Episode 3: Bella at Home

Bella is a thirteen year old Maltese X Silky Terrier, much loved by her mum Sue.

Bella knows sit - and that's about it. She is however highly treat motivated, so I used that to my advantage throughout the session. As long as I had a treat in my hand, I had her full attention. Sue kindly let us shoot at her home, a beautiful traditional "Queenslander" style home in the suburbs of Brisbane. We had a lovely garden to work with, including some pretty spring flowers, along with some great rooms inside the house.

In this 40 minute episode I work directly with Bella to create some gorgeous portraits and documentary style shots, along with dog and owner shots with her mum Sue.

Watch the Teaser...


Ready to dive into this episode?


"This episode was great to see that it is possible to have great shots even at home: you just have to look around and find the perfect light and spot. This is a very nice video for dealing with shy and senior dogs. I loved it!"

Deise Oliveira

What you'll learn in this episode

  • The most useful question you can ask in your pre-session questionnaire

  • The two most important things to do as soon as you arrive at your client's house

  • What to do when it's hard to focus on the dog's eyes because of all that hair!

  • How to capture action when the dog isn't interested in toys

  • How to embrace the dog's quirks for meaningful photos

  • How to position dogs for the shot without losing their trust

  • Why it's important to shoot using manual exposure in strong backlit situations

  • Easy posing tips for dog and owner

  • The difference between soft light and hard light

Editing Tutorial 1: Backups, Workflow & File Management

Instead of following an edit through from start to finish, this episode's post processing tutorials are a little different. The first 14 minute video takes you through workflow and file management topics.

What you'll learn
  • Why Lightroom is so important to a photographer's workflow
  • How to securely back up your work and why this is so incredibly important
  • My system for RAW file management
  • How I organise all my client files
  • How Lightroom works for you to keep your files organised
  • My process for importing images to Lightroom

"Loved the ability to watch the session as it was being photographed and really appreciated the culling process video. Excellent editing video. Charlotte really has an eye not only for photography but also for bringing out the best in the photo. She's enjoyable to watch and listen to and you can tell she really loves what she does."

Debby Herold

Editing Tutorial 2: Culling Bella's Session

The second post-processing video is 26 minutes long and guides you through the complete culling process for Bella's shoot, using Adobe Lightroom.

What you'll learn
  • Lightroom's easy built-in system for selecting images to edit

  • The quickest way to check focus

  • Why choosing images for eye contact and expression is so important

  • Speed up your flagging process with Auto-sync

  • Using Survey Mode to compare and choose images

  • When to apply quick edits to aid in selecting images

  • How to choose the best dog and owner photos your client will love

  • How the number of images you choose to present to your client can directly effect sales

Editing Tutorial 3: Portrait Edit

The third and final editing video is 24 minutes long and guides you through the complete edit of a portrait image of Bella, in both Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop.

What you'll learn
  • The must-have Lightroom plugin that will save you time and hassle diagnosing focusing issues

  • How to save precious editing time when importing

  • How to use the tone sliders to create that bright and airy feeling

  • The mind-blowing simple editing technique that can rescue a badly framed image

  • An alternative tear staining removal method for non-white dogs

  • Why you should be subtle when "cleaning up" older dogs

  • How to use Dodge and Burn the way they were intended

  • How actions can save you time when editing in Photoshop

  • Why you should ask Photoshop's opinion about your image


"I really love all the ideas and techniques you showed in this episode. It gives me ideas for taking pictures in and around the house. I also love your explanations about when and why to use different lenses, including the macro, that I own but never really used much. But that's going to change!"

Sandra Benzing

In every RealShoots episode you get

Shooting Video

A two-hour, real-life dog photography shoot professionally edited down to around the length of a TV episode. Watch anytime, anywhere. No deadlines. No pressure. Tons of value.

Learning Guide

A downloadable companion learning guide to summarise and expand on the video content. Includes handy tips, images with full settings, some with behind the scenes photos.

Daily Tips

Optionally subscribe to the daily tip series accompanying the episode. Bite sized ways to improve your pet photography – delivered daily so you can read and absorb straight away.

Client Gallery

Exclusive access to the full client image gallery. See the actual results of the shoot in high quality, just as the client would see them.

Editing Tutorials

Comprehensive editing tutorials. Watch a complete image edit using professional Adobe photo editing software - Lightroom and Photoshop.

RAW Files

Download the RAW image files used in the editing tutorials so you can play along at home, while watching the editing videos. Nothing better than learning by doing!

Fun Quiz

A challenging and super fun quiz to test your knowledge and keep you on your toes! Download the Cheat Sheet for full explanations of the answers.

Discussion Areas

Ask questions about the training and interact with other students. No such thing as a silly question here - and all are answered personally by Charlotte!

Ready to brighten up your world with Bella?

Dive in now and get your paws dirty!


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