Dog days of 2021 – the summer of fun

Dog days?

Some of you may just think I’m talking about days with dogs, but dogs days has a second meaning. Dog days refer to the hottest days of the year i.e – Summer.

In the words from the well known song by Florence and the machine, well the “dog days are over”

So this week I look at some of my shots from the summer. As you are all aware we are struggling out of the grips of lockdowns and covid regulations, but I have managed to get out and about and shoot quite a few training sessions this summer, as well as horse and dog shows.

Dog portrait

A bonus of not being as busy as normal years means I have got to spend quality time with my own pooches exploring and of course taking snaps along the way.

Nuka enjoying her dog days

I love the colours of late summer when you get the light tones to the grasses, they make an awesome back drop for gorgeous dogs like the one below.

Dog days offer outstanding colours

Of course, dog days mean hot days, so what do dogs love more than a good splash to cool down in the lake. I love the focus in this guy’s eyes as he steams towards his retrieve. Look at that drive!

Labrador swimming

Dog days may well be the hottest but they are also the fun-erist! (yes it totally is a word, ha)

I love nothing more than photographing dogs doing what they love to do most. The below shot shows the handsome Leo the lab putting his all into his gundog training, I’m sure he thinks his ears help him fly.

fox red labrador gundog

As we move towards the Autumn and Winter months I look forward to getting out more again and capturing the beautiful colour changes in the world around us that helps to frame the equally beautiful the dogs I meet.

Yellow labrador gundog

Around the circle

I am part of an amazing group of pet photographers that participate in a weekly blog circle. Next in the circle this week is Nicole Hrustyk of pawtraits by Nicole.

Las Vegas, Nevada Photographer, Nicole Hrustyk shares her favorite images from her summer travel sessions.

I still have limited availability for Autumn/Winter shoots so get in touch to book today

Candid shots – Those in between moments I love to capture

Candid shots – what are they?

Candid shots quite simply are a capture that the subject doesn’t know is being taken, which with dogs is quite simple as half the time they haven’t got a clue what the crazy lady on the floor is doing. ha!

However, their owners are a different matter, and I feel their pain and hate being the other side of a camera. If people are over conscious of the camera you can’t get relaxed shots.

This is where my sneaky shots come in….

Candid shot of a cocker spaniel and owner
The loving look

So how do I capture the in between moments

After a posed shot I will usually give the ok that I got the shot and to have a break, I will often pretend to look at shots on my camera and get a few cheeky little snaps in. These are the moments when people most relax with their pets as they think the camera isn’t on them.

I will often subtly watch owners and their pets when they go off for a little break walk on a shoot, and again you manage to capture some heart warming moments between owner and pet. This is where a nice long telephoto lens helps.

Clumber spaniel love
No words needed

I also have the pleasure of photographing training days and competitions which are fabulous for capturing those special moments as the owners are preoccupied on so many other things than me and my camera.

candid dog side eye
Mum, you’re soo embarrassing

Sometimes I manage to capture some funny shots like the lovely Morris and his side eye when his mum threw the retrieve the wrong way. I don’t know what you think, but I genuinely think he was embarrassed and his owner loved it.

Loving touch
Morris is a real mummy’s boy

I also love to capture the owners hands and their dog, you can almost feel the love between these two just looking at the photo.

Candid photos really are my favourite to shoot as I feel they really capture character and bond.

Next time you are out shooting, look for those moments around the posed shots…….get snapping.

Dog competition photography
Beautiful labrador focusing on the job at hand

Around the circle

I am part of a fabulous blog circle of amazing pet photographers across the globe. Next in the circle is Nicole Hrustyk of Pawtraits.

Las Vegas, Nevada Dog Photographer, Nicole Hrustyk, of Pawtraits by Nicole shares portrait session bloopers.


Your photoshoot session with your dog

Your photoshoot – Before your shoot

How exciting its finally come to the day of your photoshoot for you and your four legged friend. By now we will have had a chat about you and your pet and I hopefully have a good idea of what they like and don’t like. So its time to look forward to the shoot and get ready to have some fun.

Before we meet it might be an idea to take your dog around the area we are doing the shoot to familiarise them with their surrounding and give them a chance to have a toilet break before we start. Otherwise I will not miss an opportunity for an embarrassing blooper shot haha.

If you have booked a studio shoot, then I would suggest stopping on route somewhere you can go for a toilet break as the studio has no grassy areas nearby if that’s your dogs preference.

