Specialist Pet Photographer, Detheo Photography, Inspired By The Horse Whisperer.

Sometimes in life, the reality turns out to be a disappointment compared to the fantasy. Like that time when you were so looking forward to something and once there it turns out not to be as great as you had imagined.  This was definitely NOT the case here!

After years of admiration and months of excitement having booked to attend a Special Training Day with Monty Roberts, The Horse Whisperer, I did question how this would live up to expectations. Would he be a nice as I imagined? Would I be able to feel the connection or would I disappear into the background? I had wanted to meet him since I was a child, so it was my responsibility to make that happen. But would he be receptive?

Monty 6SM

 

Arriving at The Intelligent Horsemanship centre run by Kelly Marks (who herself is an amazing woman) I quickly realised that I never had needed to question it at all.

From the very beginning, I felt an instant sense of belonging. Which of course is a little odd as I was the only person who was not either a horse breeder, an owner or a stable hand. Some of the terminology used meant nothing to me. But when I questioned the meaning of something, Monty kindly explained without making me feel belittled in any way.

At this point, people will question, why I felt the need to attend such a training day in the first place? So let me explain.

From a very young age, I have always been fascinated by the ability to develop an instinctual understanding and route of communication between us and other species. As a Specialist Pet Photographer, I feel very passionate about the ability to understand the animals I work with. To understand how the animal is feeling, how what I do affects them, and how I can ensure that my behaviour always creates a positive experience for them.

This was the motivation behind my learning about dog behaviour and over the years I have seen how this knowledge of dogs has influenced my work. It has not only enabled me to work better with dogs in general, but enabled me to work with dogs, that others would struggle to photograph. But above all, it means that I am always working with the dogs best interests at heart.

Monty 7SM

So it was actually quite emotional for me to finally meet Monty, and confirm that he holds the same values for his relationship with horses. It wasn’t a publicity stunt and when you watch him work with a horse that he has never met before, there was no doubting he really did understand them and have the ability to communicate with them. You could feel something between the horse and Monty, like a private conversation but with the volume muted.

The owners of both horses on the day were attendees of the workshop and I watched closely their reactions when Monty was working with their horse. I was left with no doubt as to how shocked and blown away they were.

At some point during the lunch break, I approached Monty and introduced myself, explaining my reasoning for attending. I thanked him for all the work he has done and continues to do, in trying to make the lives of horses better all over the world, and, for giving me the knowledge and inspiration to keep learning and working the way I do. Taking my hand, we spoke briefly and he thanked me for attending and for my kind words. This gesture will never be forgotten.

I have never in life idealised anyone based on fame or status. It was never and still is not important to me. It is what they choose to do in life that intrigues me and where they gain my respect.

To me, Monty Roberts is not a celebrity, he is a man who has is trying to make a difference. To remind humanity that each animal has its own evolution, its own behaviour and its own way of communicating.

But for me, Monty’s work serves as a reminder of a deeper message. When working with animals, you learn that they can sense chemical changes in our body. Increases in our adrenalin and heart rate, for example, will have an impact on them. With horses, it will often make them fear a possible upcoming danger.

So it is not just about learning to relax and clear your mind of all negativity, but also the ability to just BE in that moment, that makes that connection more possible.

Animals do not care about our social status, wealth or materialistic possessions. They do not know who we are in the human world, all they relate to is who we are at that moment in time. It is our intentions and our behaviour that confirms the purity our heart and mind and it is only then that they will begin to trust us.

Monty and Me March 2018After the day had ended, I had the opportunity to speak to Monty again whilst he signed my book and also had a chance to speak to Kelly Marks who is in her own right, an incredible woman who also works so hard at changing the lives of horses and their owners. An accidental meeting drew Monty and Kelly together (although my belief in fate would suggest this was meant to be) and after a short period, Monty asked Kelly to be the first ever to teach his methods to the public. This was to be the birth of the Intelligent Horsemanship.

I hope to meet up again with Kelly and her team in the future. Her passion and knowledge are infectious. And her kindest is evident for all to see. Without her commitment to the Intelligent Horsemanship, the opportunity to meet and witness, first hand, Monty’s methods would not exist. I personally would like to thank Kelly for making this possible. It has changed the lives of so many horses and people and I am sure it will continue to change many many more. It definitely has changed my life.

I encourage anyone with a horse or pony to at least attend one of the demonstrations held by Kelly or Monty and witness the same as what I did.

It will change your lives, how much of course, is up to you.

 

Detheo Photography – Exciting New Developments Have Begun.

As many already know, Detheo Photography began over 7 years ago almost by accident. But we had never envisaged just what the future would hold.

The journey has been, at times, very challenging, both physically and emotionally, but nothing could destroy the passion.

In the very early days we worked from a room in our home. It was far from ideal, but it was all we had. At that time we would meet clients away from the office.  Then in 2013, with the business steadily growing,  we decided to convert our garage into a new office and studio combo.

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Converting the existing garage into a new office

First Office

Harvey our own dog have a sleep in the office

This was to be a great asset and the business started to really take a turn as we were able to display samples of our work, host meetings and small workshops. At the same time we also started our Christmas Special Offers, shooting from the same space.

However, the business continued to evolve and over time we decided to make the move and take on our first Barn Studio.

Rustic and airy would be very simplistic words to describe it! At over 100 years old with no windows, lighting, flooring or heating it was a new challenge. But it gave us clarity on what we wanted for the future.

