2022-Cute Dogs Take Spotlight in Awesome Photos by Craig Turner


“Animals are continuously speaking with us,” says New Zealand-based touring photographer Craig Turner about his experiences whereas photographing canine all over the world. He’s made some unimaginable portraits of many furry four-legged buddies. Apart from the technical facet of getting an excellent image, he tells us tips on how to seize the feelings behind the animals and their house owners.

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It positively takes so much to be an excellent animal photographer; understanding their feelings and refined indicators isn’t one thing everybody can do. Simply as we must always with folks, Craig Turner tells us in regards to the significance of being affected person when taking portraits of animals. Extra so than anything, animals perceive how we really feel and react accordingly. All of the Animal AI tech packed into your newest digital camera can’t do a lot in case you don’t perceive what the animal is attempting to inform you.

On the backside of the submit, see how Craig used the Fujifilm XH2s.

The Important Picture Gear Utilized by Craig Turner


Craig advised us:

I suppose probably the most attention-grabbing a part of my gear bag is the non digital camera stuff. The bits which are extra particular to working with canine! I at all times have a wide range of canine treats with me, generally this contains canine pleasant peanut butter, for some motive canine are mad for it, however it will get fairly messy! I even have tennis balls, an extended line leash and a stake to carry canine in place if I must.

The Phoblographer: Hello there Craig. Please inform us about your self and the way you bought into images.

Craig Turner: I grew up on the tiny island of Guernsey, a part of the Channel Islands within the English Channel. Life on such a small island was difficult for somebody who stood out. I used to be by no means afraid of expressing myself and being who I used to be, however as a reasonably flamboyant homosexual teen, I used to be usually singled out. I used to be bullied so much in school, not simply by different college students; however by lecturers too.

I discovered solace in music, nature, artwork, and my pets. I spent most of my time alone. My animals had been my companions, at all times there, by no means judging me, and actually turned a treatment for my loneliness in some ways. I listened to music, watched David Attenborough documentaries, and painted. I painted a whole lot of animal portraits, I had pet parrots and likewise labored as the top keeper at a chicken park The birds’ vibrant feathers and brilliant personalities made ultimate topics! After I found images and obtained my first digital camera, it was solely pure for me to start out photographing wildlife. There’s not a whole lot of wildlife on Guernsey, so it appeared pure to {photograph} my pets and the birds I used to be working with. A few of my buddies liked my pictures and so began taking pictures of their animals too, then issues simply spiralled from there into what’s now Furtography.

In 2006 I went travelling with my now husband, Chris. We ended up spending two years working in New Zealand and utterly fell in love with the nation. We returned to Guernsey when time on our visas ran out. However labored very arduous to get residency, lastly shifting again in 2009, and we’ve been dwelling in Christchurch, on the South Island, ever since. Capturing the landscapes of New Zealand throughout our travels had an actual impression on my images, and I began seeing the areas I utilized in my work with canine take a extra essential function.

I feel what I attempt to obtain in my pictures is to hero my topics in areas they belong, whether or not that’s someplace, they like to go along with their house owners or a spot the place their breed suits. I suppose it’s my means of honouring the animals that made me really feel like I belonged and helped me once I was rising up whereas on the identical time creating pictures and reminiscences that their house owners will at all times have.

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The Phoblographer: Furtography – fairly a self-explanatory time period. Inform us what the spark was that led to the creation of this enterprise mannequin.

Craig Turner: I rebranded as Furtography once I moved to New Zealand in 2009. I can’t stress sufficient the significance of making a model and being constant in your message if you find yourself working any enterprise. I used to be at a degree the place I didn’t need to use my very own title anymore (I used to be utilizing Craig Bullock Pet Images earlier than that). I wished a reputation that was memorable, and a colleague of mine mentioned Furtography. I instantly laughed at him and dismissed it, however per week later, Furtography was nonetheless caught in my thoughts, and so I went with it!

My work is pretty evenly break up between personal and industrial purchasers now. However whereas the tip product for industrial purchasers is at all times a digital picture, I’m very a lot about printing, and my personal purchasers buy albums and wall artwork items of their pictures.

I provide a extra boutique mannequin, and the method contains an in-person pre-session session and an in-person viewing session. I solely present totally edited pictures and attempt to make the entire course of an thrilling and interesting expertise. Through the years, I’ve actually refined my merchandise to people who swimsuit my fashion and actually make my pictures look nearly as good as they presumably can.

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The Phoblographer: You’re additionally the primary winner of the New Zealand Portrait Open Photographer of the 12 months for a non-human picture. That will need to have been an exhilarating feeling. Please share the expertise.

