Unleashed Education Blog

Nicola's Mentoring Session with Buddah the British Bulldog

mentoring Mar 13, 2014

The second of my shooting mentoring sessions with Nicola (our first model being Zephyr the tri coloured, blue-eyed Border Collie) was a very different style of shoot. Our model was a British Bulldog called Buddah and the session took place right in the heart of Brisbane city!

Buddah (yep, coolest name ever for a bulldog, right?) loved being the centre of attention at our shoot. He was admired from near and far, had plenty of water from his own personal water bottle, lots of treats, pats and cuddles... all totally deserved for being a superstar model. I think it almost even made up for the crazy ladies with cameras he was with, constantly stopping randomly on the street and asking him to pose, while he was trying to go for a nice stroll. He took it all in his stride though!

We started off the session at a historic building called the Commissariat Stores which dates back to the penal colony times of Brisbane. The first and second story were convict built and it now houses the Royal Historical Society of Queensland. The old stone walls provided some interesting textures for the backgrounds of our images.

Since we were between buildings, we had to pay careful attention to how the light was falling on our subject - it's very easy to end up with no catchlights in the eyes. One way of ensuring this doesn't happen is to make sure the dog is facing up towards the light.

Heading off for a walk through the city, the aim was to use the urban environment to create interest through texture and perspective. Being among buildings, we were often shooting in full shade so finding ways other than sunshine to lend interest to the resulting images was important.

Buildings are great for adding perspective and scale. I love how this pillared walkway recedes into the distance, with the focus on Buddah's squishy face and cute little butt!

Being a pretty hot day, we had to make sure Buddah was kept comfortable and hydrated. His mum brought plenty of water along, but it's always good to take your own for your doggy subject too - just in case they run out. A hot thirsty dog doesn't make the best or most co-operative subject!

Here we shot at an angle and included the streetscape to create interest. The focus is firmly on Buddah, but the viewer's eye constantly moves between him and the rest of the image due to the composition.

For this shot, Nicola chose to shoot directly towards the steps of the building so she could use the architectural features as a frame.

City environments can be really challenging to shoot in, but Buddah handled it like a pro!

Our walk led us back to the Botanic Gardens, where we let Buddah have a run around - though to be honest, he did need quite a bit of encouragement by that stage!

Here's what Nicola had to say about her pet photography mentoring experience:

"Charlotte is an excellent teacher, very professional and obviously loves what she does. She interacts really well with the dogs and their owners and was very attentive when teaching me and answered all my questions with ease. I feel so much more confident now than I did before the session – thanks!"

Interested in booking your own learning experience? Find out more about my one-on-one mentoring sessions.

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