Tomorrow, the Dog of the Year competition will come to a close, prompting me to look back at some memorable moments from my 2023 photoshoots.
Starting in January, I had the delightful opportunity to photograph Alpha, a stunning XL bully. This beautiful dog has her very own dedicated blog post that you can find here. Capturing her in the snowy woodland was an absolute dream!
February took me on an adventure with Ozzy, the Irish Red Setter. His portraits were taken around his mums home village of Cheddleton, providing a picturesque backdrop. This green door is found at the old Flint Mill Museum and we also explored scenes at Churnet Valley Railway and Coomes Valley.
March presented the challenge of photographing a fur family of five, including Ted and Lilah the Pomeranians, Harper the Golden Retriever, Theo the Labrador, and Charlie, the 11-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. It was a joy to capture them all looking in the same direction, plus this image received a Bronze award from the Guild of Photographers.
April brought a particularly special shoot with 8-year-old Ellie, the black lab. Little did her mum know, dog dad had planned to propose during the shoot, resulting in a heartwarming surprise captured through photographs at Brereton Heath Nature Reserve. Ellie had the best time getting muddy in the big puddles!
As May blossomed, I was excited to meet cocker spaniel Marley and photograph him amidst the beautiful carpets of purple bluebells at Marbury Park. He loved this little adventure and had a great time frolicking through the paths. The evening sun cast a stunning atmosphere through the trees and resulted in a gorgeous set of images for Marleys parents.
In June I spent a lot of time photographing the dogs involved in my Tails of the World project, which aimed to raise funds for LUOSKO German Shepherd Rescue. Among them was little Ralph, a 3-year-old dachshund battling cancer. Ralph was still ever so sweet and eager to pose, especially for chicken!
In July, I was honoured to be asked by Raggy’s mum to capture the spirit of her senior years. As we strolled through Barlaston Downs, Raggy, aided by her pet stroller enjoyed the adventure, pausing occasionally to take in the scents of the woodland floor.
It is with a heavy heart that I share the news of Raggy’s recent passing over the new year after a brief period of sickness. Her departure has undoubtedly left a void, yet the memories we created in our time together serve as a testament to the enduring love and joy she brought into the world. Despite the bittersweet ache of loss, Raggy’s mum expressed profound gratitude for our photoshoot, Raggy’s memory lives on, forever etched in the moments captured during our time together at Barlaston Downs.
August saw a lot of hot weather and postponed shoots, however I did get to meet Ray, who I was supposed to shoot earlier in the year but it was cancelled due to heavy rain. Raymond was hilarious and this shoot was filled with so much character and laughter. His mum hired a private enclosed field and woodland at Arley Moss, the weather was perfect and the low sun created some beautiful lighting. It’s no secret I have a soft spot for shepherds and Ray absolutely stole my heart.
September came, I finally met Caduceus, the handsome British Lupine Dog who I was supposed to meet with earlier but the weather was too hot. Cad had a very playful nature and had the most striking eyes, it’s like he was born to be a model! It was so interesting learning all about wolf hybrids during our shoot, I would love to meet more of these amazing dogs.
In October, I had the privilege of capturing the senior border collie, Benson, the oldest dog I have photographed to date at 17 years old. He struggled to walk and couldnt hear at all so it was a challenge to get his attention, but he did focus on me a lot as he loves attention and I was able to create some beautiful images. Benson really made me smile and stole my heart, it was lovely to see his puppy nature come out when he met other dogs that wanted to play.
I really enjoyed the beach photoshoot with Rudy the cockerpoo in November. Despite the windy and chilly conditions, the clear skies provided a stunning golden backdrop as the sun began it’s descent on Crosby Beach. I embraced this silohette technique and Rudy’s playful energy added an extra element of joy to the shoot.
December brought a sprinkle of snow, perfect for capturing Hugo’s portraits at Dimmingsdale in Alton, a location close to his heart. Hugo was rescued as a tiny puppy and now enjoys his walks regularly in one of my all time favourite places to shoot. The glistening frosty scenes were so magical on this day.
Reflecting on all these wonderful moments, the Dog of the Year competition serves as a celebration of all the incredible dogs that had a photo experience. The winner will receive a beautiful Renaissance wall art, and to add to the excitement, I’m thrilled to be giving away a photoshoot to six lucky voters. Click here to vote for your favourite dog, and remember, the competition closes on the 31st of January at midnight.
Best of luck to all the beautiful dogs!