How did you get into photography?
The first time I realised I wanted to peruse my passion for photography, was when I was in lower sixth form and my Media Studies teacher at secondary school told me I had a real talent for photography and that there are various careers within this field.
We had done various projects involving photography such as for magazine articles and the front cover images along with video production, I also took plenty of photos within my Art studies, I knew I liked being creative but until it was pointed out to me I had never considered it. I started to do my research and really consider this as my next step, before this I had no idea what I wanted to do as a career.
From this, I went to Blackpool School of Arts and studied for a BA (Hons) in Photography and after 3 years of hard work, I came out with a first class degree in 2014. I now work full time in an office and run my photography business with the goal to eventually have enough commissions to run my photography business full time.
What's the biggest challenge when photographing dogs?
Hmm good question…I’d have to say if the dog(s) are particularly lively and bouncy dogs, who don’t like to listen to commands, this can be quite a challenge to actually get them to sit and not be off playing and chasing each other! It doesn’t matter how many treats you dangle in view or toys you show to them when they’re in ‘play’ mode there’s no reasoning! Usually there’s a moment where they pause for a breather and that’s where I spring into action capturing the dogs finally sat with tongues out looking content.
The other two sometimes challenging things are:
1) If the dog is camera shy and won’t look at you
2) If the dog is too curious of the camera, every time I kneel to shoot the dog will come to greet me (and the camera) rather than staying in position.
What advice would you give to photographing black pets, as this is notoriously hard to capture?
The important part of showing off the details of a black pet is getting a balance between shadow and highlight, and not letting your pet be too dark in the photo. It’s all in the lighting, an open space with natural light is often better than a darkened woodland. The background also plays an important role to your final image, backgrounds that are particularly busy will distract from your subject, so a minimal background will make your pet stand out.
Do you have any pets of your own?
Unfortunately, as much as I desperately would love a dog, I don’t have the required time to entertain one at the moment; it would be unfair on the dog. I have always grown up with dogs and farm dogs. My dad has recently got a little Yorkshire terrier after a few years without a dog by his side, and she is absolutely adorable! My grandma has a King Charles Spaniel and I quite often go round to hers for doggy cuddles their too.
Are there any other animals you enjoy taking pictures of?
Yes, I love working on rural projects so taking photos of a particular breeds of sheep such as the Swaledale, or breed of cow such as The Shorthorn. I was commissioned by Farmland Magazine to photograph James Robinson, who appeared on BBC Countryfile in April and is a local farmer to my area. The Robinson family talked about their century of keeping and registering their Dairy Shorthorns in the oldest herd book in the world. I captured some interesting photographs and enjoy this kind of work as I have a farming background and have grown up on a small holding surrounded by animals and wildlife.
To find out more about Louise's work please visit www.louisethompsonphotography.com