Craig Turner: I’ve been very lucky through the years to have gained greater than 100 awards now, however the New Zealand Portrait Open Photographer of the 12 months might be the spotlight for me. I’d gone by way of a couple of totally different approaches to picture competitors within the 2 years beforehand. In my first 12 months, I entered work that I appreciated myself and was presumably slightly too emotionally connected to (after all, the judges know nothing in regards to the backstory of how difficult a shoot was or how a lot you related with the topic). I used to be fairly profitable that 12 months, however I wished to do higher.

In my second 12 months coming into, I put in work that I assumed the judges would reply nicely too. Most of that was studio pictures. Once more, I did OK, however afterward, I didn’t have any actual pleasure about sharing my successes. I realised that it was as a result of the work I used to be awarded for isn’t one thing I’d normally shoot; it wasn’t my fashion, and it wasn’t work I’d need to create for purchasers.

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The next 12 months, I entered work that was created for private tasks, pictures from my Canine of the World Sequence, and my #DogIsLove undertaking. It was work I used to be emotionally invested in, however it was additionally work that pushed me creatively. It’s this work that I used to be awarded the portrait prize for, and I used to be completely thrilled to be recognised for these pictures.

I’m an enormous advocate for picture competitions; I feel they will actually enable you push your self and develop. I’ve since accomplished a judges coaching programme and I now decide for a number of awards. I really like seeing how inventive individuals are in their very own work, it’s so inspiring.

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The Phoblographer: Technical perfection apart, what does it take to seize an excellent portrait of a furry buddy?

Craig Turner: Canine images isn’t as straightforward as it’d seem! To get the most effective out of any animal you’re employed with, you not solely have to grasp them, however you additionally must type a reference to them.

If you’re studying this and animal/pet images is one thing that you just’d wish to get into slightly extra, the primary piece of recommendation I may give is that you just discover ways to perceive and skim the physique language of your topics.

Animals are continuously speaking with us. Because the photographer, it’s your job to know tips on how to interpret what they’re saying and react accordingly. To know when one thing is working or when it’s time to take a break or transfer on to a different concept.

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With canine, taking outing for a fast play session or rewarding a canine with treats or pats will enable you construct a rapport, and that’s once you’ll have the ability to seize the actually magical moments crammed with persona.

Realizing the themes doesn’t solely serve that will help you create partaking portraits both; it would allow you to foretell what may occur subsequent, so you might be as finest ready as you presumably may be to seize these spontaneous moments which will solely final a break up second.

It’s important to have a TON of persistence too. Be ready to repeat set-ups, and no matter occurs, don’t get wired. Canine particularly are specialists at detecting our moods, and they’ll reply to what they sense from us. And you recognize what? They’re canine, so if all else fails they usually simply need to run round and let off some steam, simply go along with it! It’s all about showcasing their persona.

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The Phoblographer: Aside from bonding with the animals, there’s additionally obtained to be a rapport established with their house owners. How a lot of that takes place previous to the shoot, and the way a lot on set?

Craig Turner: It’s actually a combination of each for me. I attempt to meet each canine and proprietor earlier than the day of the session. I discover it’s a huge assist and is a good way to get to know them slightly extra, to evaluate the canine’s persona and what the easiest way to strategy the shoot can be.

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I can see the sort of relationship the proprietor has with the canine too, which varies massively between purchasers. I ask a couple of commonplace questions on what they like to do collectively and get extra data about them personally.

I at all times try to make the whole lot a constructive expertise for the canine, and I feel they bear in mind me once I meet them on location, so it’s rather less work for me and stress for them on the day.

I really like involving the purchasers within the creation of the photographs too, so I get them to pose their canine or to movie slightly little bit of behind the scenes on my cellphone. Getting them concerned helps to type fond reminiscences. I would like them to take a look at the photographs years down the road and bear in mind how enjoyable the shoot was and when the time inevitably comes for them to say goodbye to their companions, the photographs shine with persona.

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The Phoblographer: What have been among the extra amusing incidents you’ve had whereas photographing pets and their house owners?

Craig Turner: Oh my goodness! Nicely, as you may most likely think about, working with canine could be a perilous enterprise from time to time! My digital camera bag has been peed on extra occasions than I can depend; often, once I’m mendacity all the way down to get into the canine’ world (one thing it’s best to at all times do as a pet photographer), I’ve additionally been mistaken for an excellent place to pee!

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I’ve been eaten alive by litters of puppies greater than as soon as, however I’ve at all times lived to inform the story, and I’ve at all times loved it!

I had the enjoyment of rolling in some poop as soon as as nicely, that was not as fulfilling as pet kisses, and I’m slightly extra cautious the place I lay down now.

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The Phoblographer: It’s most likely a sense of getting among the best jobs on the planet, however how a lot has it modified because you first began? What have you ever realized alongside this journey?

