Portrait of a dog catches judges' eyes

A photography studio in Shropshire is enjoying a business boom after a portrait with a difference caught the judges’ eyes in a national competition.

For the portrait - captured by Emotion Studios in Claverley, near Bridgnorth - was not of a cute baby or a happy couple, but a dog.

Sean Fairall, owner of Emotion Studios, said pet photography was now becoming an increasingly popular area of his work.

And he said clients of the award-winning business were getting great results because they had a specialist pet portrait photographer who understood animals and had a genuine love and knowledge of them.

Mr Fairall, who lives in Shrewsbury, said: “I set the business up nine years ago to bring a top quality and enjoyable photography service to the area.

“Back then our work mainly involved portraits of families and individuals.

“But increasingly over the years people have wanted photos of their pets - for many, especially people without children, they are an important part of their family and they want them to be included.

“Unlike the majority of other studios around we will take photographs of the pets on their own to provide a unique portrait, whereas others will only work with them in a family photography session for instance.

“It is great fun but I can safely say some are harder work than photographing even the youngest of children!”

Mr Fairall is a member of an exclusive national group of portrait studios called the Click Group.

He said: “We will take photographs of any animals and only last week had a client who wanted us to take shots of their terrapin both indoors and out.

“We can cater for anything and have even had enquiries for monkeys, parrots, rats and guinea pigs.

“What is important is that you understand the animal to get the best out of them and Lynsey certainly does that.”

Emotion Studios has won accolades for its photographs and reached the last five out of more than 5,000 entries, three years in a row in a national competition for its portrait photographs.

And Mr Fairall is hoping they will win the pet photographer of the year award after being shortlisted for the last three years.

Lynsey Northall, who takes the pet photos and has been a photographer for over 11 years, said: “I have a lot of experience in the industry and love the challenges I meet every day as part of my job.

“I especially love taking photographs of animals, capturing the personality of each one, and the work you have to do to get a really good image.

“It is important that I can connect with the animal and understand what sort of photographs I am likely to get.

“I need to be able to get the best out of the pet and to bring out their unique character. Often it can be unpredictable because they do not always behave in the way that you want.

“It helps that I really like working with animals and especially dogs, which I really love.”

Mr Fairall said the studios gift vouchers for pet photography were ideal presents for people to buy for their animal loving friends.

He said: “We have people travel from all over the Midlands including Leicester and Coventry for our unique stylized pet portraits.

“Very often the owner who started off reluctant to be in any photos ends up in them to entertain their pet and they often end with some of the best photos.”

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Pete White Pete White

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