Latest blog posts from specialist dog portrait photographer in Johannesburg South Africa.
Studio Dog Portraits on Location in Johanneburg
Meet Rosie, Angus & Tank. Three little Dachshunds.
I was commissioned to photograph this this trio of friends recently. Their mom told me that Tank gets very nervous if he travels, so we needed to do the shoot at home using my portable studio set up. The dogs were a little suspicious as I got the backdrop and lights ready, but the swift arrival of a selection of treats soon put an end to that worry.
Tiny Rosie was first up for her portrait session. This little lady is 9 years old and her mom was keen to get some cute portraits of her to out up on the wall. Rosie was quite shy so it took some coaxing to get her to sit still and look at the camera, but by the power of snack items, we got there.
Next up was Tank, also a senior boy who wasn't quite sure about the task at hand.
He was far happier when his sister was sitting next to him, safety in numbers, although that meant sharing the treats which he wasn't too happy about. He did however get his own back by photobombing Rosie's portrait.
Younger brother Angus showed them both how it was supposed to be done. He sat like a champ for his portraits, in exchange for a constant supply of snacks of course.
Angus is a standard sized wired haired dachshund, so he towered over Rosie and Tank who are mini versions.
To finish the shoot off, we attempted some team photos.
The dogs were far more focused on the snacks than me. Perhaps next time, I'll do a Lady Gaga and cover myself in steak before the shoot to ensure full eye contact at all times, LOL.
'Little Brown Jobs', hereafter referred to as 'LBJs'. A phrase I often hear bandied about when people make references to brown mutts that find themselves in shelters waiting for homes. Whilst at first glance it may seem that all brown dogs look the same, I'd like to challenge you to observe more closely this selection of brown mutts and see if you still agree.
All of these gorgeous and incredibly unique LBJs were photographed by yours truly either for 'Mutts the Book', or the spin off Sandton SPCA 2018 'Mutts Matter' calendar. Both projects are fundraisers for two charities I support, who frequently find themselves unwittingly in possession of brown dogs and know all about the subsequent struggle to home them because of their perceived lack of individuality.
Excuse the high horsery, but I am on a mission to do everything I can to breakdown and change misconceptions that often abound about shelter mutts.
Getting people to change their attitudes about adopting shelters dogs (it probably won't be good with my kids, I don't know what's happened to it before so I'd rather not take a chance, it's not a pedigree, it might suddenly turn on me or my kids, its bound to have behavioural problems, blah, blah, blah) is an agenda I'm keen to push. Granted one has to proceed with eyes open when adopting and some of the above preconceptions might occasionally be true, but, most often shelter dogs integrate brilliantly into their new homes. Buy my book and you'll find out all about how great mutts are.
My passion for mutts stems from my own experience visiting shelters. On the occasion that a pure breed dog finds itself homeless and unwanted, invariably they are snapped up in a heart beat. I can only assume that this is because of the connotations associated with the particular dog breed and how lovely it looks. It makes me very sad that there seem to be lots of homes available when a Bulldog ends up at Sandton SPCA, but those homes evaporate when it's a mutt that needs to be adopted. Sob stories and heartbreaking tales of abuse up the odds of a mutt getting adopted, but how about an LBJ being chosen because he or she is a cool looking dog with a quirky personality?
I'm always thrilled when someone who's had a pedigree dog and then adopts from a shelter tells me that their mutt is the best dog they've ever had and that they'll never go to a breeder for a dog again. Happiness. I'd like more converts please.
Don't get me wrong, I love all dogs and I understand that some folks have a real penchant for a particular dog breed, if that's you please google to find a rescue organisation for your particular breed of choice and adopt your next dog rather than buying from a breeder. If however, like me, your requirements for a dog are to keep you company, be your friend and share your life and you care not about their outward design, please check out the mutts at your local shelter. I promise that you won't be disappointed.
