As some of you may know, not only do I run the Ottawa Dog Blog, but I am also a photographer. I thought it would be fun to sit down and answer my own questions on here, so you can get a better feel for my work.
Name: Liz Bradley
Studio Name: elizabeth&jane photography
Camera(s): Nikon D300 with a whole lot of quick prime lenses
How would you classify or explain your style of dog photography?
I say my style is fun and fresh. To me that means that I try to capture your dog being themselves and showing their true personality. I run and play with the dogs I photograph and I hope that this atmosphere comes through in the photos. I also love capturing the dog and owner bond. I know how important my dogs are to me and I want to make sure that every dog owner has at least one great photo of their furry family member.
How did you get into doing dog-related photography?
I am kind of obsessed with dogs…hence this blog! I have loved dogs since as long as I can remember and I have also had a deep passion for photography. After we got Paddington I started fusing the two loves together and it was heaven. Photographing dogs is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and I love it. I love that each session is so different – each dog is so different and brings an entire new adventure to the table.
When did you first realize you are a photographer?
Growing up I was always the one who “took photos”. I’d be the one that always had the camera and I’d be snapping away. I’ve always been a photographer, but now I get to do it as a job and I can tell you I feel so lucky that I can.
Could you tell us some more about your work?
Sure thing! After I started the Ottawa Dog Blog, I knew that I wanted to participate in local charity events. I thought about ways I could contribute and decided that offering my photography services would be a great way to not only help out the community, but to test the waters to see if I could handle the business of photographing dogs. I loved every minute of it and still do local Ottawa photography charity events now! (Next up is Bad Dog Mug Shots @ Westfest for BARK Rescue!)
Which one item of equipment would you say is the most important to you?
Ooooh this one is a toughy. Let’s get all deep here and I’ll say it’s my passion. I know that’s not really tangible, but it’s really important. I really love what I do and I hope that comes across in my photos!
What is it that inspires you to take the style of pictures you do?
As I mentioned before, I feel it is so important for every pet owner to have at least one great picture of their pets. Too often I speak with people who never thought to get pet photography done until their dog passes and they have very little to remember them by. It is insanely difficult to photograph your own pets (mine completely ignore me when I have my camera) so it’s great to have someone else come in who can lend their vision to your dog’s portraits.
What famous photographers have influenced you, and how?
There are so many amazing pet photographers out there and I am just going to list them all here. Much love to Shine Pet Photos, Erin Vey, Rouxby, Sue Bird, Leesia Teh, Scruffy Dog Photography and Cowbelly Pet Photography for keeping me inspired!
Are you a self taught photographer or did you have a mentor that showed you the ropes?
Both. I took photography in university back where I learned to develop the negatives and film in the darkroom as well as digital photography and processing. When I got my first digital SLR, that is when I began my self learning by trial and error as well as through the internet and books.
How do you decide on locations and subjects?
My subjects choose me…well their humans choose me, and I choose a location based on the dog and the owner. Usually we will begin at home and then go for a walk somewhere, then end at home again. I love taking photos of dogs in their natural environments if possible because that is where they spend time with their families. I also choose to go on a walk together with the family because this is when the dog really lets loose and has fun and we can get some wonderful images.
What makes you choose to shoot something in B&W over color?
I always shoot in colour, and then I will turn something black and white in post-processing. Mostly I love colour, but sometimes there is such a strong emotional pull that is portrayed even better through black and white, and I will edit it as such.
In general, during a session, how many pics would you say you take to find “the right one”?
Especially with pets, I shoot a lot. And by a lot I mean a lot! I do this because pets are generally quite busy and active when I am at the session and I want to make sure I have something that’s perfect.
Do you rely on lighting (natural, or artificial), or do you rely on dark-room/computer manipulation?
I am a natural light photographer which means I use whatever available light is present to shoot in. I don’t generally use flashes, especially with pet photography, as it can easily scare dogs or cats who are nervous to begin with. I edit the photos on the computer after the shoot, but I generally don’t do too much to them.
What do you do for fun (besides photography)?
I am a big nerd, I really am. I love watching TV and I spend way too much time on my computer, phone and my hubby’s iPad (you really need to play Plants vs. Zombies!). I do love going to walks with my family at Bruce Pit and I love sleeping in on a Sunday morning. Oh and my favourite thing to do on a Friday night is go grocery shopping. See, I told you: nerd.
What advice would you give someone who wanted to take a great photo of their dog?
The best piece of advice I can give anyone who wanted to take photos of their dogs is: TIRE THEM OUT!!! Take them for a long run and have the shoot when you get back. It is much easier to photograph your dog when they are tired and sitting still, than if they are bouncing all over the place and not listening to you. Another piece of advice: bribe them! I always have little treats on hand to get my furry clients to sit and stay, or to look this way.
Do you have a dog(s)? if yes, what kind, please brag about your pooch(es) here.
We have two wonderful dogs (who you may have already seen on this blog….a lot): Paddington and Corduroy. Paddington is a 3yr old Morkie (Maltese/Yorkie mix) and Corduroy is a 2yr old Malshi (Maltese/Shih Tzu mix). They are such great dogs and I am so lucky to have them in my life. Their wiggles and kisses brighten my day and even though I am not a morning person in the least, it makes it easier to get up when I know how excited they are to start their day (and get some yummy breakfast!)
Thanks for reading my interview (and for letting me toot my own horn a bit!).