Pet Photoshoot

Your photoshoot – What to bring/wear

I usually ask people to bring a magic bag of tricks for their dog/dogs which will have toys and treats in that we can use to play with the dog and get their attention throughout the shoot.

What to wear as far as your dog is concerned – just a collar is perfect, I try to discourage people putting their dogs in harnesses for a photoshoot as they don’t look great, however if there is a medical reason your dog needs to wear a harness and not a collar then maybe we can look at a safe location like a secure field where they don’t need to wear anything.

As far as you the owner are concerned, you can wear whatever you like within reason I will usually get you on the floor with your dog, so maybe no ball gowns haha.

I also ask people to bare in mind colours and wear colours that are easily distinguished from your dog, for example if you have a black dog, don’t wear all black. Again its not a huge problem as it just means we will position the dog differently so they are no directly in front of you.

Your photoshoot with your dog

Your photoshoot – What to expect

I will usually get to the location we’ve arranged slightly early so I am nice and prepared, I will also have my phone on should you get lost or have any other problems.

Then comes the fun part I get to meet you and your dog, and we can have a little chat about how you both are and whether we are sticking with our original plan or whether anything has changed.

I will have already scoped the site and have some places in mind for the shots I want to take so usually I will take you on a little walk around the places I had in mind and start snapping.

I will usually ask the owner to sit the dog in the position for the shot and walk back to me leaving the dog in the sit. I will then usually let rip with all my crazy noises to get the dogs attention. This is the perfect scenario and I am aware that lots of dogs will not sit there steady with a crazy woman on the floor making random noises in front of them. DON’T PANIC, we can work around it and I can edit you out if you are stood next to your dog, or we could change things so you are in the photos with your dog if this is something you are happy to do.

I will usually aim to get between 10 and 20 shots that I will then present to the owner after editing to choose from. Sometimes there are way more but I like to give a realistic number as an expectation in case the dog doesn’t take to being a model as we’d have hoped.

Your photoshoot with your pet

Hopefully we will have now had lots of fun being silly and have got some brilliant shots, which I will take away and edit.

I will let you know when they will be ready to view on my website and in next weeks blog I will talk through the next stages.

Around the circle

I am part of an amazing blog circle filled with super talented pet photographers all around the world.

Next head over to Tracy Allard’s page of Penny Whistle Photography next.

Award winning Dallas photographer Tracy Allard of Penny Whistle Photography describes what to expect during your pet portrait session

Find out more about my services here

-Get in touch today to book your photoshoot-

Booking your photoshoot with JM Photography

This month in the blog circle we are looking at the process of booking and having a photoshoot all the way through to the art being on your wall.

This week I talk initial consultation.

booking your photoshoot

Making an enquiry before booking your photoshoot

The majority of my enquiries come through my website contact form and then flying in to my inbox where I can reply to you. This is why it is super important to enter your details correctly so I can get back to you.

I will go through your requirements for the photoshoot and what you are looking to achieve from it. For example, do you want a studio session with staged photographs or a session in the local park or even some action shots of your dog having fun with his or her favourite activity.

Based on your requirements I will then suggest the photoshoot package that I think best suits you and your dog. I can also add things to my packages based on your personal needs so you get a bespoke service.

initial consultation for your photoshoot

Once you have decided what you would like and where I will send an invoice for the cost of the shoot, which I ask is paid prior to the day. If for any reason you need to cancel the photoshoot I ask for at lest 48 hours notice. If a shoot is cancelled after this time you will only get a 50% refund.

Right so we now have a date in the diary and we are excited to get some awesome shots of your dog. Depending on the location requested for the shoot, I will usually go and scope it out if it is somewhere that I am not familiar with so I can plan the shots I want and where. This scoping will usually be done at a similar time of day to the shoot so I can also check what the lighting is like. Of course with my studio I don’t have to do any of this as it is the same everyday.

I will also talk to you about your dog/dogs. What do they like dislike? This is important so I can start to think about how I will get the most out of your dog during the shoot. For example I usually make lots of odd noises to get the dogs to look at me, but some dogs may be noise sensitive and not like this so it is important to know as the last thing I want to do is scare your friend.

pet photoshoot booking

The day of the photoshoot

This is the morning I wake up with my fingers crossed if it is an outside shoot as the weather sometimes lets us down. Unfortunately as much as I would like to, I don’t do shoots in the rain as my equipment doesn’t like it. If on the morning of the photoshoot it is raining I will contact you and offer a studio session or rebook for later in the day or another day.

