“I take photos of pets because they are so important to remember,” says Katie – founder of Adventure Pawtraits. “A photograph is powerful enough to bring you right back to the feelings of the moment, and being able to use my skill and passion to give that to a pet owner makes me so happy.”
When Katie left her job of 12 years during the pandemic, it was the push she needed to launch her own business in November 2020, combining her passion of pets and photography. Based in Newcastle-under-Lyme, the talented photographer and dog-mum offers pet pawtraits in stunning Staffordshire beauty spots up to 20 miles from the market town, from Keele Woods to Dimmingsdale.
Phoebe and Frank were offered a free session with Katie last weekend, and we jumped at the opportunity. I find it can be tricky to photograph your own pooches (and its easy to criticise your own work), so I’d been meaning to book The Scamps in with a pro for a while. It’s something I’d regretted not doing with our old Staffy, Lyla, before she passed, as those memories are absolutely priceless.
To book in for the shoot, we chatted with Katie on Instagram and organised a good date and time, before filling out a contract and information form about the dogs personalities. We picked a quiet public walk in the Moorlands, not too far from Knypersley Reservior (a regular shooting spot for Katie), because we wanted as few off-lead dogs and distractions as possible for Phoebe. Thankfully, despite the forecast the weather stayed dry and sunny, and the trail we chose was pretty scarce of other dogs.
Katie says: “For your dog the sessions are just like their normal adventures, but with stops and treats along the way to capture those magical moments.”
And so, at 11am we set off on our walk which Katie had been to visit the previous day before to scout out some picturesque pitstops. Along the way, we grabbed some shots of Phoebe and Frank against country stone walls with rolling fields behind them, as well as exploring the dense woodland where last autumn’s leaves still scattered the ground. My favourite part of the walk was discovering a carpet of bluebells lending itself to the pawfect photo opportunity – it was such a surprise as I’d not done that particular walk at this time of year so hadn’t even realised they’d be there.
I hopped into a couple of photos with the dogs – we are Lady & The Scamps – after all, and Katie was great at directing all three of us into the best composition. It was such good fun and Frank had a blast showing off all his best pawty tricks, and of course, his Barkley and Co collar. He only ever wears it for best.
Katie was dressed for adventure in her waterproofs, well prepared for lying on the floor in any weather conditions to get the best shots! It can take some trial and error to get the dogs to look in the right place, preferably with ears up (else Staffies look more like seals), but between Katie, my parents and I waving bags of treats and making strange noises, Katie managed to pap some pawsome pictures. She was ever so patient with The Scamps who would often look anywhere but the lens, or would decide they had an itch just as the shutter clicked, but she persevered until she was happy with her snaps!
Katie’s Adventure Pawtraits usually cost £75, which include a shoot up to 90 minutes with two pets from the same household and an agreed outdoor location. The price also includes a sneak peek preview on social media, retouching of up to 20 images, a purchasing appointment and a 7in x 5in print. At the moment, Katie has an offer where shoots are £40, with 75% of each booking going towards sponsoring a rescue dog abroad via the Angels for Animals Foundation. The UK charity is run by a dedicated team of volunteers, with ground workers in Turkey who take in street dogs, with Angels for Animals helping to fund the boarding and vet bills.
The money from Katie’s profits will be going to sponsor a dog called Meghan, who was found on the streets of Turkey with a limp, and when she was finally rescued an x-ray showed gunshot debris, so her limp was caused by being shot at some point in her life. The pooch also had a tumour removed from her back, and now shows no signs of cancer. It will be around six months until Meghan is fit enough to be flown to the UK to be fostered until she finds her forever home. Katie donates 10% of her profits to the charity to sponsor Meghan monthly, and the current offer – running until the end of June – will be a significant boost for the charity’s worthy cause. See some gorgeous photos of Meghan below!
When Katie had edited our photos, we were invited to an online viewing – which would be in person sans Covid-19 – where Katie revealed a slideshow presentation of our images. I have to admit, my eyes leaked more than a little. She’d done such a beautiful job and captured their personalities in so much detail. I knew how brilliant her work was from her portfolio, but it’s a different admiration when you’re looking at photos of your own pets, because there’s a deeper connection there. And because Phoebe and Frank don’t go off lead, Katie had even edited their leashes out on some of the images!
One of my favourite thing about the images is their eyes – they just look so powerful, glossy and bright. The colours in the shots are so stunning, and their brindle fur looks incredible. My favourite photo from the selection has to be the one of the three of us sitting together, but I also adore the one of Frank giving me a cheeky smooch.
Katie gave us the opportunity to buy some of the images as prints – under no pressure or obligation. We loved the photos so much, I ended up buying six prints for £250, with my included free print, which Katie has kindly enlarged for free. Katie says most clients invest between £400 – £800 in the art from their session images, with prices for prints starting at £125 for three 6in x 8in prints.
The prints are of absolutely exceptional quality and very professionally done. Katie showed me a selection of her prints, frames and canvases and they are truly gorgeous, seamlessly slotting in to any home interior.
Here are some more amazing photos from our photoshoot.