Congratulations to photographer Justine McMillan who has achieved her first winning entry in the SuperDog of the Month competition!
Her image of Labrador Ruby, in the January 2020 competition, was hugely popular with our Photographer, Dog Owner and sponsor judging panels and this means Ruby’s owners can look forward to receiving a £25 Pets at Home voucher and a winners certificate. Ruby’s image will also be included in the 2019 SuperDog of the Year competition where it could be chosen to win £1000!
We asked Justine to tell us all about her studio: “I’ve been a photographer for about 23 years now after being made redundant from my job selling car insurance and opened my studio in 2006. I love meeting new people from all walks of life so this job is ideal for me, but I especially love meeting babies. I photograph a lot of newborn babies who I get to wrap and pose for their session and then I often see them grow up when parents bring them back for more sessions over the years as they add to their growing families, which is lovely.
You can’t beat a smiley baby for brightening up your day, it’s an instant pick-me-up. Sometimes, you have to work for the smiles and I have an impressive repertoire of funny noises, faces and songs. I have no problem with acting silly, and encourage parents to join in the fun as well, in order to get the best from my little subjects. Families with older children often tell me that they say they want to come back and do it again because they had so much fun.
I have only been photographing dogs on a regular basis since 2019, and I have to say it’s been a learning curve. My usual subjects are families and babies where the sessions are quite high energy and fun to try and get natural expressions and smiles. Dog photography is quite different as when they first arrive they are instantly full of excitement for all the new sounds and smells.
My job is get them feeling calm and relaxed and to have as few distractions as possible so that they feel at home and can listen to their owners commands. Once I have them in position, I have an even more extensive repertoire of sounds – more than for my baby customers – I use to get their ears to prick up or get them to look at me or tilt their head and try and bring out their characters. At the end end of the session I don’t mind if they get excited again, as it sometimes makes for some more fun shots with their owners.”
Commenting on the winning image Justine told us: “Ruby was a dream to photograph. She was very calm and almost regal throughout her whole photo shoot with me. It can sometimes be difficult to light and photograph black dogs well, so I knew I had to make the most of her beautiful glossy coat, so that her owners had a wonderful portrait of her.”
Justine’s studio is located in the small town of Brough just off the M62, which is 15 miles outside of Hull, City of Culture 2017. It’s also a five minute walk from the River Humber with its stunning views across to Lincolnshire and the impressive Humber Bridge in the distance. The studio is on the road to the Train Station and there is plenty of parking in the station car park, with some limited parking directly outside the studio.
We visited The Picture Box and have nothing but thanks for Justine. She was amazing with our son, so patient; nothing was too much trouble. The final pictures were amazing too and we cannot wait to get our images back to display at home.
Thank you so much Justine, we will definitely be back!