Ensuring a top dog photography experience

Capturing the best image of our dogs is always difficult but help is at hand through expert dog photographer Heather Woodward.

In advance of her appearance at this year’s Game Fair at Ragley Hall, Trade News caught up with Heather to find out more about her specialist business.

TGF: This sounds like an amazing job. How and why did you get started?

Heather: It really is! I was completely blown away by a Canadian photographer who was using their photography talent to highlight rescue dogs in need of homes, that’s when I realised it was a possibility.

We have always had dogs and we had not long said goodbye to our beloved family dog Scamp – luckily, we have years and years of images of him because of my photography background; unfortunately not everyone is that lucky and we always think there will be time, or we can do that later.

I wanted to give owners that joy and keepsake of their dog. I also wanted to support reactive and anxious dog owners, as it can be very isolating and no-one caters for or sees your dog as they are, only the behaviour they express in situations they find worrying or frustrating – my photography changes that. It’’ also a great excuse to spend most of my days with dogs!

TGF: What sets your photography apart from others out there?

Heather: As an animal trainer, I like to take time to find out what would be best for that dog, or dogs, and this reflects in their images. Showing their personality, and ensuring they are engaged and enjoying their experience with me is a top priority, their welfare and ability to ‘be’, really makes my images different to others.

TGF: How long did it take you to master the art of taking a great dog photograph?

Heather: This is a tricky one, as I am always developing my skills and style to better serve the dogs who come on our experience. I think the mastery lies in putting each individual at the centre of the experience – something that fits them as an individual and what my clients want, rather than images looking like any dog could be inserted into them.

TGF: What’s your most memorable shoot/dog/assignment?

Heather: This may sound sad… but I remember every single one of my experience clients.
However, one that stands out is working with a Vizsla who had some big feelings around people and a bite history. Underneath all of that he is an incredibly focused, affectionate and athletic individual.

On experience he was exceptional and, because of our careful tailoring of the experience, he soon settled into my company and I made his owners cry when they saw his images. They had thought this was something completely out of their reach and, despite being trained to work, they worried no-one else would ever see him as they did.

It’s really important to me that you see your dog in the images, whether we are shooting elegant portraits, high impact action,or capturing the quirks that make them who they are – it needs to be them.

TGF: What can visitors look forward when from you at The Game Fair?

Heather: We will be offering on-the-day portrait and action photography and exclusive offers on our full experience range. There will also be some stunning artwork to treat your eyes to and the opportunity to chat all things ‘dog’!

If your dog is with you and they don’t mind a fuss, there will be plenty of hands to keep them in scratches for the whole event, if you let them!

TGF: What are you most looking forward to about attending The Game Fair?

Heather: I am really looking forward to seeing all of the amazing visitors and exhibitors that will be attendance. I hope to catch some of the BASC Wild Food Theatre schedule and visit working dogs and their handlers in the Terrier Tent and The Sporting Dog Pavilion.


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