Who's A Good Boy?

November 02nd, 2017
Who's A Good Boy?
Everyone likes to have a moment in the limelight – even dogs and cats. Nairne based animal photographer Heather Reid captures pets’ best poses … sit, stay, shutter click ...

Two years ago Heather established her business Furtastic Photography, which does exactly as you’d imagine – her business provides professional photos of people’s beloved four-legged friends.

“When I was younger, I always had a camera on me,” Heather said. “And I’ve always been one of those typical animal lovers.

“I wanted to combine the two, and two years ago I did it.”

Originally hailing from Newcastle in New South Wales, moving to Nairne four years ago as a result of her husband’s Army posting meant that Heather had the freedom and space to create a studio.

“It was a big leap to go into animal photography as I didn’t know how it would go,” she said.

“But we had a spare room in the house and I just thought I’d turn it into a studio.”

Now, she welcomes all kinds of animals through her doors for photography sessions.

“I mostly get dogs and cats, but I’ve also had lambs, rats and birds – I work with them all,” she said.

Heather supplies several different packages – with the costs being generally much lower than people expect.

“I don’t charge much because I love taking the photos and the end result,” she said.

While one can’t imagine getting animals to sit still for their photo would be easy, Heather said it’s all about allowing the animal to feel safe.

“The main thing is the environment – as soon as you walk in my house it’s a very calm and quiet environment. Dogs are allowed off the lead and can roam where they like. It’s all about the animal feeling comfortable, and in taking the photo, we move slowly.”

She has many tricks of the trade – including using sound.

“I’ve photographed a blind dog before and got some beautiful photos of him looking right into the camera!”

In pet photography, the best photos captured are the unplanned ones – a favourite one being of a border collie mid-yawn.

“It’s just what’s happening on the day. They’re yawning or they’re hyperactive but I take the photos anyway.

“They’re quite funny, and I always include those for the owners.”

A particular passion of Heather’s is photographing rescue dogs.

“I do a lot of rescue dogs. I always say to anyone who has a rescue that I’d do their pets for free.”
“A good photo of a rescue dog can increase the chance of it being adopted.

“I also volunteer at the RSPCA and I love to be able to do my part with helping animals in need,” she added.

Heather said establishing Furtastic Photography has allowed her to discover her love of the Adelaide Hills.

“I’ve found the Hills to be the most inviting, supportive place to live,” she said.

“I get to meet all kinds of animals and being in the community means everyone I’ve met has been amazing.

She has plenty of patience and doesn’t put a time limit on creating beautiful photos.

“I think once people see the photos that I do, they realise how special they are. Anyone can take a photo of their pets, but I make it just about the animal.

“For owners with dogs who are very old, to have a beautiful portrait on the wall, it becomes a memory.”

For Heather, she’s simply thrilled she has a career in something she loves.

“The other day I had someone ring up with an 8-week-old puppy, and I just told them to bring it. I didn’t even discuss payment,” she laughed.

And so who’s easier to photograph – cats or dogs?

“People think that cats would be hard but they’re good in the studio because it’s really quiet and dark and they respond well to that,” Heather said.

“But I’ve never had a dog that didn’t work with me!”

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