Welcome to our brand Rosewood blog new series, Meet The Influencer, where we get to know the faces behind beloved pet accounts. This month, we’ve been speaking to the lovely Instagram creators, Our Paws Explore.
Please can you introduce yourselves and tell us about your pups.
Hello! We are two sisters, Jess and Holly, who are both dog crazy! We both studied animal management at college and now we own our own dog walking business together. Jess is 21 and is a keen photographer. She also is the one who teaches the girls the tricks they know. Holly is 26 and helps with posing the dogs, she will sometimes be in photos, and we aim to add more lifestyle into our account including both of us. Jess is a little camera shy and says she prefers it behind the camera though!
We welcomed Dottie into the family around Christmas in 2016. We did have our challenges with her but overcame a lot of these. In 2018, Dottie had a litter of 7 Cockapoo puppies, Lottie was one of these bundles of joy which we kept! As we raised Lottie from birth, she fit into the family so perfectly. She copied a lot of good manners Dottie has, and has been a pure joy most of the time, she has her odd moments though as any dog does.
We started searching last September for our Journey. Her breeder carefully thought through the mating, both parents are health tested, have good temperaments and are having a litter to keep a puppy themselves. Peggy (Journey’s mum) went on to have a beautiful litter of 9, 7 boys and 2 girls.
Journey is a chocolate and tan, but her tan points aren’t as prominent, she is very unique and we love that!
Tell us about how you create your gorgeous imagery.
What photography and camera equipment do you use?
I recently upgraded to the Canon R5 and I’m loving every second shooting with it! Paired with the Canon 135mm F2L and Sigma art 35mm 1.4 lens it's my dream team! I also have the Canon 85mm 1.8 and 50mm 1.8 but these aren’t used much.
What post-photography / editing software do you use?
I use Lightroom and Photoshop.
How do you come up with your creative photo ideas?
There’s inspiration everywhere you look, you’ve just got to think outside the box. Sometimes it will take me an hour or so of brainstorming, other times it will be instant. Not all of my creative ideas work either, there’s lots of failures that you don’t see.
How do you get the pups to pose for photos? Any training tips?
Lots and lots of yummy treats! Make the camera fun, the dogs need to get benefits out of it too right!? Not only is getting photos of your dog seriously cute, but it also is amazing for general obedience! The main commands your dog needs to know is to sit and stay. Having a helper to pose the dog is great too. I can pose the dogs myself, but if someone is with me I find it easier to have them pose the dogs. If your dog can’t sit still for long, or can’t be off lead you can always edit a lead out in photoshop, safety should be paramount.
What are your best photography tips for beginners?
Don’t rush the process. Photography takes lots of time and patience. Try to not compare yourself to others. Get inspired by other photographers, but don’t get caught up in the mindset that your images may not look like theirs just yet. More than likely the people who are inspiring you have been doing photography for many years. I love to look back at the start of my account to now, even more so to the people who inspire me, to see how far they have come too! YouTube has great videos to help with all things photography.
What is your favourite photo of the pups?
I have many photos I adore, but not too sure on a favourite! Weirdly enough, I'm still waiting for ‘the one’ I want to get printed on my wall.
Tell us about your Instagram journey.
What inspired you to set up an account?
I have always been into photography, truth be told, I saw someone with a Canon camera posing over 10 years ago for their profile photo on Facebook. Back then, it was ‘cool’ to do that, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a Canon camera! From the moment the camera was in my hand I was totally in love with it all! I saw lots of pet accounts so originally set one up for the rabbits we had at the time, then when we got Dottie I opened a dog specific instagram account for her. I wouldn’t be where I am now with photography without this account, and community which I am so grateful for.
How did you come up with your Instagram handle?
Originally it was Adventures with Dottie. But overtime we wanted something to include Lottie too and knowing that we were going to be adding a new addition to our family we needed something that we could grow with. We love our adventures so we wanted something along the lines of that. So that's where Our Paws Explore came from!
What is your favourite thing about the Instagram community?
Finding connections. There’s so many talented people who are like-minded to have conversations with. But also there’s many photography specific groups that we all help each other out in. I’ve been educated so much through the people I follow, it truly is amazing.
What advice do you have for aspiring creators and those who want to work with brands?
Have fun and don’t take it too seriously!
Working with brands is amazing, but don’t work with just anyone for something for ‘free’. Gifted items are great but remember you’ve got to put hard work into creating content too. Sometimes it can be a full time job, and if you're not being paid right or valued by a company it can be upsetting, so know your worth. You’ve got to believe in their products, I always say to myself; If it doesn’t benefit me, or I won’t go and buy it in the shop I won’t promote it.
To me working with brands is building connections. Nothing is worse than working with a company and there’s just no communication there. I want to make good connections and have fun.
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