How does your approach to dog photography influence your style?
"When setting up my camera, the most important thing is shutter speed. I always try to shoot at the fastest shutter speed possible, ideally starting around 1/1000 or faster because I move a lot myself to find the best angle and dogs tend to move quite a lot as well. My Canon EOS R5 has such good ISO performance that I'm able to stick to these speeds even in darker conditions. Aperture is also very important. I shoot wide open, typically at f/1.2 on my favourite lens, the Canon RF 85mm F1.2L IS USM. This makes my plane of focus very narrow, which is how I like it. If the eyes are super sharp, I don't care if the nose isn't in focus – it all adds to the effect. Shooting wide open means I get creamy bokeh, which I further enhance in post-processing."
How important is post-processing?
"Post-processing is very important to me as it allows me to ensure that all of my images fit my personal style. Until I got my EOS R5, I shot with a Canon EOS 5DS because I needed the highest possible resolution and to retain the most data in each of my shots so I could edit exactly how I wanted. When editing, I use dodge and burn a lot to make my subject's eyes pop, and edit out distracting details like leashes or distracting bits of fur. I carry a lot of the skills I learned as a digital artist over into photography to create my artistic style."
Which photo set are you most proud of?
"My favourite pictures are ones I take of my own dogs, of course. My Border Collies, Cirilla and Zira, love photoshoots because it means spending time with me, and lots of treats. I must have taken a million photos of Cirilla, who is eight now and often finds good spots for photos before I notice them myself and looks back at me as if to say, 'This is the place.' My favourite projects, however, are Craving Miracles because I love how it achieves what I set out to do – connecting dogs with big epic landscapes – and Shadows of Infinity, a black and white project that I was creating at the same time. The black and white shots from that series were displayed in the Palace of Fine Arts in Kraków, which was such an honour."
What has been your most challenging shoot to date?
"When shooting my Craving Miracles series in Iceland and Norway, the terrain proved to be very challenging. On one of the shoot days in Trolltunga, Norway, I covered 28km on foot trying to find the perfect location. Then, of course, there are the challenges of capturing the dogs themselves. For this series I had to find adventurous dogs that would be confident climbing over rocks or posing next to waterfalls, but even with the right dog, there can be limitations. Some still need constant reassurance from their owners, or even to be held in position while I take the shot, which means I have to edit the owner out afterwards."