Unleashed Education Blog

Diane Gollowitzer - Member Spotlight

member spotlights Jan 12, 2024

Diane is an award-winning dog photographer based in Winchester, UK. She specialises in high-end wall art and provides a highly personalised service where everything is tailored to the dog's and the owner's needs.

Her sessions are stress-free and a lot of fun, where the dogs are allowed to be dogs. Her philosophy is that everyone deserves artwork of their dog no matter if they are trained or not if they are allowed off lead or not, or if they are nervous, anxious, or reactive.

Tell us a bit about you?

I'm a Certified Trick Dog Instructor (CDTI), dog first aider, and professional photographer. I live in Winchester, UK with my partner and our two pups, Dougal the Scottie and Deedee the Irish Terrier. They are both Trick Dog Champions.

Why did you start photographing pets?

In 2018 my partner and I started a roadside photography company called BikerPics. We bought a Canon 7D MkII and a 70-200mm f2.8 USM lens - we did not have much experience in photography before, we learned as we went.

Dougal was already 4 at the time, so I pretty quickly thought, that if I had this expensive gear, I should take images of him - and that's where it all started. You can say that I haven't photographed anything other than motorbikes and dogs. (Working on this ATM ;) )

What camera and lenses do you most often use?

My current body is a Canon R6 and my go to lens is my Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM.

What’s one thing in your camera bag you can’t live without?

Recently I found a freeze dried dog food by chance that proved to be irresistible for even the fussiest dogs. It's Coya's beef flavor.

What’s the best thing about being a pet photographer?

I love creating art and wowing my clients. I cannot imagine outsourcing the editing.

How would you describe your style?

I am not sure I have a style yet. I like to present the environment as it was during the session (or pretty close to that), so I'm not following the European style.

What is your proudest achievement as a pet photographer?

Of the 6 images I entered to the International Pet Photographer of the Year 2023, 3 received Silver and 2 Bronze Awards, and one scored at the Professional level. What is more, all three Silver images were taken during normal client sessions with lovely pet dogs.

What are your photography goals for the future?

At the moment I'm focusing on my business rather than my craft, but in a couple of years, I would want to have a steady stream of customers so I can dive into the craft a bit more again.

What do you do to cultivate and nurture your creativity?

I started a personal project where I'm photographing dogs who are wearing muzzles. The inspiration was my girl, Deedee, who can be reactive and wears a muzzle on our walks. I want to break the stigma around muzzles and muzzled dogs. I'm at the stage now where I'm trying to find a publisher for these images and stories.

What specific skills have improved since being an Unleashed Education member?

EVERYTHING. I learned everything from you - working with natural light, shooting actions, and editing, seriously, your fingerprints are all over my work.

What's your favourite thing about being an Unleashed Education member?

The Photo Feedback and the Photo Lab. I think I learned the most from those.

Have you ever had something funny happen during a shoot?

I'll share two:

This is a funny story that I tell every client to make them feel better about their dog's behavior - or when they are embarrassed that their dog is sniffing my camera bag. Once I was photographing my dog, Dougal, when a young Flat Coated Retriever trotted to my bag behind me and cocked his leg. I was about to have a rant when Dougal ran right there and did the same - so I couldn't even have a rant :D

The other one is the story of the first image below. This young cocker was on the lead as she was very energetic. At some point, she dragged the short lead out of the owner's hand, picked up the flexi lead, and had zoomiez. Then she just posed in the most beautiful light :) (The image received Above Average at the Animal Image Makers Print Competition in 2023)

This image was in the Top 25 of the International Pet Photographer of the Year 2022.

Dougal in Scotland - this image was in the Top 20 for The British Photography Awards 2022 in Pets and Domestic Animals category.

Deedee - this image was in the Top 20 for The British Photography Awards 2022 in Pets and Domestic Animals category and it received a Bronze at the International Pet Photographer of the Year 2023.

This image got a Gold Award form The National Photographic Society as well as the Silver Award at the International Pet Photographer of the Year 2023.

Highly Commended from The National Photographic Society.

Highly Commended from The National Photographic Society.

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