definitely resonate with so many of our dog parents out there. Can you remember any particular shoot or doggie model that stands out in your memory?
I did a session with a beautiful little whippet who’s owners had been told they didn’t think she would have much time left to live, which led to a very emotional shoot, lots of tears and cuddles, and lots of laughter as she still had light in her soul. And the lovely end to the story is that Lucy actually gave her humans more than another year with her.
The other one would be my first commercial pet shoot for dog attire. I couldn’t quite believe that I’d been asked to do it and was so nervous, but excited. It was a full on shoot with so many dogs and clothing changes. I learned a lot that day!
How incredible that you got to be a part of Lucy's story. Why did you decide to create National Dog Photography day?
As a business owner, you are always looking for content to create for social and emails – I was actually going through a content calendar with all the awareness days, and wondered how, and why, people create awareness days (like Ugly Truck Day!). That sent me down a bit of a rabbit hole about what day I would create, and then, how I would actually do it. There are websites where you can register your awareness days and news agencies log on to see what days are coming up – they don’t accept every one which is submitted, and I had to do a bit of convincing for mine, but I managed to get it on the UK database. Since then, there’s been a fantastic influx of dog awareness days.
That's awesome to hear! As a charity it's also great for us to be able to use days like this to spread awareness. How do you see dog photography being of help to charities like IAPWA?
Professional photography for dog charities is hugely important. I have volunteered to photograph dogs in action for Search & Rescue organisations in Surrey and Cornwall. The Surrey one had only just founded at the time and they say that high end photography can make or break a sponsorship deal, which is something a lot of charities rely on.
What inspired you to get into dog photography in the first place?
It was a bit of an accident! When I was at a wedding and a family photographer about 12 years ago, dog photographers were few and far between. I started taking photographs of my first dog and people started commissioning me to photograph theirs – and it went from there! About 8 years ago, dog portraits were over taking my people portraits so I rebranded to focus completely on dogs and it was the best thing I ever did – I’ve met hundreds of dogs and their humans since!
I'll bet! What top three pieces of advice would you give to someone who is interested in getting into dog photography?
1) Practice – working with dogs is very different from working in any other industry. Ask friends with dogs if you can practice with them in a secure environment. You need to learn to know instinctively how to help a dog feel comfortable on a shoot and how to adapt when they don’t do what you expect – it takes a lot of patience.
2) Practice your camera settings to see what works for you. Don’t think you have to know every single setting, just find out what works for you and if it’s not getting you the right results after a while, practice a different setting. This isn’t an overnight education, it will take years and you never stop learning which is one of the things I love about dog photography.
3) Develop your style – do you want to photograph dogs in nature, indoors, in the studio, in a city? Figure out what speaks to your inner creative, and when you find that, the rest will be easier!
How did you come across IAPWA with your work and how would you like to work with us moving forward?
Something popped up on my Facebook feed and I went to have a look. Before I knew it I’d registered for a Hike and Bark event! Because I’d worked with dog charities before I volunteered to take photos which was great fun. I’d love to be able to do more of that and help raise awareness.
Thank you Kerry. We are so grateful to have your help and support, and we cant wait to work with you further in the future.
Thank you so much!
Kerry is the Founder of #NationalDogPhotographyDay and has articles featured in The Times, Surrey Life, Cumbria Life, Country Life, published images in The Times, The Independent, The Times Home, and interviews on BBC Radio Kent.