Barn Studio Stage 1

It was exciting to have such a huge space.

Barn Studio 1

It accommodated many photoshoots and training sessions.

And just 12 months later we had moved into a properly converted stable block just opposite. We retained the Barn Studio name for ease and have since then seen Detheo Photography take another huge leap forward.

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Our current Studio is still spacious and rustic.

Barn Studio 2

We have a great shooting space too.

The transformation from those early days has been incredible and it is still quiet unbelievable to look back and see how far we have come.  But it is a journey that we have not travelled alone and the support of family and close friends has been a huge part of our success. Along the way we have faced difficult times, but we chose to learn from them and they have served to make us stronger and wiser.

2017 began with a promise to ourselves. It was to be our own commitment to dreaming bigger and, in turn, to achieving greater goals.

Today, we are proud to say, that we are well on our way to making those dreams a reality with this week seeing the building works begin on our new, purpose built office and studio.

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The build is going to be quite extensive and projected to take approximately 4 months to complete. As such, business will continue as normal from the Barn Studio. However we look forward to keeping everyone updated on developments during the building phase, so make sure to follow our page on FaceBook.

Thank you to all of our clients for whom we have worked with over the years and especially to those who have been so supportive of our work. At the very core of  all our plans and developments is the ability to offer the highest, most personalised service possible and we know this new move will do just that.

 

Bishop’s Stortford Based Specialist Pet Photographer. Fine Art Image Of Puppy Lexa Gains Another Award.

As we look forward to Lexa’s second photoshoot this Sunday, we reminisce on the fluffy bundle that we meet a few months ago.
Back in November last year, our clients, Kezia & Dom purchased a “Watch Me Grow” package for their new puppy, before they had even before brought her home. They had shared their lives with dogs before and knew first hand, not only the joy they bring to our lives, but the heartache that comes when they sadly pass away.
This is what guided them to seeking the services of a Specialist Pet Photographer and we are always honoured when clients come to us, knowing how much they value our service.
Having only been with her new family for a matter of hours, Lexa came to the studio for her first session and of course, made a huge impact.
Working with puppies of such a young age is definitely not for the faint hearted. They have not yet developed the bond with their new family and have not even experienced the most basic of training.
As such it took a great deal of patience and a good understanding to be able to harness her natural behaviours and use that knowledge to capture the images we had wanted.
On the day, Lexa was fantastic. A typical puppy she was initially cautious, but soon settled in and was eager to explore our studio!
The images we took were brilliant and as a collection, they definitely captured her character. However, we were also able to create one of our signature Fine Art images, which we then decided to enter into the online monthly competition held by The Societies of photographers. At that time the image was awarded a Highly Commended Award.
Then, just last week, the image was presented before a panel of 6 judges at the international 20×16 Print competition, part of the annual photographic convention held at the Hilton Hotel, London.
We were fortunate to have been in the audience when the print was placed before the panel and were totally amazed when they awarded the image a Merit with a score of 84! Another image we had submitted was also awarded a Merit, with a score of 82.
Seeing Lexa’s image then hung alongside other Merit awarded images from some of the worlds best photographers was truly inspiring. Whilst this is not the first time we have had our images gain awards, it is only when you know the complexity of working with such a young dog, that you really can appreciate the achievement.
So, Lexa is now that little bit older and we are really looking forward to capturing the next stage in her development as we meet on location for our next photoshoot.

If you too would like to have your dog, horse, cat or any other pet photographed by Specialist Pet Photographer, Maria Michael, please click HERE to be forwarded to our Contact Us page. Or to visit our website for more details click HERE.

Time To Say Goodbye. A Specialist Pet Photography Photoshoot For Samson & Sadie.

Specialist Pet photography photoshoot for dogs Samson & Sadie. Captured by Pet photographer, Detheo Photography

Being  a Specialist Pet Photographer did not happen by accident. Yes, it would be fair to say it was something I had aspired to. Over the past 7 or more years, I have worked hard and inevitably my business has grown. However, I believe that there was something more powerful than just wanting, that bought Detheo Photography to where it is today.

The relationships between people and animals has always fascinated me and the bonds that we build, have been one of the most profound foundations of my work.

Photographing animals takes so much more than just being a great photographer. The ability to interact with each individual, in a way that is suited to them, means dedicating a vast amount of time to learning and understanding the behaviour of each species. It is an endless journey with amazing rewards.

It is so lovely to be able to capture beautiful images of peoples pets, seeing the amazement when they view their images for the first time. And over 7 years we have been fortunate to photograph near on one thousand animals, of all shapes and sizes.

Yet, the true defining moment came Friday last week, when we were contacted by a very heartbroken lady Vanessa, explaining that her dog Samson had recently been diagnosed with Cancer.

“My Samson has only weeks to live. I have been trying to take pictures over the past couple of weeks but either burst into tears or just can’t capture a shot of him.Would you be able to fit Samson and Sadie (our other dog) for a shoot. They have never been apart for over 9 years and a picture together would be a wonderful thing for us to treasure.”

We worked quickly to make arrangements and get Samson and Sadie into the studio this Wednesday (23/11/16).

The dogs came with one of their regular dog walkers, Susanna as Vanessa understandably felt she would struggle. Instantly I sensed Samson was not quite right. It is difficult to express in words but there was just a gut feeling. So I decided to pretend that we were not doing anything other than just having a chat. I moved the giant leather pouf into the shooting area and invited the dogs to get up and lay down. Susanna then perched on the side and I sat on the floor. Within moments, they had both relaxed and soon feel asleep.

