Being a Dog Photographer

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Being a dog photographer I cannot help being touched by the lives of the dogs and families that pass through my life and my lens. I surely fall in love, at least a little bit, with every dog I photograph.

I want to take a moment to write a little tribute and remember a very special dog that passed away this weekend. His name was Hotshot (I know right?) and he had a special gift. A kindness and wisdom in his soul that made him adored by all who met him - children, adults, other dogs and even cats.

When my family first adopted our 8 1/2 year old Staffy, she was anxious around every dog she encountered, her history had left her scarred. Hotshot was her first canine friend and we all felt such love and gratitude towards him and his calming demeanour for helping her come to grips with her past and move forward. She’s now nearly 14 and has loads of doggy friends. It all started with Hotshot.

Being a dog photographer means I get to witness the beauty of sharing your life with an animal as I meet so many families and their pets, this includes the sadness which comes at the end. Thank you Hotshot and Clare and Drew, I’m thinking of you today.

Hampstead Dog Photography

Great Hampstead Bark Off 2019
To benefit All Dogs Matter

Being a professional dog photographer in Hampstead means that attending events like this are part of the job. How cool is that? I got to spend my bank holiday Sunday meeting and taking pictures of so many fabulous dogs and chatting with their owners. As you’ll see in this gallery, Parliament Hill was teeming with dogs of all shapes and sizes. 

This event was in support of All Dogs Matter, a London based dog charity that rescues and re-homes dogs, reunites dogs with their owners and delivers educational visits in the community. It was such a pleasure to meet so many dogs that were re-homed through this fantastic organisation. Have a look at their website, especially if you’re looking to adopt a dog - https://alldogsmatter.co.uk/

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Sisters in Marylebone, Photographs from 2013-2018

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Every year I look forward to catching up with these girls and their lovely parents for their annual holiday photo session. It is a privilege for me to watch these sisters grow into two such charming young women. While documenting them, I have been witness to how their close and loving relationship deepens with each passing year. 

Kitting the girls out is always a pleasure, because their mother brings with her a great selection of funky attire. I love the challenge of scouting around for a new backdrop for the photograph. The location is always Marylebone, and usually near Baker Street.

Each year has brought us fun and laughs as well as challenges. 

2013. This was the first year that I photographed the girls. I was worried that I might not get full cooperation from the little one, but when I sat down to edit the pictures she looked completely present and engaged in every single frame - amazing.

2014. I stood behind my tripod in awe of their beauty and how natural they were when posing together - another dream shoot.

2015. We were practically shooting in the dark, after school in mid-December, and I could feel the clock ticking and see the light dimming as passing neighbours tried to engage me in conversation - whew. 

2016. The day of this session was unseasonably warm and just as fun as it looks in the photograph. The girls were playing and running and climbing – it was a great afternoon and I love the memory of it.

2017. Ouch! Well below freezing, but the girls were very brave and were rewarded with hot drinks inside a cosy cafe afterwards - brrr. 

2018. This year it was pouring with rain! We kept going though, heading to the thickest area of trees. I just love how the girls glow in the dim light - wow.

Six years on, looking back, I reflect on how these parents have ensured that they have a beautiful record of their daughters, as well as wonderful memories of our meetings. More than this, these pictures are a priceless gift to the girls themselves to have and enjoy when they are grown.

 

Dog Portrait of Working Cocker Spaniel in St. Pancras & Islington Cemetery, East Finchley

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My recent dog photography session with Lucy is now among some of my favourites ever. I’ve never photographed this amazingly photogenic breed of dog before, nor have been to this truly atmospheric location. This magical place (the largest cemetery in the UK) was stunning at every turn with tangled corners and dramatic Victorian statuary and mausoleums. A perfect backdrop for Lucy the Gun Dog who was equally remarkable with her beautiful face, perfect posing and fur that looked like she just walked out of a Mayfair salon. 

What a great experience for me - and I think Lucy and her owners had a great time too.

 

Cats vs. Dogs

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Why do we have to choose? I love them both! But there is a difference between photographing cats and dogs. 

Those of you who have had a dog session with me will know how it works. We are outside in a park or garden where your dog is happy and relaxed. We have a good walk and then we play and then we stop and take some pictures. The dog sits or stands or lays down. I take more pictures, give them some treats or toys and then let them run around before we do it all over again. It’s fun and very active and it’s important that your dog has a good time. If you look at my pictures you might think the dog just sits there the whole time but in reality, there are very few moments when we are not moving. 

Photographing your cat is an entirely different scenario. I come to your house. I meet your cat and scratch their chin. I observe. I wait. I stalk. I take some pictures. Maybe we play or I stroke your cat or give them a treat and then I usually wait some more. I wait a lot for the cat to give me something. To stop in the good light. To give me a great expression or make an interesting shape with their body. Photographing cats is a slow and pensive process. Very different from a dog session.

It’s such a pleasure to photograph animals and I love that each creature and situation requires something different from me. If you’re interested in booking a dog or cat session with me or have any questions please send me a note at info@suzyflood.com or go to my contact page.

 

Our Rescue Dog in Marylebone

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On a wet March day in 2014 my six year old daughter and I went to Battersea Dogs Home (www.battersea.org.uk) to collect our new/old dog. Daisy was eight and half and had been through Battersea twice. It had taken us a long time to match with a dog, having a young child at home and living in a flat were big considerations. It needed to be right for her and for us.

Her name wasn’t Daisy - that change came a few weeks later when we decided a rescue Staffy in Marylebone needed a bit of “rebranding”. She didn’t seem to mind - she embraced her new home with us and so we embarked on a truly life changing experience. 

We had our struggles. Daisy was anxious and untrained. She’s strong in body and will (but she only managed to pull me over once)! We sought help and with many thanks to Susan at The Dog Hub (www.thedoghub.co.uk), lots of hard work and laughs and treats, we all learned a lot about behaviour - both canine and human.

Yes, we have given Daisy a warm and loving home, lots of cuddles, vet checks, good food and of course tennis balls! But I think we’ve done far better in this exchange. More than giving us the incredible love of a dog she has also brought me some of the best friends I have and opened the door to a community that has become such an important part of my life. She’s seen my daughter through tough days and big life transitions. She has shown me London’s parks as I have never seen them. And by example, she has inspired us all with her kindness, bravery and trust. Thank you dear Daisy!

Dog and Owner Photography in South Kensington

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Although I most often photograph dogs on their own it can be such a pleasure to capture the bond between an owner and their pet. I was so touched to see how sweet this dog and owner were together. Looking at their expressions just makes me smile.