Nathan Anderson was looking for the perfect match when it came to hiring a pet photographer for a very special project.
Nathan has four dogs, two Spaniels, one German Shepherd and a Lurcher, and has spent a decade travelling all around the UK to compete with them in Agility, Flyball and Schutzhund. For an extra special touch Nathan decided he wanted to decorate the outside of his van with his furry family and began the hunt for a pet photographer that could really capture their individual characters.
Nathan said: “I knew I wanted real photographs, not cartoons, and I wanted them to be really high quality and show off my dog’s personalities. On top of that I needed a pet photographer who would understand my vision and be comfortable with taking it on because I knew it wasn’t the norm.”
Nathan began with a Google search and found Robert Ashton Pet Photography.
He said: “I loved Rob’s images, he had a way of capturing the character of the pets in his photographs. When I got in touch I loved how enthusiastic he was about the project, he couldn’t wait to take it on and that’s exactly what I was looking for.”
Rob said: “I was really excited when Nathan approached me with the project. I am passionate about all things pet photography and this was something really unique so I knew I wanted to be a part of it. Nathan wanted to have fun with it to show how he feels about his hobby, build a brand behind what he does and most importantly show off his dogs, all things I could help with.”
After the commission was agreed, re-toucher Carole Tuff was brought onboard by Rob. The two have a great partnership and have worked together for a long time on everything from photoshopping out doggie drool to repositioning a pet’s head by blending different images together.
She explains: “I worked with Rob right from the start on how best to go ahead with the shoots so we can get the best results during the re-touching process. Because of the van’s size and the outlines of the dog’s fur, it was a bit more of a complicated process than the usual retouching jobs.”
“The background of the photos was going to be a blue sky with clouds, so I needed to blend the background together to make it as convincing as possible. The fur made it a bit trickier as I had to cut around it very precisely to make the background look genuine in photoshop. At the end of the day there is no shortcut to getting a quality image.”
Rob shot the pets in the studio with a grey background before Carole used a graduated background to blend in clouds and sky, a long process that saw Carole taking half a day to retouch each van panel.
Rob said: “It was a great shoot and I loved getting to know Nathan’s furry family and capturing their unique personalities on camera, it is one of my favourite things about pet photography and this was a new challenge which was fun. It was all about making sure Nathan and his dogs were happy and making his vision a reality, that is incredibly important to me because he was trusting us to get it right.”
Get it right they did as Nathan was over the moon at the end result which now accompanies him all over the country.
Nathan said: “It was even better than I had imagined. I get so much good feedback from people at the shows and even people on the street, especially kids, smile and wave as I go past. I am really happy with it.”