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Donny Hughes - Photographer of the Month August'17
Hello, My name is Donny and I’m a self-taught and very enthusiastic photographer from Cumbernauld just outside Glasgow. I have shot various events throughout my time with a camera, but my heart lies with dog photography.
How did you get into Photography
I’ve always had a creative streak, but finding photography was a little backward for me. Not long after I got my first PC many years ago, I developed a huge interest in graphics and photo editing programs. I then bought a cheap second-hand digital camera, which I was happy with for a year or so but I soon strived for better quality and more control. I started taking photography more seriously when my daughter was born; nevertheless, it was still simply a hobby to me. It wasn’t until my wife finally agreed to a family dog after years of hounding her (pun intended) that my photography took on a new lease of life. I have only really been taking images of dogs this year but my work is now slowly but surely starting to get recognised.
What can you tell us about your entry ‘Dog on the Hill’ into our It’s a Dog’s World photo competition
It was a nice but cold and windy day in January this year. I decided to take my dog (A Miniature Schnauzer named Archie) up nearby hills with the intention of getting some shots. I took a lot of photos that day but this one just stood out. I loved everything about the image such as the colours, the light, the scenery and the sharpness of the dog. The glint in his eye just topped it off. I got home and made some enhancements. I admit I was blown away with what I had created. That was when I realized how much I loved the whole dog photography experience. From that day on I have been trying to master the art at every opportunity. I would actually say this particular image is a little more special to me as this is the one that kicked off my whole dog photography adventure 🙂
Do you have any particular style of photography you specialise in?
I specialise in and love dog photography. I’ve always been a dog person and when I got my own pooch it just all kind of fell together. I’m happy taking any type of dog shots including action shots, dogs with owners and I have also started getting into studio shots. I especially like outdoor portraits as I feel that’s where I can let my creative juices flow the most. For the past 6 months, I have been experimenting a whole lot more using off camera flash which has given me some results that I am very happy with. I’d say on a typical outdoor shoot I split half the time using natural light and the other half using off camera flash.
What do you enjoy about photography?
I like all the usual stuff like freezing moments in time, learning new techniques, being creative and just generally taking lots of photos. For me though there are two things that I really love about the type of photography I do. One is the feeling of over excitement I get when I’m positive I have a real keeper. I find myself absolutely bursting to get the image transferred to my PC so I can see it on a big screen. It can be very difficult to photograph dogs as they can be unpredictable and tend to lose interest quickly, so getting good shots can be very challenging. Nailing the shot that was in my head just feels awesome.
The other thing that gets me is making people happy, a skill I believe every photographer possesses. I recently gave a friend a large print of her dog as a gift. She was overwhelmed with the image and burst into tears. The photo now hangs proudly in her living room. I really feel blessed that I am able to give someone something they can cherish forever.
Tell us about one of your projects
The main thing I’m working on just now is building my portfolio. I keep getting asked to take photos of other people’s dogs and so I’m now seriously considering turning this into a side business.
If you could offer one piece of advice to aspiring photographers what would it be?
This one is easy for me. Enjoy what you do!! The day I stop enjoying photography (which I hope never happens) is the day I’ll put down my camera. I know my portfolio is not very diverse and it’s not for everyone, but I truly feel very fortunate that I have found something in photography and in life that I really really enjoy and it just works for me. So yes, make sure you have fun.
Any plans for the rest of the year?
Aside from my current wildlife calender project, I’m aiming to market my images more in the form of framed, mounted prints and greetings cards and get my work out there! I am also investing in a new macro lens for some insect photography which I’ve never done before – so something new and challenging!
Where can we see your work?
Most of my work can be seen on my Flickr page
My website is currently under construction but will hopefully be live sometime next month. My web address is www.dugshots.co.uk for anyone interested in revisiting.
For the rest of the year I will continue taking pics of my four legged friends. I’m also looking at options to make my studio mobile, which will no doubt include some sort of custom made gazebo. Finally, I also plan on contacting a local dog shelter and offering to take pics of the poor dogs looking for a forever home.
I’m really looking forward to all these things.