Pet portraits; be more Frank

Pet portrait of a dog on a sofa.

Pet portraits, well what can I say?

When it comes to family portraits, a lot of people say to me “we want to catch this precious moment in time”.

But you know, it’s not always just humans that applies to. Pets are part of the family too.

Which makes me think of Frank the labradoodle. Oh my God, he is amazing. He was nearly three and had a great life in sunny Wormit. But he had a lump on his head, a tumour.

His owner was terrified, because he was her baby and she thought that Frank wasn’t going to be around for much longer. She was determined to capture him at his best in case something happened.

Pet portraits brief

So I’d asked her about what she wanted and there were some very specific memories being encapsulated in the shoot. 

I asked what it was Frank loved, and Frank loved his toys, so we decided to do a shot with all his toys around him, just to make him feel comfortable.

She also wanted a shot of him high-fiving her, that was a really important picture for her. Another thing she wanted was a picture of her beside him, with her wearing her red Converse trainers and blue jeans.

And Frank against a black background. Now, Frank is a pure black labradoodle so that’s technically quite difficult, but it emerged through our conversation it was really important to her. So I had to get it absolutely nailed.

The shoot

This wasn’t a run of the mill shoot. Not that I ever do a run of the mill shoot but there was so much going on here, the whole session took two hours. And Frank loved every minute of it.

We used three different backdrops in the studio. There was black on black so we had to get the lighting absolutely spot on, using a lot of separation, air lights and all that malarkey. And trying to hold that in a position where he was going to stay relatively still.

His owner had a small armchair – well Frank’s armchair I believe – so we had that in the studio with all his toys lying around. We used a grey background, picking up the grey in the armchair for Frank and his toys.

Bubble trouble

One of the other things Frank loves is bubbles so we got Frank’s favourite bubble gun and went wild.

We got some shots of Frank jumping all over the studio, chasing and bursting these bubbles.

These were against a purple backdrop which looked fantastic with the black and the bubbles, it went really well.

We’ve got the most amazing shots, so just at the point where he’s burst the bubbles and you can see the actual explosion of the bubble and the absolute joy on his face.

And that was Frank’s shoot.

His owner burst into tears when I showed her the images. She’d actually just got the great news that the tumour was benign and he was going to be alright.

One of my favourite pet portraits. High five, Frank!

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