Unleashed Education Blog

Fiona's Mentoring Session with Asti the Griffon Bruxellois

mentoring Jul 23, 2014

When Fiona booked her mentoring session and indicated she might like to work with a small dog, I immediately thought of Asti. Her mum Louise had submitted her to my dog model database a month or so beforehand and I had been dying to meet her. Not a breed you see very often, the Griffon Bruxellois (otherwise known as the Brussels Griffon) may refer to three different breeds, the Griffon Bruxellois, the Griffon Belge or the Petit Brabançon.

Technically, since Asti is short coated, she'd be considered a Petit Brabançon type, or just a Smooth Coated Griffon Bruxellois.

The below is taken from the Wiki article on the breed, which I thought was interesting and worth sharing.

The three variations of this dog all descend from a rough coated, small terrier-like dog kept in stables to eliminate rodents. In Belgium coachmen were fond of their alert little Griffons d’Ecurie (wiry coated stable dogs) and in the 19th century, they bred their Griffons with imported toy dogs. Breeding with the Pug and King Charles Spaniel brought about the current breed type, but also brought the short coat that led to the Petits Brabançon, which was originally a fault in the breed. The spaniels also brought the rich red and black and tan colour.

The Griffon Bruxellois is known to have a huge heart, and a strong desire to snuggle and be with his or her master. They display a visible air of self-importance. Griffons should also be alert, inquisitive and interested in their surroundings.

Griffons tend to bond with one human more than others. They are not very patient but do love to play. Griffons tend to get along well with other animals in the house,  however, they can get into trouble because they have no concept of their own relative size and may attempt to dominate dogs much larger than themselves.

Louise has taken the time to socialise and train Asti and coupled with her bold and confident nature, she proved to be an excellent model. So good in fact, that we ended up using her again as a model at the Zoomies Pet Photography Workshop. Brisbane attendees can attest she was absolutely amazing to work with and gave the BEST head tilts.

My mentoring student Fiona came all the way from Mackay for her mentoring session. She is actually a past client - I photographed her two little dogs Sam and Jessie in Mackay in 2013. With a keen interest in photography already, she hoped to gain some more skills in working with pets as it would be a service she would offer through her new business - Coffee & Hops - design + photography solutions for business, home + life. If you check out her pet photography gallery you may just spot a few shots of Miss Asti!

We practiced a bunch of different pet photography techniques throughout Fiona's mentoring session, including finding the best light. Often the best light is in a location that isn't ideal, but a shallow depth of field does much to hide or disguise things in the background that aren't super photogenic. This was shot in a creek bed with a road overpass behind, but you'd never guess!

Since Asti is super tiny, we were able to elevate her on a park bench for some silhouettes around sunset. She has such a distinctive profile that silhouettes really suit her!

If you're interested in learning more about my one-on-one pet photography mentoring services, I'd love to hear from you!

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