That evening I started to edit the images we had captured. But, if the truth be told, I found this an emotional time. Having said goodbye to three of our own pets, I knew all too well how devastated the family were going to be. Yet nothing I could do would ever change that.

However, there is something very special about a photograph. It has the ability to awaken all of our senses, so that in a split moment, we suddenly can feel the softness of our dogs coat and the distinct sounds of their barking. Photographs have the power to momentarily transport us back, to relive memories over and over again. And as sat back and looked at the final images, I realised, this way why I became a Specialist Pet Photographer.  To be able to create these important images, so others may treasure them and in time gain some comfort from them too.

On Thursday 24th November, Samson’s condition deteriorated and today, Friday 25th November, he crossed over Rainbows Bridge. However, his paw prints will remain on the hearts of all that knew him.

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Photography Day At Woburn Safari Park, Milton Keynes.

Being a photographer and an animal lover means that family are never too stuck for gifts and last year we received an amazing gift that combined both passions.  A voucher for a day’s photographic experience at Woburn Safari Park, with WildArena Imaging.

Woburn is a familiar location as we have often visited with the children on family days out. It offers the perfect opportunity to see some incredible animals in large open spaces, whilst driving around in your vehicle.

However, this day was going to offer something a little more special. David was our guide from WildArena Imaging and he was accompanied by Alice, one of Woburn’s own rangers.

Maria Michael, Detheo Photography with Black & White Ruffed Lemurs at Woburn Safari Park.

Me with the Lemurs

As a group of eight, we divided ourselves between two 4×4 vehicles that David and Alice would be driving.

Whilst bumpy, this gave us the opportunity to move off from the traditional visitors routes and cross over, close to where the animals would be.  In fact at times you could feel their breath as they strolled past or even looked up to investigate your sent in the air.

It was a brilliant day and whilst the photographic opportunities were plenty, there was something quite emotional about being so close to the animals. It was as if some of them too, seemed fascinated with us. Looking directly into the eyes of a Lioness or a large Bear and feeling something quite peaceful, is not what most would expect.

But it was out of the vehicles and on foot that we met some animals that, I for one, misunderstood most. The Black and White Ruffed Lemurs where truly special. Affectionate and gentle, they can of course also be quite cheeky. However, I discovered that they love it when you give them gentle scratch beneath their arms. So much so, that if you stop they will raise their arm up to signal for you to carry on.  They also like to hold on to your fingers and once they do, you just do not have the heart to prize them off.

Here are just a few of the images we captured on the day. If you like the images then please feel free to leave a comment below.

Photograph of Giraffes at Woburn Safari Park. Captured by Photographer Detheo Photography.Photograph of Monkey at Woburn Safari Park. Captured by Photographer Detheo Photography.Photograph of Lioness at Woburn Safari Park. Captured by Photographer Detheo Photography.Photograph of Brown Bear at Woburn Safari Park. Captured by Photographer Detheo Photography.Photograph of Monkey at Woburn Safari Park. Captured by Photographer Detheo Photography.Photograph of Brown Bear at Woburn Safari Park. Captured by Photographer Detheo Photography.Photograph of Giraffes at Woburn Safari Park. Captured by Photographer Detheo Photography.Photograph of Lemurs at Woburn Safari Park. Captured by Photographer Detheo Photography.

Sawbridgeworth Dog Show 2016 – Beautiful Images Captured By Herts & Essex Specialist Pet Photographer

In typical British fashion our morning started with rain. Reaching Bullfield’s Recreational Ground, Sawbridgeworth early to prepare our stand for the Dog Show, we were hopeful the rain would ease off in time for the formal start of the show. Which surprisingly it did. Bit of course this was short lived. The proceeded with intermittent spells of showers and dry periods. This however did not deter those who had decided to attend.

People of all ages, from all walks of life arrived to enjoy the day. There was a steel band, live music, the dog agility and dog show, alongside various stalls and even the fire brigade, who were displaying one of their amazing fire engines.

It was great to meet so many new faces and equally great to catch up with those who we have photographed in the past.

A big thank you to Adrienne from DogAblitly and Sawbridgeworth Town Council for the invitation and we look forward to attending again next year.

Here is a short slideshow with the images we captured on the day.

If you would like a Specialist Pet Photography Session for your dog or other pet, please visit our website for more details http://www.detheo.co.uk

 

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Interview With Maria Michael, owner of Bishops Stortford based, Detheo Photography.

When I was first contacted by Angela Adams, asking if I would be willing to give an interview for her column in the Professional Imagemaker Magazine, I was quite stunned.

Professional Imagemaker Magazine has graced my office for many years. One of the many perks of my membership to The Societies Of Photographers, it’s articles have provided endless inspiration and learning, featuring some of the worlds best photographers. I genuinely never even considered that I, would one day feature in the very same publication, let alone over three pages.

Of course I would accept, after all it really was an honour.

At first I did not realise the impact the article would have. Many people know me, know my story and have shared my journey. But it was the one person who knew me best, and knew more of my story than others, that was to be most affected. That person was me.

Why?  Well you see, I felt so strongly that I should respect this opportunity by giving careful consideration to each question. However, in doing so I began to appreciate my own journey. It was like I got to travelled that same road, but this time I was able to actually pay attention to the views.

