Chris Miller - Member SpotlightFeb 09, 2024
After 40 years in the IT and Tech Industry, Chris built his encore lifestyle career as a professional dog photographer, MIL Pet Photography.
Exclusively focused as a dog photography specialist, he loves nothing more than capturing that unique emotional connection and deep, unconditional love between the dog lover and their beloved dog. He prides himself on providing an overall experience, taking quality time to get to know his clients and their dogs.
As he strictly limits his private client work, he is able to give back and make a difference for dog charities. He has a strong passion to photograph dogs who help others (such as assistance and support dogs) and dogs who have been rescued and given a second chance.
Tell us a bit about you?
I "retired" from the Tech and IT Industry at the end of 2021 and am living the dream dedicated to Dog Photography. I started in 2018 after signing up to RealShoots and deciding there and then that this would be my future.
In my spare time, I like to play golf, exercise, and play guitar - although never all at the same time!
After a break from our last fur baby crossing the rainbow bridge, Milo and Simba are entering our lives - two kittens coming from one of our dog photography clients!
Why did you start photographing pets?
Absolutely, Jen my first dog a rescue greyhound - she was one year old when I was two and we grew up together. Today, I only have just the one photo of me and Jen. I want to help as many people as possible have at least one professional photograph of their dog.
What camera and lenses do you most often use?
A pair of Sony A7R3s. Variety of Sony Lenses, with my favourites being 70-200mm f2.8 and my 16-35mm f2.8.
What’s one thing in your camera bag you can’t live without?
My fold out / fold up ground sheet - it makes sure that I get as low as I possibly can!
What’s the best thing about being a pet photographer?
Being with dogs almost every day, either on a photo session or editing their cute faces. The Oxytocin levels I receive every day are way better than any of my 40 years in the IT industry! I also enjoy making new friendships. It's been fantastic to photograph dogs who were puppies and now I am capturing them as they grow up too.
How would you describe your style?
My style is still developing but for forest and field scenes, I am consistent in my style for what I do with the Browns and Greens in the backgrounds.
I am at my happiest when the client and dog wants action photography!
What is your proudest achievement as a pet photographer?
In 2022, it was great to publish Tails of Windsor & Ascot, part of the Tails of the World Collective.
Achieving my Licentiate LSWPP from the Society of Photographers in 2023 has been the highlight so far, along with some highly commended awards. A panel of 20 images in a portfolio reviewed by 5 judges helped address any imposter syndrome after 40 years in a non photographic career!
What are your photography goals for the future?
I have a huge project on for 2024 which will have me photographing 60 different dogs across the UK and Europe, resulting in a fundraising effort and book, as well as a huge piece of artwork to be hung as a legacy for the dog charity I am supporting.
I have recently become a "Lifetime Member" of Unleashed Pet Photography Education and so in 5 years time, I would like to have completed every challenge available. I will start with Embark in 2025.
What do you do to cultivate and nurture your creativity?
I attend the annual Societies of Photographers 4 day convention in London, where I get a huge boost of inspiration and new ideas every year. Last year, Belinda Richards and Kris Anderson inspired me the most and I want to become more creative with compositing.
What specific skills have improved since being an Unleashed Education member?
The 5-10 minute Editing Toolbox ideas are simply brilliant. I start my editing day with a coffee and 1-2 videos before I start my own work... bite size chunks and a learning something new regularly helps.
By far, Charlotte and Craig's editing tips have been game changes.
What's your favourite thing about being an Unleashed Education member?
I love the tutorials and courses, and this is why I signed up. I took the Lifetime option as having started with Realshoots back in 2018, I knew that my style of learning is aligned and that I am committed for the long run.
I will be going over all of the content over the coming 12 months, and will join some of the live calls too - before I start Embark in 2025!
Have you ever had something funny happen during a shoot?
Absolutely. I recently photographed a Golden Retriever for the second time in two years. She knows me well, and she had the whole agility arena to herself for this private session. She was great throughout, and I got some amazing photos for her Mum.
At the end of the session, when she said "Go see Chris", she literally ran over, into me, and wouldn't let me get up - licking, pawing, and just showing all of that Golden Retriever affection. I loved it, even though it meant another new lens protector (that's what they are for, right?).
Duffy, the Cavapoo puppy, looking like a little teddy bear flying through the forest
Pippa, the working cocker spaniel, flying over a log in the forest in Ascot forest near Windsor Great Park
King Loui, a Cavapoo, enjoying life at Windsor Castle
The Chocolate Iggies - Mint, Choc and Chip, At Ascot Racecourse
Ollie, the rescue Podenco Andaluz, having fun in Stag Meadow in Windsor
Coco, the young Sprizsla puppy, posing in the forest in Ascot
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