Next week I will talk about what happens on your special shoot

Around the circle

Next up in the circle is Linda Perdue from VP Shoots Photography.

Linda Perdue of VP Shoots Photography, in Tampa, explains what to expect when you ask about a photography session for your pet (and maybe your family too!)

Get in touch today to start booking your pet photoshoot today

BIG dogs don’t come much bigger than beautiful Rafiki

This week the blog circle is looking at BIG dogs.

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting one of the on of the most gorgeous big dogs, prior to which I had never even heard of.

Meet Rafiki the Boerboel a.k.a – the South African Mastiff

Big dogs the Boerboel south african Mastiff

Boerboel’s were originally bred as a hunting dog for hunting Baboons and Leopards! No mean feat and Rafiki, although as big as her ancestors showed no interest in hunting and much preferred cuddles from her mum.

Big Dogs and owner photoshoot Suffolk
Rafiki and her owner

Although with correct training the Boerboel is a generally loving and placid dog it is important to remember they can weigh up to 50-80kg! You are going to need to work on your muscles if your dog decides it wants to chase a squirrel and you are attached….hehe.

Dog portrait shoot Suffolk

This is why training is soooo important, and luckily for Rafiki her owner is also a dog trainer and is doing amazingly well with her since she was rescued several months ago.

Dog photoshoot Suffolk
Look at that face – no Baboon hunting here

Find our more about big dogs

This is a very brief whistle stop tour of the Boerboel but if you would like to know more check out The Boerboel UK Society.

Around the circle

Next up on the blog circle is the lovely Linda Perdue

Linda Perdue photographing large mixed breed dogs in Tampa Bay, Florida

Sorry its a shorter blog than usual this week guys, but I have been super busy away on a course training to be a dog training instructor – watch this space.


Dog collars and leads – lets talk about my favourites

Dog collars – what should my dog wear for their shoot?

In an ideal world where dogs are perfect and always sit adoringly at your feet I would prefer dogs to be free of any dog collars or leads on their shoot. This means there is less to distract from them.

I however am a realist and understand that most people like their dog to have a collar on for safety. Although I do ask that the collars that they wear are not too bright and distracting.

Cockerpoo puppy with pink dog collar
The lovely Maggie with her pretty pink collar

I also ask that if possible people remove their dog’s ID tags before a shoot as most people do not want their details showing on a photograph, especially if they want to share their photos on social media.

Cocker spaniel head side profile
A simple crop of a photo can hide ID tags

If all else fails there is always editing

That said collars and tags can be easily edited to fix any issues they might present, unlike the dreaded harness that is much more difficult to edit out, but not impossible.

One more no no for a photoshoot is a figure of 8/head collar, whilst they may be helpful for helping your friend not pull your arms out of their socket they do not look great in photos.

Remember we are creating photo art for your walls! You would want to look at your best in a photoshoot and so does your four legged friend.

Dog harness removal
Edit of harness removal

I know I have just gone through what I don’t want dog’s to wear in shoot. I am however a big fan of long lines. They enable dogs with poor recall to still be able to run safely so I can get some action shots. Unlike harnesses the longlines are usually fairly straight forward to hide.

Dog photoshoot with dog collar and long line
Nuka had a long line on in this photo but is clearly enjoying her freedom

I am also a fan of the odd accessory for special shoots like Reds bow tie for woooing the ladies below.

Mr valentine

Whilst we are talking collars and leads I cannot go without plugging my hobby of making paracord leads, collars and lanyards. Find out more here.

Around the cirle

I am part of an amazing group of pet photographers that do a weekly blog circle. All you need to do is follow the link below to the next photographer in the circle and do the same on their page and so on until you find yourself back here. The circle will take you on a trip around the world where you can read top tips from other fabulous photographers.

Courtney at CM Bryson Photography in Atlanta, Georgia shares her best collars for dog photography.

Dog’s attention – How to get a dog’s attention for awesome photographs

In this weeks blog I share some top secret tips to help you get your dog’s attention when taking photographs.

Like people all dogs are completely different and are interested by different things. This means when photographing them we need to work out what interests them in order to stand a chance at getting a dog’s attention. If you are photographing your own dogs you will know this, but if you are photographing a client or friend’s dogs don’t be afraid to ask as it will massively help you.

Red – over here!

1 – My go to method to get a dog’s attention

Every photographer has their preferred method of getting a dogs attention and mine is slightly different and one I pre-warn clients about. Don’t panic! It’s not as bad as it sounds, but if I don’t want people I get some odd looks. If I need to get a dog’s attention I make animal noises, the more bizarre the better. Turkey and goat noises are my personal favourites, and usually a hit with the dogs.

