Q: Tell us about yourself – how long have you been a dog photographer?
I actually took an unusual route into becoming a photographer. I've always enjoyed being creative and started by editing various pictures in Photoshop (initially Paint!). From then I just naturally got into taking my own images to edit, and these have always been of nature or animals. I progressed by taking up a lot of technical photography courses - I wasn't the type of person who would just snap photos as I went along, in fact I didn't like taking random images with a point and shoot. It's only when I discovered how amazing photography could be when it is properly understood that I really got into it. I have focused mainly on animals and dogs since then. I finally set up my own photography business in June this year but I've been a photographer at dog shows and doing private pet photoshoots for a number of years.
Q: You are one of our newly represented dog photographers represented by the Kennel Club Picture Library – what does it mean to you to be represented by the Kennel Club as a photographer?
It is a privilege to be represented by the Kennel Club Picture Library. The Kennel Club Charitable Trust is a fantastic charity organisation solely dedicated to health and welfare of all dogs and something that I really want to become more involved with the Kennel Club. Being associated with the Kennel Club makes me feel like I am contributing in a small way towards the better improvement of dogs and I hope my photographic contribution can help.
Q: What was your interest in coming to the Kennel Club Picture Library?
I think for a dog photographer the Kennel Club is a great place to display my work. There are so many talented and experienced photographers who work with the Kennel Club Picture Library that having my photos next to theirs gives me a lot of confidence in my ability as a dog photographer.
Q: Where are you from?
I was born in Nitra, Slovakia. It's a rather small city with plenty of character not far from the capital. Although it's not as vibrant as some bigger cities it has a lot of history and it was amazing growing up there. We even have a large exhibition area called Agrokomplex where we frequently host dog shows!
Q: Is photographing dogs different in the UK than Slovakia? If so, in what way?
The entire dog scene is much bigger in the UK than in Slovakia. There are more photographers, more breeds of dogs, bigger shows and competitions, which means that there is much more of a market for a dog photographer in the UK. There are however lots of dog enthusiasts in Slovakia who are always keen to get a nice album of their pets so demand for private shoots is also pretty high.
Q: How did you start to focus on photographing dogs in particular?
I've always been interested in photographing animals – I can definitely be described as an animal lover. Dogs are one of my favourite animals; they have so much character that translates well into images, and that is something that I am always trying to bring out in my pictures.
Q: Do you specialise in photographing any particular breeds?
Yes my main focus is currently on the Hovawart breed. My family have one and I really got to know the breed very well from having him at home and going along to the dog shows. I believe that to be able to capture the dog's true personality a photographer should understand the dog's nature and behaviour.
Q: Why this breed?
Hovawart dogs are beautiful and majestic, yet cute and playful. I also find their eyes absolutely stunning! But more importantly, having one at home enabled me to familiarise myself with the breed and know exactly how to approach a Hovawart in a photo shoot.
Q: What is your favourite dog photo that you have taken and why this photo?
This photo is my favourite because of the expression on the dog's face and the atmosphere which is so calm, it really emphasises the dog's focus and concentration as he is looking down intently from above.
Q: Would you have any tips to offer new dog photographers just starting out today?
I would mainly recommend getting to know their camera completely and take the time to actually master the photography skills - including the theory and all technicalities that come with it. I would also suggest getting out there and practicing in different lighting conditions and settings.
Q: What’s the best thing about working as a professional dog photographer?
When I'm out shooting to me everything I see is a potential composition. I constantly look out for nice frames and finding those brings me just so much excitement. Although I cannot say this is true for anything else but animals and nature! The satisfaction of seeing a picture materialise how I want it is really rewarding and gives me a lot of motivation.
Q: What is your favourite type of dog activity or composition photography to shoot?
Shooting outdoors in nature is my most favourite photography. It's not just taking pictures, but seeing the dogs in their natural setting, just being themselves and happy. This is ultimately what I'm trying to capture and hoping for others to see in the photos too.
Q: Are you working on any new dog photography project(s) that you would like to talk about?
I am trying to expand my portfolio and cover more breeds, especially ones that are not as frequently spoken of or photographed. So going forward, you may see me exploring breed stands at dog shows or my gallery being expanded to incorporate more unusual breeds.