Through hard work, physical and emotional dedication, my dreams began to became reality, but I was almost too blinkered to realise. In life we spend so much time hiding in the shadows that we often do not realise when the shadows have disappeared.

Thanks to Angela’s interview, I was able to take a fresh look and realise how far I had come in such a short space of time.

I hope you enjoy reading the article and feel free to leave your comments.

(Please click on the images to enlarge them, making them easier to read)

Interview with Maria Michael, owner of Bishops Stortford based Detheo Photography

Interview with Maria Michael, owner of Bishops Stortford based Detheo Photography

Interview with Maria Michael, owner of Bishops Stortford based Detheo Photography

Specialist Commercial & Corporate Pet Photographer Goes Behind The Scenes At The Cromwell Veterinary Group, Cambridgeshire.

Our Commercial & Corporate photography service has catered for many companies over the years, ranging from Solicitors firms to large Airlines. However it will come as no surprise, that being a Specialist Pet Photographer, our services are often called upon by those within the Pet Industry.

One such company is the Cromwell Veterinary Group, with whom we have had the pleasure to work with over the past two years. Our time working at the various surgeries has also provided us unique, “behind the scenes” access to the amazing world of veterinary practice, and a chance to capture some “fly on the wall” documentary images, which show the genuine, everyday goings on.

Staff reacting to a young King Charles Cavalier puppy visiting the Huntingdon branch of the Cromwell Veterinary Group. Captured by Detheo Photography.

Staff reacting to a young King Charles Cavalier puppy visiting the Huntingdon branch of the Cromwell Veterinary Group.

This first image was captured today without the staff being aware. This is a scene we have witnessed time and time again . The affection expressed by staff to all the animals visiting or in their care is heartwarming and a testament to the quality of the team.  And as such it was great to get the chance to capture it on camera.

A tiny, premature puppy hand reared by staff. Captured by Detheo Photography

A tiny, premature puppy hand reared by staff.

The second image is not just of a cute puppy. It is in fact one of a tiny little chap, born prematurely and rejected by his mother.

His siblings all died and his chances of survival would have been nil had it not been for the remarkable care and dedication given to him by the staff.

Due to being born prematurely he required care that machines could not replicate. He was carried carefully by staff, inside their clothing so he could be reassured by their heart beat and kept warm at the same time. However, his 24 hour care needs meant he would also go home with staff each night, and they would tend to him around the clock, forgoing any idea of sleep!

His survival is proof of their dedication and commitment to go beyond the call of duty and it was so touching to photograph him today as he played and then feel asleep in the hands of those that gave him the chance of life.

We look forward to working with the team again soon and thank them for their openness and hospitality.

 

 

Specialist Pet Photography – Why We Prefer Not To Be In The Studio.

Over the years we have photographed hundreds of pets from the usual Dogs, Cats and Horses, to the not so common, Bearded Dragons, Macaws and Syrian Hamsters. However, the most popular pet so far is the dog.

Man’s best friend, originated from Wolves and has been bred for thousands of years to work and live alongside humans. Today, for the lucky ones, they are very much a part of our families. Bringing joy and friendship to young and old, we care for them deeply which of course means that when the time comes to say goodbye, the pain can be unbearable.

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Ross with his favourite toy, at home in the kitchen where he loved to lay.

As such we here at Detheo Photography, we know how important it is to capture the very essence of a pet’s personality within the images we create, be that from the way they lay with their favourite toy or the way their face looks when they are running.

However, in order to capture these special details, we believe it is important to become apart of the dog’s world. This is why we rarely book Specialist Pet Photography Sessions at our studio. Instead we believe that the best place to work with dogs and other pets, is where they can express themselves most naturally. For dogs, this would be at home, or at a park a forest, or woodland etc.

Outside in familiar places dogs will behave more naturally, sniffing and exploring and have space to engage in play, without feeling anxious or nervous about a new environment.

Studios are quite an un-natural environment for most pet dogs, which can result in excessive pacing, panting and salivating.  Others may seem calm, however they are very much aware of the photographer and will be expected to behave as per the photographers requirements.

Instead, for many of our photoshoots, we work mainly from a distance, following and capturing the dogs, as they go about their usual behaviour with little to no interaction form us. Others will have a combination, incorporating time where we may encourage a certain behaviour, include some interactions and even capture some specific portrait images.

So, if you would like stunning images of your dog that really capture their personality, but have been put off by the idea of having to take them to a studio, then our service is exactly what you need.

You will find plenty of information on our website about our Specialist Pet Photography  and a link to our prices there too.

You can also see examples of some of our Award Winning Images too.

Detheo Photography specialises in working with all animals catering for all of their individual requirements, including dogs who may be extremely nervous / fearful or unwell. Please enquire to learn more.

5 Years On…..Who Would Have Thought.

Maria Michael, Owner / Photographer at Detheo PhotographyRecently, I asked my children if they knew what they wanted to be when they grew up. Our daughter had a few ideas, whilst our son, the eldest, had none. And why should they. So many fantasise about a career in one profession or another, yet the reality is more often than not, far from as glamours as they had envisaged.

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Maria’s children when they were younger.

What did I want to be when I grew up? Now that is an interesting question. Guess what, the one thing I never considered was a Professional Photographer.

The day to day running of any business is challenging, even more so sometimes, for those of us who do so on our own. Switching off is not always an easy option, even when we know we should.

So there I was, head buried in paperwork when the messages started to arrive. “Congratulations Maria, hope you are well”.