Craig Turner: I actually do assume I’ve the most effective job on the planet! There’s a hell of a whole lot of work that goes on once you’re working your individual enterprise that isn’t simply going out to chill locations with cameras and a canine, however I couldn’t think about my life being any totally different.

I’ve learnt so much about myself, processing among the challenges I confronted as a teen and younger grownup. Studying how essential it’s to be true to myself as an individual and as an artist. That whoever we’re we must always put on our variations and our quirks as a glowing, glittery badge of honor.

I’ve learnt that I’m extra resilient and decided than I ever imagined. And I’ve learnt that, above all, to be grateful.

Since I began out, the business has modified enormously; I don’t shoot movie anymore for starters! However that’s what makes images so thrilling. There may be at all times one thing new to strive, expertise, methods, software program. It’s at all times evolving, and I really like evolving with it.


The Phoblographer: Dogorama is a time period that caught my eye once I browsed your web site. Please inform our readers what it’s and the way it’s totally different from a daily animal portraits.

Craig Turner: This shoot with Tallulah the French Bulldog on the Louvre in Paris was a kind of periods that can at all times stay near my coronary heart. It actually helped form my work and develop how I shoot into one thing I by no means actually anticipated.

Whereas I used to be taking portraits of Tallulah, who was so nicely behaved and posing completely, I seen triangles in every single place, within the glass pyramids, within the walkways, and even her ears! I wished to seize that in a single picture, however I couldn’t get the correct angle or perspective it doesn’t matter what I attempted. It instantly got here to me to attempt to create a panoramic picture and sew the elements collectively within the modifying stage. It’s one thing I’d finished for panorama pictures once I was travelling in New Zealand, however it by no means occurred to me to do it with canine.

With completely no concept if it will work, I took a number of frames, being cautious to go away sufficient of an overlap in every to make stitching them simpler. Positive sufficient, it labored. I used to be very pleased with the consequence; I’d created my first ever Dogorama®.

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One thing clicked within the following months. I noticed in my earlier canine pictures that I used to be usually drawn to a location as a lot because the canine. I used to be giving them a way of belonging in some ways, taking canine to areas that they slot in, whether or not that be a spot they love spending time with their house owners or a location that’s nicely suited to the breed or look of the canine.

I began engaged on perfecting my panorama approach and launched my Dogoramas as a service to purchasers. In the previous few years of providing them, purchasers have actually responded nicely, and nearly everybody desires to hold one on the wall!

Talulah was the catalyst of one other huge undertaking too, my Canine of the World sequence. Delayed as a consequence of Covid and journey restrictions, it’s a sequence I hope to finish by 2025. I’ve visited a number of nations photographing varied breeds in locations they ‘match,’ the place they originate or are one way or the other related to.

Lastly, Talulah additionally helped me win that New Zealand Portrait Photographer of the 12 months award!

This picture hangs proudly in my studio, printed on a 60inch metallic acrylic.


The Phoblographer: Have you ever ever had a life-changing second throughout these shoots?

Craig Turner: I’ve been lucky sufficient through the years to have a number of experiences whereas working which have been actually life-changing. I feel the primary that springs to thoughts is engaged on the Quake Canine and Quake Cats books. These advised the tales of what our pets went by way of throughout and within the rapid aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes in 2010/11. I wasn’t actually ready going into the undertaking, for a way emotional it will be. Most of the house owners spoke of their very own experiences for the primary time. I feel once you ask folks how they’re; they’re programmed to say “good, thanks” or phrases to that impact. However as a result of they had been telling their tales by way of their pets’ eyes, they let their guard down and opened up. It was a extremely humbling and exquisite expertise to assist folks speak about these traumatic occasions. In a extra egocentric means, it additionally helped me course of my very own trauma of the quakes too. The success of the books was additionally very humbling, and in the long run, royalties from gross sales raised over $30,000 for animal rescue charities.

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I’m continuously grateful for the experiences my ‘career’ has afforded me. Should you requested me 20-something years in the past as I first set out photographing pets the place I assumed I’d be now, I wouldn’t have dared dream that I’d be lucky sufficient to be making a dwelling from one thing I’m so obsessed with, attending to journey the world for purchasers and doing the entire different issues I’ve achieved. Sure, I’ve put in a whole lot of work, however I feel generally I simply obtained fortunate one way or the other too.

In addition to engaged on creating my very own expertise extra and rising my very own enterprise, I’m additionally educating different photographers tips on how to work with pets by way of Unleashed Education. I run this on-line platform with my good buddy and unimaginable pet photographer, Charlotte Reeves. Our mission is to assist photographers discover their very own fashion and hone their inventive imaginative and prescient.

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All pictures by Craig Turner. Used with permission. Try his website in addition to his Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages

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