Mutts the Book is available to buy here - www.emmaobrien.photography along with a selection of other doggy goodies. Sales proceeds from the book are being split 50/50 between CLAW (Community Led Animal Welfare) and Sandton SPCA
In case you were wondering, I have 4 mutts ranging in size from 5kgs to 33kgs and they are full of fun, personality and incredibly smart.
Mutts the exhibition. I'm planning to put together a photography exhibition in the next couple of months, so if you have an LBJ from a rescue centre, please send me an email with their photo and adoption story for a chance to have them included.
Excitement was the order of the day for this dog portrait shoot featuring not one, not two, but six Great Danes. Most of the doggies are rescues, one is blind, another is deaf, so this was quite a challenging shoot to undertake. I rely on using treats and squeaky noises to get head tilts and gorgeous portraits, so I had to draw on some ninja skills here.
As it's impossible to transport six Great Danes without a ten ton truck, I went to their home for the shoot, taking with me a portable back drop, a reflector and a little bit of luck.
This is Titan, he's a Great Dane mix and a rather handsome chap.
This is Jack Sparrow who really is as funny in personality as he looks.
The combination of treats and dog noises worked like a charm here, especially on Licorice.
Velcro the deaf girl required a dextrous and deft combination of treat manoeuvring and quick reflexes from me to get her to face the camera for a front on shot. She is called Velcro because she has to be with her Moms AAAALLLLLLLL the time.
Whilst the Danes did their best to steal the show, Pebbles the Pug with her super cute poses really gave them a run for their money. She managed to hog most of the group shots we took once the individual portraits were done in the most adorable way.
Magic did a super job of supervising the treats, oops, I meant shoot.
Lemon just wanted to be loved.
As one big group shot was going to be nigh on impossible, we broke the group shots down into pairs and watched as the Great Danes squashed the vintage couch.
Pebbles and Velcro in total denial about where they're sitting, I think they thought if they didn't make eye contact, they'd be invisible. We can see you and you look fabulous, even though you're on the couch.
Whilst this is a dog website, I do occasionally have the honour of cats letting me photograph them. I think you get the gist of how these two felt about being papped.
So what's so great about Great Danes? They have goofy personalities, no idea how big they are and they look very pretty on vintage furniture.
Whenever I can , I donate my time to photograph dogs at CLAW (Community Led Animal Welfare) that are waiting for homes. Some of the dogs wait a very long time to be adopted and good quality portraits up their chances of finding a new family drastically.
Here are just a few of the dogs I photographed just before Christmas. You can find out more about the availability of individual dogs etc by contacting the adoption team on 076 834 7438
You can also get all the latest news on the CLAW Facebook page.
I've pledged to donate 10% of the profit from each dog shoot booked to CLAW to help them with their ongoing work. So you can enjoy your shoot even more knowing that you're helping dogs in need as well as getting beautiful portraits of your best friend.
This is York the British Bulldog who is somewhat of an Instagram sensation. Until recently, York lived with his Mom, Dad and sister Ro in Cape Town, they have now moved to Utah in the USA.
I met up with York, Ro and Anya for an informal beach shoot last year and we had quite a lot of fun in the process.
The most exciting part of the shoot for York and Ro was the huge chunks of seaweed that had washed up on the beach, so in order to get their attention I had to wave pieces of seaweed around (yuk), and it did the trick. I did, however, have to be very careful not to get knocked over by York when he jumped quite high in the air by Bulldog standards to get to the seaweed.
Shooting on the beach was brilliant. We managed to find a quiet spot so that all I had to worry about was capturing the dogs as they hurtled past me and how to include the mountain in the back of my shots.
We all spent most of the shoot on the move, either avoiding being washed away by the sea (I had visions of falling over backwards and drowning my camera), dodging charging Bulldogs or running after the dogs and trying to get them to cooperate! As you can see from the flying photos below, the dogs weren't very interested in me, they just wanted to play.
After 30 minutes of chasing around, the Bullies slowed down long enough for a couple of shots with their Mom before racing off again to find more seaweed.
Cape Town is on my agenda for 2018, so if you like these images and fancy yourself a beach dog portrait shoot, please send me an email or complete the contact form and we can make plan.