Now, anyone who uses LinkedIn will know that it has this cleaver way of asking people to congratulated others on their new job or in this case, the anniversary of their employment. And on this occasion, I was the one being congratulated.

So “Thank You” to everyone who messaged me, because your messages made me stop and realise what had happened.Me in wales 1

5 years ago I started something totally new. Something small and personal, with no expectations, and looking back, definitely no idea, just where it would take me.

In the early days, I seemed to be finding my way in the dark and I know now the mistakes I made were plenty. But I am so grateful for those mistakes. For without mistakes, one can never really appreciate how to do things right.

I also seemed to run into many brick walls, not realising know how important their presence was. Not only did they force me to pause a while and think, but they also taught me how to preserver and use my determination to find my way around them.

Looking back, it is quite overwhelming to see how far I have come.

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Maria working on behalf of the Air Ambulance.

As I prepare for another busy week, I wonder, what will the next 5 years bring?Whilst I have learnt never to try and predict too much, I do know that the plans are plenty.

In the beginning Detheo Photography was just a name. Today it is a rapidly growth photography business, committed to providing a personalised service to each and every client.

With an already established Specialism in Pet Photography, I know have a thriving business that also caters for Weddings, Families, Beauty Unveiled & Boudoir and Corporate & Commercial Commissions.

Whilst my journey has been challenging at times, I have been blessed with many wonderfully supportive people. My husband and children, my mentor and friend John Denton, my closest friend and whip cracker, Laura, and so many amazing friends (too many to mention but you know who you are) whom I met through the Society Of Wedding and Portrait Photographers (SWPP).

Little did I know 5 years ago that I would be an Award Winning Photographer, running my own business, being commissioned by some of the industry leaders in Pet Insurance, Veterinary Care and Maritime Security. Or that my passion for Pet Photography would attract invitations from international renowned photographers to teach in this genre, on their behalf.

So, I am excited for the future and hope you will accompany me along the way, because I know it is going to be amazing.

 

Why not visit our website http://www.detheo.co.uk and take a look at what we do, the amazing images we have won awards for and read the reviews from some of our clients. 

 

Specialist Pet Photographer, based in Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire / Essex borders – The Passion Of Pet Photography.

specialist pet photography - Bishops Stortford, Herts & Essex

“every child should have a dog”

It is often those who do not have animals in their lives that immediately appear surprised when I say I am a Specialist Pet Photographer. They regularly question if there is a market for such a specialism. Then there are those who are aware of other photographers who photograph pets, but have little understanding of the genre and what it truly entails.

And why would they? For like all genre of photography, there is a huge diversity of standards, often driven by the personal values of each photographer. What is seen by the public is merely a snipped. Once they become a client, they then get to read the whole story.

As such, in this article I hope to share with you the passion and values that underpin our “Specialist Pet Photography” title, taking you to the core of what we strive to achieve and why.

Animals have played such an important role in human history and continue to do so in our everyday lives. From guarding to herding, guiding the visually impaired to active war duty. Rightly or wrongly we have used animals to help us hunt, test our medicines, help us travel, and keep us company for thousands of years.

The connection that many of our clients have with their pets is one of great intensity. It is a relationship that conquers the barriers of communication from one specie to another and is far more innate than many give it credit for. With all this in mind, we know that preserving the memory of that relationship is very important. It allows us to celebrate the bond we have now, and continue to honour what we had, once they are gone. Like all photography, the images we create can act almost like a psychological time machine, with the power to instantly transport us back, igniting the memories of touch, smell and sound.

As an individual I spent all of my life around animals always seeming to gravitate towards them. My extended family owned horses and I would spend hours out in the paddocks watching them and talking to them. My mother still recalls my childhood dreams of one day having my own horse and riding it everywhere. Over the years I shared my life with rabbits, hamsters, cats, dogs and birds. I learnt to ride and could be found every weekend, for many years, at the stables. So it was a natural progression that once married and living in our new home, we would share our new life with animals.

Throughout my life a camera was rarely far from my side, however many many years would pass before fate guided me into professional photography. It was to take major, life altering events, to send me in a new direction. But when it did, that innate connection drew me directly back towards animals. With early life experiences as my foundation, I set about building my knowledge further. At this time I had recently come to meet an amazing lady, Laura Shambrook, who ran her own pet services company Pawfect FriendsLittle did I know then how hugely influential she would be, not only to my life, but to the future of Detheo Photography.

We met Laura when looking for a reliable alternative to kennels and almost immediately I started to learn so much from her. I volunteered at a local rescue centre and found my new knowledge gave me even more understanding of the dogs there. Over the years I absorbed as much as I could. A sponge soaking up the knowledge she would share with me. It is therefore no surprise to look back now and see that since starting Detheo Photography I have photographed hundreds of pets including dogs, cats, horses, reptiles and rodents.

Detheo Photography dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, hamsters, Pet photography

Our most popular subject is be the dog. The domesticated ancestor of the Grey Wolf, who has been a part of our pack for hundreds of thousands of years, we see all varieties and all with their own unique personality.

Working primarily out on location, photoshoots are designed to enable the dogs to feel relaxed. As such photoshoots are held in gardens, fields or forests where the dogs can behave naturally. We spend time making sure the dogs are comfortable in our company and with our equipment, which often means having to clean some slobbery lenses!

Over the years our skills have grown, both photographically, and through our greater understanding of animals. In turn our reputation has grown and we are regularly called to photograph dogs who other photographers would not, or could not work with. These dogs may appear to be aggressive and some have even bitten through fear. Others are frail and suffering life limiting conditions. Many are just nervous and traditional photographic studios are far too overwhelming.

