Blog

Welcome to my blog

Hello, and thanks for stopping by to look at my blog.
This is where I get chance to show you my favourite pictures from the shoots I do for my clients and occasionally some of my personal projects.

From time to time I’ll post about other stuff too. I hope you enjoy having a look at my work and please feel free to leave us comments and feedback.

Runway on the runway- event photography in Manchester for the Teenage Cancer Trust

Last Friday evening I went to the Concorde Building at Manchester Airport for the Runway on the Runway fashion show event in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust. It was an amazing event and ten schools took part in the fashion show competition. A number of major fashion brands sponsored the collections on show. The Teenage Cancer Trust fielded a big crew for the night too. You can read some of the crew’s stories here. These guys are truly amazing. Being a teenager is difficult. Being teenager with cancer is a whole different world. As one young man put it on TCT’s Facebook page put it; my friends are worrying about the their exams and student debts. I’m worrying about if I’ll be here next year or not. If you’d like to make a donation to the Teenage Cancer trust to support their work please visit their website and follow the links.

Catwalk event for the Teenage Cancer Trust

Catwalk event for the Teenage Cancer Trust

Catwalk event for the Teenage Cancer Trust

Catwalk event for the Teenage Cancer Trust

Catwalk event for the Teenage Cancer Trust

Catwalk event for the Teenage Cancer Trust

Catwalk event for the Teenage Cancer Trust

Catwalk event for the Teenage Cancer Trust

Catwalk event for the Teenage Cancer Trust

Catwalk event for the Teenage Cancer Trust

Catwalk event for the Teenage Cancer Trust

Catwalk event for the Teenage Cancer Trust

Catwalk event for the Teenage Cancer Trust

Photographing your dog – five top tips

Everyone loves fab pictures of their favourite dogs. People keep asking us for our top tips for photographing their dogs so we thought it would make a good blog post.

1. Make it fun

Dogs are like children. They get bored quickly and don’t like being bossed about. If you make the session into a game your pet will enjoy it and you’ll get the photos. Have plenty treats too. Dogs love rewards and if they know there’s a treat coming that helps. A small squeaky toy is ideal for attracting attention. Keep it in your pocket and give it a squeeze (but not too often). Your dog will usually look at you with an inquisitive look and you can snap it straightaway.

Puppy photography by Andrew Collier Photography A border collie puppy leaps out of her kennel.

2. Get down to your dog’s eye level

If you get down to your dog’s eye level you’ll get great eye contact and the dog in the photo will look back at the person viewing it. You’ll probably get dirty but it’ll be worth it. And you might get sat on and licked but that’s all part of the game!

A boxer dog looks over the gateTeddy the boxer peers over the gate to see who’s calling.

3. Grooming and brushing

Just like humans, dogs need a bit of need a bit of a make over to get the looking at their best. Matter in the corners of the eyes should be cleaned off. A clean, shiny, well brushed coat always looks better. So if your dog tends to matted fur or is a breed that needs regular clipping it’s best to take the photos a few days after a visit to the groomer.

Pet sessions with small dogs using props that are readily availablePet sessions with small dogs using props that are readily available

4. Keep things moving

Don’t spend too long trying to take each shot. If you don’t get what you straightaway move on to something else and come back to it later. So, if you a picture of your dog sitting and looking into the camera and he isn’t interested then try some actions shots with a ball or a favourite toy. Get a friend or family member to help out so you can get them to stand away from the camera and throw a ball back to you. The dog will usually run back to the camera. Then you’ll get those fab shots of the dog running towards you, ears flowing. After a while the dog will be tired. Stop the session, have a cuppa. At this point your dog will probably have a rest. Then you can go back to a shot of him sitting and looking into the camera. Your dog might prefer to peak over the gate or sit in a favourite chair so keep an eye out for these places as photo opportunities.

Red setter photography by Andrew Collier Photography,em>A red setter bounds through a spring meadow in East Lancashire.

5. Find the right light

You need just enough light but not too much. Soft natural light is best. On a very sunny day, find some shade to work in. Dogs squint in bright sunlight just like humans. In the shade your dog’s eyes will be open and bright and the colours of your dog’s coat will stand out. If you can do the photos on a day with a bit of cloud you’ll have much more flexibility about where you can take photos. But even on a sunny day you’ll find shade somewhere in your garden, indoors or even somewhere along your favourite walk.

Fox red and black labrador puppies surrounded by Autumn leavesFox red and black labrador puppies surrounded by Autumn leaves

Winter family portraits at sunset

That golden glow as the sun starts to sink in the late afternoon, or if it’s late November, around half past two. It’s magic light and creates wonderful portraits, loaded with atmosphere from the setting sun illuminating heavy skies.

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This session was taken a few weeks ago on the hills above the River Kent estuary in Cumbria, with Grange over Sands in the background.

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Winter is the best time of year for these types of portraits. They have strong colours from the sun lighting the landscape and adding a golden glow to the bare trees and dying grass. The dramatic skies, with clouds laden with rain and sun as yet another weather system crosses the country, add their own drama to the scene.

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Each season has it’s own distinct character and the atmosphere of winter is completely different to the other seasons. Winter portrait sessions can be unpredictable and we don’t always know exactly what we’re going to end up with. And that’s part of the fun.

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They’re always dramatic. Whether it’s bright sunlight across misty fields, heavy cloud, snowy scenes, or that flat light that winter days in the UK are famous for, the one thing they all have in common is that make they all make gorgeous portraits to display as wall art in your home.

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Portraits like these work at their best as large frames and canvasses as wall art in the main living areas of a home. The examples below show how the photos look when displayed in bespoke frames.

Winter portraits in the Cheshire countryside

Why have a portrait session in winter?

A rainy November morning isn’t most people’s first choice for an outdoor family portrait session. Most people think of warm sunny days as being best and that’s often true. I’ve found that winter portraits have a character and atmosphere all of their own. I did this family portrait session last winter in Little Bollington near Altrincham. I have no idea why I haven’t blogged about it yet. After taking the usual portraits of mum and dad and their son I spent some time photographing their son and their chocolate labrador.

Small children and their pets always make great photos. When you have a very young child who is old enough to take the dog for a walk, and when the dog is a bit older and quite gentle those photos take on a real significance. It’s like you can feel the relationship between the dog and his master.

The old sluice gates made a really good backdrop for a quick set of three photographs. The reason I chose them was because of the textures in the wood and the foliage in the background. Finally, I wanted to show how these photographs work beautifully as sets of three framed photographs positioned close to each other. Unusually, this set of three works equally well in colour and in black and white. While they work well in this example, this isn’t always the case.

One little man and his dog

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Back in July I did a family portrait session for young family in South Cheshire. Their two year old son had recently been given a Jack Russell puppy and the two of them played together throughout the session. While I was getting the family ready to do some photographs in one of their fields, I noticed their son and his dog running along one of the tracks in the wheat field. They were oblivious to what he rest of the family were doing and I couldn’t resist taking this picture when I saw them.

This is one of my favourite photographs from a busy summer. Although you can’t see his face, you get the sense of freedom and the innocence of youth… and the bond between one little man and his dog.

You can find out more about our family portrait photography on our family portraits page.