Never has there been a truer saying than ‘Don’t work with animals and children’….as I found out in this week’s new experience!
Of course, it seemed a good idea when I booked it. After all, Harley is the most photogenic dog I know and always, without fail, sits and poses for me all the time – and I take a lot of pictures of her! But the day we go for a proper, studio-based shoot with a professional photographer and a real fancy camera, she behaves like a feral child high on smarties.
I guess it doesn’t help that Harley was already super excited to see me (as per previous blogs, we are living apart at the moment) so when I bundled her into the car, no doubt she naturally thought we were going on an adventure. And Harley’s idea of an adventure normally involves muddy puddles, being let off her lead and running riot with the occasional sniff at something untoward. Imagine her surprise when we arrived at the lovely Curborough shopping village and not the local park! 1-0 to Mummy….
Harley greeted the photographer in full Harley mode – tail wagging, tongue lolling out and her best impression of the infamous ‘half dog – half kangaroo’ that she does so well. She had a sniff around the studio, checked out the furniture and I held my breath, praying she wouldn’t decide to ‘christen’ the new surroundings.
Eventually we decided to try (key word) and get her to sit on the black background and pose for the camera. Armed with a handful of gravy bones, I coaxed her into the sitting position and although she does know her commands and normally performs them very well, today she decided to be made of rubber and she wriggled, jiggled and lay on her side with her lady bits on show. Coupled with her tongue hanging out, it’s safe to say Harley looked anything like the beautiful dog she is and resembled some kind of wild, demented beast found in a zoo in Outer Mongolia.
Finally, something clicked in her pretty little blonde head and she sat upright, body slightly off center, paws aligned and stared right down the camera – deploying her secret weapon of two beautiful brown eyes.
And oh boy, did she work that camera!
We moved onto the mock bed (normally her favorite place at home) and she lay beautifully, paws slightly crossed and a slight head tilt as I once again dangled a gravy bone above the photographer’s head. It was more by luck than judgement she didn’t have a line of drool hanging from her mouth….
40 minutes or so later and we were done – even I managed to get in on a few of the shots, although when I viewed them, I looked like I was wrestling with her in a vain attempt to keep her still. No mean feat with a 32 kg Labrador….
But as I discovered the following day, the hard part wasn’t actually getting Harley to give Cindy Crawford a run for her money, but it was choosing which images I wanted to keep. Oh. My. Goodness! We started with a slide show of about 20 or so; the really duff ones already removed from the selection. I whittled that down to 15ish….and then to 12. But it was so hard! Despite my earlier reservations of Harley looking and behaving like a complete loop fruit, she (and the photographer!) really pulled it out of the bag when it came to it. There were some seriously stunning pictures and even though I vowed I most definitely wasn’t going to spend a lot of money, I did.
Finally, I chose my 7 absolute favorites and as I handed over my credit card (and sobbed a little!) the lovely studio Manager told me about a pet portrait competition that has a £1000 prize. Not only does this studio take the images for it, she highly recommended I enter Harley! Dam right I will, this dog needs to earn her keep for looking so beautiful!
So, all in all, it was a slightly traumatic dog photography experience initially but when I receive the images, I know that every second of me yelling ‘Harllllleyyyy’ like a common fish wife will be absolutely worth it.
Huge thanks to Becky and Sarah at Firefly Photography Lichfield (find them on Facebook under this name) for their patience with us both!
To read more of 50 Ways to Leave Your 40s, click here.
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