The ability to work with these dogs and give their families what they once thought impossible fill me with such a huge sense of pride. It takes a great deal of  patience, understanding and determination. But it also requires a vast amount of trust. Not only from the family, but from the dog themselves.

dogs, pet photography in Bishops Stortford, Herts, Essex. Nervous, fearful, specialist

Archie was nervous and displayed some difficult behaviour. Yet he became my pal during the shoot.

Against much pressure and possibly some common sense, I stuck firmly to the passion and the values, that from the start helped build my vision. I have learnt so much along the way and am always learning.

Laura Shambrook, now very much seen as an important part of our family, still runs a very successful pet services company offering excellence in boarding, walking, grooming and training. Her many years of experience and training finds her company head and shoulders apart from the many whimsical start ups we see come and go on a daily basis. So it is with great pride and overwhelming honour to know that Detheo Photography and Pawfect Friends are actively working on some amazing ideas for the future, whilst continuing to integrate services for our ever growing client group.

Specialist Pet Photography, commercial commissions for veterinary insurance companies and veterinary groups.

 

And as if this was not exciting enough, last year Detheo Photography’s Pet Specialism started gaining recognition within the commercial work of marketing and specifically within the veterinary world. Commissions already have included both leading Veterinary Insurance companies and large veterinary groups. The projects have each been challenging, but an amazing experience. We have met such talented and skilled individuals, with whom we have thoroughly enjoyed working.

And we believe this is just the beginning!

 

 

Learning From The Best

Anyone who knows me well will tell you how strongly I believe in Fate.  And over the past 16yrs that belief has been put to the ultimate test and yet Fate has never let me down.

Just before starting Detheo Photography, and throughout it’s first year I attended many courses, hungry to refine my skills. However, I always came away  feeling unsatisfied.

Looking back I know now why.

As in all professions, people have very different reasons for doing what they do. Throughout my life I have always been driven to jobs that mean something personal to me, and photography is something very personal. My passion to capture those snippets of time, that so powerfully transport you instantly back, has always been my driving force. I  needed to learn the basics, which I did, but the courses always seemed to skim the surface, falling short.  They never catered for the individual, never understood my strengths or try to identify my weaknesses.

Then last year, just by chance, I came across a thread on the SWPP forum, which unbeknown to me, was set to totally change my life. My first 121 training course with John & Liz Denton sent my head spinning. It was the most amazing experience and I shared my feelings in a post that you are welcome to read back on if you like.

So, when I heard that I was going to be given the opportunity to return to Cold Harbour Studios and embark on my second 121 training course with John,  I could not believe it.

And as before, we were joined by two brilliant models. On day one I had the pleasure of working again with Jennifer Dickinson. Jennifer and I met on my first visit. We then caught up at the SWPP Annual Convention 2013 where Jennifer was working with some other photographers. So, it was lovely to see her again on this trip.

On day two, John and I were joined by Katie Louise. It was the first training session Katie had modelled for and I felt very honoured. Her beauty and natural talent are undeniable and she is a great addition to the Denton team.

Straight talking, down to earth, and a true photographic genius, John Denton does what those others in the past forgot to do. Before he teaches anything, he sets out to learn about his pupil. He gets to know who they are, he identifies their strengths and weaknesses and tailors his teachings to help them achieve their fullest potential. As for Liz, she is without a doubt, one amazing woman and the wealth of knowledge she holds is remarkable. Her ability to motivate and guide you through the marketing, branding, advertising etc side of the business leaves people, including myself, feeling so energised.

Photography is so much about who we are as individuals and as such it can be difficult to accept critique. However, I came to trust John & Liz very quickly and a similar sense of humour ensured we connected from the start.

Just like my first visit, this second 121 stripped away all distractions, guided me deeper through my journey of development and taught me to accept responsibility for the barriers I created,  that were holding me back. It was without a shadow of a doubt, a soul searching and eye opening experience.

I have come to hold both John and Liz very dear and feel very fortunate to have met such inspiring people. People I know I will forever call my friends. But how do I thank them for the tremendous influence they have  had on my life? I had plenty of time during my three hour drive home to contemplate this and I realised, there really was only one way. To take everything they had taught me, draw on all the belief they had shown in me and really make Detheo Photography everything I have always wanted it to be. And in turn, I hope one day, they can look back and feel proud that their influence helped form the solid foundations on which Detheo was grown.

(Below are some of the images captured on the second 121 training course at Cold Harbour Studios). 

Jennifer 003FramedWM

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Jennifer 006FramedWM

Jennifer 10Framed WM

Jennifer 16FramedWM

Katie 6FramedWM

Katie 7FramedWM

Katie 10FramedWM Katie 16FramedWM

Katie 17 (1)FramedWM

The Beauty Of Winter

I believe each season brings its own beauty and Winter definitely did not disappoint this week. Waking up feeling quite unwell, I piled on my layers ready to drop the children off to school, promising to return to my sofa and spend the day recuperating.

However, opening my front door I gasped with amazement at the stunning scene that greeted me. With an average temperature of -7 everything had frozen and turned white. I felt like I was stepping into a new, magical world.

With photography running through my blood I knew there was nothing I wanted more than to come back, grab the camera, my buddy Harvey, and head out.

