Chester is a great place for dog photography with some great locations within the city and in the surrounding countryside in Cheshire and just over the border in North Wales.

Portrait photograph of a Golden Retriever and his owner in parkland in Chester, Cheshire

Dog photography is one of my favourite parts of portrait photography. There is something really special about capturing the character, call it personality, of a pet. I’ve been photographing dogs and cats (and the occasional rabbit) for eleven years and there’s something magic about it. I think the secret is eye contact. You have to get down to the eye level of your subject and you’ve got to let them engage with you. Let them come to you. Whenever I meet clients and their pets for the first time I don’t make a fuss. I let them come to me. And I always have treats in my pockets.

An action dog portrait of a golden retriever running across a field

I have found there is a huge similarity between photographing dogs and small children. You have to make the session fun and into a game. Then the subject, human or canine will want to join in. You need keep your distance, which means longer lenses. And you need to be at eye level too, or slightly above which getting down low. Okay, with a big breed like a Golden Retriever you can kneel down but if you’re photographing a Dachshund you need to be sitting or even lying down on the ground. And you need to faster shutter speed than you would for adults.

A three quarter dog portrait of a golden retriever  with a background of golden leaves

Dogs and small children tend to move without warning so you need to keep watching the subject through the camera and keep shooting. Big memory cards are a must. Another tip is too shoot with the camera set to continuous rather than single shot and set the autofocus to track moving subjects. Most cameras have a sports setting but higher spec cameras have an autofocus setting for moving subjects. Choose that.

Environmental dog portrait photograph of a Golden Retriever looking at his owners in parkland in Chester, Cheshire

We chose locations in Chester and close by for taking the photos. First we went to Duke’s Drive, the old driveway to Eaton Park and now a popular location for walking, cycling and dog walking. There’s lots of space to work without getting in anyone’s way, easy parking and and it’s a perfect location for a pet photographer to take photos. Finlay wasn’t great off the lead so the first part of the session was photographed with his lead on. In the first part of the shoot we took photos of Finlay with his humans.

A  dog portrait of a golden retriever looking at the camera with a background of golden leaves

For the second part, Di had booked a large exercise field fifteen minutes away in Northop, Denbighshire. This gave us a big area where Finlay could run about and where we could get some action shots. In these types of photos I’m looking for plenty of movement and to show the dog’s character and physique. It requires patience from the humans and a lot of repetition. And you have to be ready. You can’t afford to miss a shot.

Environmental dog portrait photograph of a Golden Retriever and his owners in parkland in Chester, Cheshire

If you have a pet (or a child) and you’d like to have beautiful portraits please call us on 01925 471091 or message us through the contact page. If you want to reserve session you can do that online here.

Environmental dog portrait photograph of a Golden Retriever and his owners in parkland in Chester, Cheshire

A close up dog portrait of a golden retriever looking into the camera with a background of golden leaves

Environmental dog portrait photograph of a Golden Retriever and his owners in a field in Holywell, Flintshire, North Wales

A dog portrait of a golden retriever looking at his owner in a field in Holywell, Flintshire, North Wales

A pet portrait of a golden retriever jumping for his owner in a field in Holywell, Flintshire, North Wales

A pet portrait of a golden retriever jumping for his owner in a field in Holywell, Flintshire, North Wales

A pet portrait of a golden retriever sitting for his owner in a field in Holywell, Flintshire, North Wales

A Portrait of a Golden retriever walking and carrying his ball

An action pet portrait of a golden retriever running towards the camera