How to get my dogs attention
The handsome Eddie

2 – It’s all about the squeak

Sometimes the animal noises are just too much for the dog’s and I end up with them on my head. My back up is a squeaker out of a squeaky toy that I pop in my mouth and bite it to squeak. This keeps my hands free and usually makes the most stubborn of model to look at you and prick their ears.

You can either steal one of these from the inside of one of your dog’s toys or if you don’t want to upset your pal.

You can buy them separately from somewhere like Amazon – click here

Puppy portrait
The beautiful Cosmo

3 – Sometimes the way to a loving stare is through the stomach.

Of course their are dogs that are completely un-phased by noises no matter how exciting. However there may be another way to their hearts. Ask the owner to bring some treats they are happy for them to have and let the dog see the owner give them to you and pop them in your pocket. In the same pocket I also place an empty bag that makes alot of noise when rustled. When the dog is in position but you just need them to look the right direction a quick hand in the pocket and a rustle of the bag usually does the trick. Once you’ve got the shot don’t forget to go and reward them with a treat, nobody likes a tease.

Dog photography
Red and Nuka do serious faces for treats

4 – Only have eyes for their pawrents no matter how hard to try to get a dog’s attention

Then there are the dogs who are so utter and truly devoted to their owners that their eyes are constantly on them. These are probably some of the easier dogs to work with as long as you can get the dog to stay in a position away from their favourite person. When you are ready to take the shot just simply get the owner to walk behind you and they can always use a squeaky toy if you require a more pricked ears look.

Nuka look a bunny!

5 – What is their favourite word

My last tip is another easy one, no making yourself look silly with animal noises or having to put a squeaker in your mouth. All dogs have that one word that makes them look at you with sheer excitement, whether that’s “walkies” “where’s daddy/mummy” “rabbits” “cats”

They will all have one, just ask the owner, although I do refrain from using “hungry” or “dinner time” as feel a bit mean.

My biggest tip in relation to getting a dog’s attention is to do your research and find out what motivates each dog. Do this and you will have a better chance of getting the attention of any dog.

Around the circle

I am part of an amazing group of pet photographers that do a weekly blog circle. All you need to do is follow the link below to the next photographer in the circle and do the same on their page and so on until you find yourself back here. The circle will take you on a trip around the world where you can read top tips from other fabulous photographers.

Courtney at CM Bryson shares a few tricks to get dogs looking at the camera during a pet photo shoot.

If you would rather that I was the one on the floor making animals noises then get in touch to BOOK YOUR SHOOT TODAY

Dog walks in Suffolk – my top 5 favourites

I am blessed to live in the beautiful county of Suffolk so the doggo’s and I are spoilt for choice when it comes to great dog walks to go on.

I list my top 5 dog walks in Suffolk favourites below, in not particular order.

This weeks photographs are mainly phone snaps as I rarely take my camera out with my own dogs as usually have my hands full. If nothing else it has shown I really should make more of an effort.

#1 Dedham to Flatford along the river

I know I said they were in no particular order but Dedham is one of my favourites.

There are two car parks, a larger one and a smaller one right on the river edge, both are pay and display.

The dogs love it as there is tonnes of space to run with the added bonus of a river along the Broute to splash in and out of.

best dog walks in suffolk
Beautiful river banks

Unfortunately alot of other people feel the same and in the summer it is often extremely busy with people picnicing and swimming. If you want to enjoy Dedham in the summer early mornings and early evenings are best. I have had some rather embarassing moments where my dogs have wanted to join in with peoples picnics. (the less said about that the better)

Good dog walks in Suffolk
Purdey waiting for his ball

If you have a kayak there is a portage straight off of the carpark and you can paddle all the way to Flatford and enjoy a coffee and a slice of cake at the cafe there. Kayaking with my dogs is one of my favourite things to do and its soo relaxing.

dog friendly walks in suffolk
Beanie navigating the kayak

Google maps link to the car park.

#2 Orwell Park country park and estuary

Another lovely place for a dog walk in Suffolk.

There is a free car park and you can walk straight into the country park and down to the riverside. From the riverside there are beautiful views down the estuary and of the Orwell Bridge.

Orwell bridge walk at sunset
Sunset at the Orwell Bridge

Although popular with dog walkers and families it is not often overly busy.