And so we did. Walking through the beautiful Hertfordshire countryside surrounded by crisp, ice covered foliage I only wished we could have many more days like these because they make fantastic backdrops for photoshoots.

Are You Coming To Play?

I Can See The Light!

When I was a little girl my father would always joke around using his heavily Greek accent to repeat lines from his favourite programs and films. He had many lines and they still have us laughing even now, so many years on. My mother, the more sensible of the two, had one or two lines of her own, her favourite being “always learning, learning all the time!”.  I doubt she ever realised how true those words were, but those few words have inadvertently formed the foundations of my life ever since.

In every aspect of life, I believe there are new things to learn. The world around us has so much information yet many people travel through life almost with their eyes and ears closed. Some do this with no realisation that it is happening, whereas others are more deliberate, believing they have all the knowledge there is to have.

Like all other professions, Photography is a journey of learning, with many years of travel exploring new and wonderful findings. And just when you think you have discovered all there is to be found, there will always something else hiding in wait.

Still very much at the early stages of my journey, I have searched long and hard to find courses that offer the quality and personalisation that I require to forward my skills. So when I recently was alerted to such an opportunity, I could not quite believe it.

However, true it definitely was for last weekend, (from Friday 23rd until Monday 26th November 2012) I packed up my car and drove the three and half hours journey to East Yorkshire to meet John and Liz Denton, from Denton Photography.  It was clear from the beginning that both John and Liz understood my values and my aspirations. They also had done their home work on me and were ready to guide me through the next level of my learning and amongst other things, lighting was one of the main areas we all knew I needed to develop.

The beautiful Jennifer Dickinson on the foggy West Wood, Beverley.

The beautiful Jennifer Dickinson on the foggy West Wood, Beverley.

Saturday morning started with freezing fog that swept over the ground and significantly reduced visibility. Making my way to the studio I wondered what my day would entail. As someone who loves being outside, I should not have feared, as the day turned out to be truly amazing. John embraced the fog and taught me how to work it to my advantage. As did our wonderful model, Jennifer Dickinson, who seemed to love the outdoors as much as we did.

Model Jennifer Dickinson on the foggy West Wood, Beverley.

Model Jennifer Dickinson on the foggy West Wood, Beverley.

Throughout the day we worked with natural light, then mixed this with additional lighting and finally finished off in the studio working with studio lighting.

Jennifer 4

Working with natural light around the grounds of the studio.

Mixing natural light and the speed light create atmosphere.

Mixing natural light and the speed light create atmosphere.

Jennifer 11

Using Studio Lighting.

Using studio lighting.

Using studio lighting.

Sunday promised to be another jam packed day and this time we were joined by the beautiful  Caroline Mary Spalding. Having lost the fog, we just had the flooded roads and freezing cold weather to contend with. Yet nothing seemed to phase us and the stunning shots just kept coming.

Using natural light with the lovely Caroline around the studio.

Using natural light with the lovely Caroline around the studio.

Using natural light around the grounds of the studio.

Using natural light around the grounds of the studio.

With John determined to push me forward, Sunday brought a new feeling of confidence and by the  late afternoon I really began to feel at one with all the new skills I and learnt and the equipment I was surrounded by. But, just as I thought I was getting comfortable, John took me yet again further out of my comfort zone.

Now, I too had done my research and was very aware that my teacher was not just a good photographer. Apart from being a down to earth, shorts wearing funny man, John Denton is actually one of the most skilful and creative photographers I have ever seen and I doubt anyone knows how to use light better than him. He also has a reputation for creating some of the most amazing and artistic nude images ever. So it was no surprise that the final stage of my training involved Caroline ditching her warm winter wear and taking it all back to nature!

Shaping the body with light in the studio.

Shaping the body with light in the studio.

Shaping the body with light in the studio.

Shaping the body with light in the studio.

However, John had indeed not only taught me so much, but took the time to also learn about me. By giving me the opportunity to create images with my own style, John introduced me to a genre of photography I had never really focused much on. To my surprise, and possibly John’s, I took to it like a duck to water.

Of course, I must at this point thank both Jennifer Dickinson and Caroline Mary Spalding who both worked with patience, professionalism and had a great sense of humour, during our time together.

Monday was spent going over all of my images and then a business development session with the inspirational Liz Denton. Liz is the authority on everything business, as well as an amazing photographer in her own right. Her guidance and direction gave clarity to a once hazy area.

So, sadly the weekend was over but the long journey back flew past as my mind raced with what I had learnt, what I had achieved and what I wanted from the future.

The weekend with John and Liz, away from the hustle and bustle of the busy family life I have here, helped me to really focus on who I am and what I see as the future of Detheo Photography.  I  cannot give specifics but I will say the future is definitely looking bright! I feel recharged, enlightened and ready to start moving forward.

I would like to thank John and Liz for their kindness, support and commitment to sharing their passion and skills, and for their continued desire to ensure their teaching is accessible without discrimination.

Fingers Crossed For Ellie.

Direct descendants from the Grey Wolf and believed to still retain 99%  of its genetic make-up, todays domestic dog is still very much a pack animal. But more so, with domestication came the ability to develop a bond stronger and more loyal that any other animal.

Sharing your life with a dog is something that will change you forever. It is true that they are a huge commitment, not just financially but emotionally too. But the rewards are immeasurable.

In last my post I introduced you to Sara and Matthew and their three fantastic dogs, Ellie, Pickles and Maggie.  Having emailed Sara to advise her that the images were ready for them to view, I was not surprised when Sara emailed me back. What she had to say however was a shock. In the little time since I had last been with them Ellie had been diagnosed with Cancer.

