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Original Point of View: Su Kaye – Dog Photography Awards Studio Category Winner

This year’s triumphant entry in the Studio category of the Dog Photography Awards showcases the shapes of a French Bulldog’s neck, inviting us into a realm where form and detail unite in captivating harmony. Join us as we step behind the lens to uncover the process that led to this remarkable winning shot – a portrayal that reminds us of the beauty that resides in unexpected perspectives.

  • How did you get into dog photography?

I always wanted to study photography but my Father (who was a photographer) told me to go and get a ‘proper job’!  I trained as a school teacher, but after a few years knew I wanted to be working as a photographer.  I’ve been a portrait photographer for over 25 years but with the changes with digital and then how the economy has changed, there were suddenly so many people in my area offering family portraits. So around 6 years ago I decided to work more with dogs and specialise in dog photography as there was no-one doing this in my area.

  • You were awarded Dog Photographer of the Year for your work « Things are looking up », an original studio photo of an English Bulldog. How did you create this image?

There is only so much variety and so many new ideas we can come up with but I try.  I take a lot of dog portraits from different angles but this was very simple. During my studio sessions I always make sure I capture everything the client would be expecting and then I try to create something that will be a surprise to them, whether it’s a change in lighting or change in the angle I shoot from, the lens I may use etc but something they would be unlikely to capture themselves or expect from me. This was a wonderful session with a young English Bulldog called Eddie. He had the most incredible nature and was just adorable to work with. At the end of the session I just deiced to try different angles and this was just shot level with him whilst either I or the owner were holding a treat in the air. I work with my camera on a stand and use a cable release or remote trigger so I will pre-focus and then I can be next to and interacting with the dog, the other side of the studio to my camera, when I take the shot.
  • What is your most unforgettable memory of this project?

It was just a very cute session and one which I remember very well.

  • What was the most challenging aspect you encountered with this project?

Nothing was particularly challenging, I would happily have carried on all day but working with a young dog we have to be mindful and not over stimulate or exhaust them.

  • What does winning the award mean to you?

I won this award about 10 months ago and it still makes me smile every time I think about it. It means so much that despite being in the business for a long time I’ve completely changed direction and then within the different genre of dog portraits and trying something a little ‘off the wall’ and unconventional it really is so wonderful to know this has been acknowledged and rewarded. I’m still a little stuck for words to say quite how important this is to me – for myself, my business and my own self-esteem.  I’m lucky to have done a lot of judging over the years and last year decided that rather than judging I would enter again and see that what I’m doing myself is still recognised as a good standard. I certainly didn’t expect to win anything.
The other important point is how delighted I am for my client. She’s a young lady who was a student at the time and working part time in a shop yet she values her dog and she values photography and she saved the money to buy the photos as they were so important to her.
  • Are you working on any new projects?

Always trying some new idea

More about Su Kaye:

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