However, one thing to be mindful of is the tides. If you want your dog to be able to paddle try and visit at high tide. At low tide there is a large expanse of mud flats which will quickly turn a dog in to a swamp monster. You have been warned.

Riverside walks in Suffolk
Jelly relaxing at the bridge

Google map link to the car park

#3 Old Felixstowe beach and tide pools

I grew up in Felixstowe and have always been a fan of the beach, as have my dogs.

Felixstowe beach is mainly a no go zone for dogs between May-September except for the northern end.

There is a large car park on the cliff tops, however this is a pay and display and not free.

Bare in mind that as its on the cliff tops there are numerous steps to negotiate to get down to the beach, so not suitable for mobility issues in humans or dogs.

The climb down is totally worth as there are 3 large tide pools which make a perfect playground for the doggos.

Beach dogs of suffolk
Cosmo posing by a tide pool

The tide pools make a great option to allow your dog to swim on the beach without having to worry about currents and waves for the less confident swimmers.

Coastal dog walks in suffolk
Nuka – here I come!

Link to google maps – car park

#4 Hadleigh river walk

This is my most local walk so one that myself and the doggos often frequent.

There is a free carpark and a path that runs all the way along the river with several points where the dogs can swim.

This is extremely popular with locals so it is very rare that you won’t see anyone.

Suffolk rights of way
Jelly after enjoying a rare swim

You can either walk along the river and back or make use of the public footpaths beyond the river and loop back to the car on field edges.

It’s a lovely varied walk with some hills, water and wooded areas. What’s not to like.

River dog walks
Beanie – no hesitation

Link to the car park on google maps

#5 Thetford forest

This is furthest away from where I live so we usually make it a day trip.

Thetford forest is a large forest with lots of paths and trials to explore. There is quite alot of wildlife so make sure you have a long line if you can’t stop your dog from chasing.

The forest is a very popular tourist destination and is often busy, but due to its size you can easily walk away from the crowds.

Forest dog walks
Little dog, Big forest

The forest is maintained by Forestry England and they charge for parking. As well as lots of walking opportunities there are lots of activities like go ape and segwaying if you want to keep the family amused whilst you and your four legged pal go exploring.

In the forest

Link to the Thetford Forest website.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about my favourite dog walks in Suffolk and can try some out. Until next time, stay safe and enjoy your walks.

Around the circle with amazing dog walks across the globe

I am part of an amazing group of pet photographers that participate in this blog circle, next go check out.

Ina of Ina J Photography shares her favourite places to take her dogs for walks in Canberra


Dog treat recipe for you to make at home for your pooch

Dog treat recipe – Moreish tuna and cheese snacks

This is a new dog treat recipe a tried for my dogs. I like to keep my treats and snacks new and interesting to my dogs as I use them as rewards and don’t want them to lose interest.

A lot of homemade snacks I’ve made use peanut butter or are really stinky when cooking. Today I was fresh out of peanut butter (I know its a travesty) and I didn’t fancy making my kitchen smell so I sought out a new recipe.

So here it is……

What you will need

Baking ingredients for dog treat recipe
Get your ingredients ready

140g – Wholemeal or plain flour

1 egg

55g grated cheese

1 tin of tuna – (in spring water as this is healthier for your dog)

Where to start

1- Preheat the oven to 180 degree centigrade/ 356 degree farenheit / Gas mark 4

2 – Pop all of the ingredients in a bowl and kneed together using your hands until you form a dough.

dog treat simple ingredients
Ready for mixing

3- Roll out the dough and cut out your shapes with a cookie cutter or a knife.

Treats ready for the oven
Brand them up..

4 – Place your treats on a baking tray and into the middle of the preheated oven for around 20 mins. Check after 20 mins and take out when golden. The treats will continue to crispy whilst cooling

Dog treats fresh out the oven
#JM Photography

5 – Once cool let your pal do a taste test

Dog treat with clean white teeth
Red pushing his obedience to the limits……

These treats were a huge hit with Red and his pals getting him to hold this treat without munching really tested his obedience!

I thought I would try out my new letter stamps and brand them up! I am definitely going to pop some in a jar for the studio to keep my guests sweet.

Around the circle – dog treat recipes

I am part of a weekly blog circle with a group of other fabulous pet photographers who have also written about their favourite dog treat recipe this week. Next go and visit Linda to see what she’s been cooking up.

Linda Perdue of VP Shoots Photography shares her easy frozen dog treat

—-Get in touch to book your photoshoot today—-