Whist it touched very close to home for me as we lost our lovely Kaci to cancer, the truth is, whenever they go, in which ever way, loosing them tears through your heart in a way you could never imagine.

I knew immediately that I wanted to return to see them. We had battled with the rain on our last shoot and whilst we did get some great images, we could not get all of the ones we had wanted. Now more than ever that became a priority.

This time the sun was shining and the blue sky was scattered with fluffy white clouds. Ellie, Pickles and Maggie ran to greet me as I arrived ready for another fun session.

Ellie has already had surgery to remove the lump and her specialised medication which is being imported from the USA is due to arrive in the next few days.  Regardless of her recent ordeals, Ellie was her usual self and such a beautiful, loving dog.

In fact, the gang really are a crazy bunch. Whilst Pickles sits gracefully in the shade, Maggie is obssessing over her toy, throwing it at me and then starring, waiting for me to make my move. And Ellie takes this opportunity to rob me of all my treats, as she gets her head firmly wedged into the back hanging from my kit belt.

But they all are so sweet and beautiful and a credit to Sara and Matthew.

Fingers and toes are crossed for Ellie and we hope she makes good progress and definitely look forward to seeing them all again in the future.

Another Surprise

Yet again one of my equine images has received a Highly Commended score with the SWPP. I feel truly honored to have scored yet again alongside some worlds most amazing photographers.

Now time to work really hard on getting a Gold!

Thank you to everyone who has supported and motivated me.

Image

A Little Play Time With My New Lens

It has been quite a while since I set my heart on purchasing the Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 lens, and finally two weeks ago it arrived. Unfortunately, it’s arrival coincided with a slight deterioration in my recovery which meant I was not able to get out to try it until more recently.

Having now had that opportunity, I can honestly say it did not disappoint. I look forward to being able to take this lens out much more when my health improves even further. In the mean time here are a few of the image I have recently taken with it.

Some More Equine Images

Creatures Of Beauty – The Horse

As I stand watching my daughter during her riding lessons, I am often distracted by the beauty of the horses around me. As a child I was very fortunate to have an uncle who owned some amazing Arabian horses and I can remember watching them too, imaging adventures we would share. My mother reminds me how I would say that I would never drive a car as I would travel everywhere on horse back. Of course the reality is very far from my dreams. I rode for many years on and off, however, finances and time constraints  meant that I sadly gave this up over 10 years ago.

Today, I have the pleasure to watch my own daughter riding and if you look in her eyes it is clear to see that she too feels the magic these stunning creatures hold.

So whilst she is busy learning, I spend some time walking around, admiring the other horses. And of course, with my faithful camera by my side, I try to capture some of the beauty before me.

The Original Canine Clown

 

As a lover of animals in general, I do feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to focus my photography around them.

When it comes to the canine world, there are so many different breeds, all with their own unique appearance and breed traits. But of all the breeds, the Boxer is one that maintains their childlike cheekiness right to the end. During my life I have met many Boxers and the breed remains my husband’s personal favorite. So it is no surprise that we have our own Harvey who is a Dogue De Bordeaux X Boxer, but we also have the pleasure of knowing “Liston”, the Boxer pup owned by our special friends Laura and Marcus Shambrook. Laura is the founder of   PAWFECT FRIENDS,  which caters for all of your pets needs, and many of my clients are referred by Laura.

So when I was contacted by Matt, I was immediately excited. I had met Matt and his fiancee last year whilst at the Hatfield Forest Wood Fest along with their lively white Boxer pup, “Bogey”. Already clients of  Laura’s, they came over to visit our stands and Bogey had his picture taken.

This time, during the telephone call, Matt explained that he and Tracey were getting married and he wanted to surprise Tracey by having images of Bogey and Tracey’s parents dog, Ross at the ceremony. How could I refuse!

The photoshoot was as I had expected, difficult but very funny. Bogey was livelier than ever and poor Ross was a little nervous at times. But at the end of the day we managed to capture some great shots.

Congratulations to the happy couple.

                          

 

A beautiful Weekend

It was a location I had longed to visit for many years, renowned for its beauty and challenging terrain. So, our family break to Snowdonia had much to live up to and it definitely did not fail to deliver.  Whilst the idea of taking two young children (7yrs and 9yrs) and two dogs, one of whom is almost 14yrs old, was not my part of my initial plan,  it was great to share the experience as a family.

Sadly, reaching two thirds of the way to the summit of Mount Snowdon, the weather took a serious turn for the worst, with strong winds and heavy rain. The rain made the stony path too slippery and strong winds made it hard for the children to stay on track.  We were well prepared for our climb, with appropriate clothing and a well equip backpack, but we knew we had to put the children’s safety first.  With the path carved along the side of Mount Snowdon’s huge rocky surface and fringed by a breath stopping drop, we knew it was time to turn back. It was a wise decision but one we would only learn to appreciate once we returned to base. There we met some experienced climbers who confirmed we were right to turn back when we did. It was also there that we noticed the start of frost bite on our 7 yr old daughter’s face.

The rest of our weekend was equally jam packed with amazing experiences from visiting the famous Swallow falls, the Slate and Copper mines, and even getting lost during a quiet walk. The experiences left a mark on all of us and our return is already being planned for later this year.

Seasons Greetings From Detheo

"Goose Lane In Winter"

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