YOUR GUIDE TO CHOOSING THE PERFECT LOCATION
Let’s get one thing straight – location isn’t everything. Beauty can be found in the most basic of locations – that’s part of my job and part of my passion, discovering the beauty in everything. Even in a ‘boring’ back garden, there’s usually an opportunity to get creative and capture beautiful images. And sometimes that’s the only option, or the safest option for your hound – there’s a variety of very valid reasons for staying home for your dog’s photography session, and that’s totally okay.
If you’re not tied to your home, and you’re wondering where on earth you could go to get those perfect photos, it’s easier than you might think! Somewhere as seemingly simple as your local park or woodland can be a gold mine for photographers. And there’s only really a few key things to consider:
Okay, so you might get the impression from looking through my portfolio that every dog I meet is a master of sit, stay and ‘pose perfectly for the camera’ – and you’d be forgiven for thinking that. In reality, 99% of the dogs I meet are wild, bubbly, super-excited, happy-to-meet-you balls of energy, with a distinct lack of focus and the attention span of – squirrel!
Safety and comfort are always my top priorities (for you and your dog!). I’d hardly expect you to let your dog off lead in a potentially unfamiliar environment, especially if their recall is only so-so. Sometimes they decide that today is the day that they forget ‘sit’ (even though you’ve been practicing it for weeks). Sometimes they just really want to say hi to anyone and everything that passes by (including that suspicious looking leaf). Dogs are dogs!
So, regardless of our location, if your dog needs to be on a lead then that’s fine with me. And don’t worry, I can usually edit it out afterwards (you included!)…
‘TIS THE SEASON
Some of my favourite session locations change wildly with the seasons, from sprouting bluebells in mid-April to blankets of fallen leaves in November. Sometimes we can’t choose the exact time and date of your dog’s session (especially if they’re elderly or unwell), but if you do have the luxury of choice, give the time of year some extra thought when looking for a location.
Like I said earlier, beauty can be found everywhere, and anytime (yes, even in February!), and while we can’t control the weather (trust me, I’ve tried), your location is one of the biggest factors that will shape your final images. Do you love the classic colours of autumn? You might prefer the brightly coloured florals of April and May, or the late evening sunshine twinkling through the trees in the mid-summer. Definitely worth considering when you book your session.
WORKING WITH THE ELEMENTS
I’m always looking for variety in my work and interesting elements to incorporate into each shot. Is there any architecture around that we could make use of, or some unusual plants and trees we could use to frame your hound? All of these elements will shape the overall look and feel of your images, so bear them in mind when picking a location – whether you’re after an urban atmosphere or something completely natural.
MY TOP SPOTS
Northamptonshire has no shortage of gorgeous dog-friendly locations to choose from, and over the years I’ve definitely developed a few favourites – here are three that immediately spring to mind…
A popular dog walking location in its own right, Harlestone Firs is situated just a 10-minute drive from the centre of Northampton. With so many different trails to choose from, every session is always unique, and there’s plenty of space to roam. It’s definitely a favourite of mine for thick green ferns, and plenty of fallen logs perfect for posing on! Harlestone Firs is a solid location all year round, but my favourite time of year to shoot there is definitely late summer and autumn.
Nestled in the heart of Northampton and set well back from the main roads, Delapre Abbey always feels like an undiscovered gem. I usually hold sessions here on spring and summer evenings, when it’s always quiet (you might bump into the odd cyclist or dog walker passing by). The abbey grounds are so much fun to explore – small but full of beautiful flora and fauna, as well as rocks, walls and pathways – perfect for posing little dogs!
IRCHESTER COUNTRY PARK
Heading a little further out of town, Irchester is my favourite country park. I first discovered it when I started volunteering at Animals In Need – just a 10 minute walk from the shelter, it quickly became my favourite spot for photographing the rescue dogs. The country park is often busy, especially at weekends (it’s actually a great family day out!) but it’s sprawling pathways twist and turn in all directions, so it’s easy to escape the crowds and find a few quiet spots for photographs – and trust me, there are tons of potential photo opportunities here! Fantastic in all seasons, it’s hands down one of my favourite locations.
So where will your session take you? Hopefully I’ve given you some food for thought, or perhaps you already know exactly where you’d like to go – the only thing left to do is to get in touch and book your session!