Startups

Published: April 6, 2022 | Updated: April 7, 2022

Barking brilliant! John combines twin passions – dogs and photography – for his PhoDography

By Andrew Diprose, editor

John Fanning has successfully combined his twin passions – dogs and photography – to launch a dog photography business.

PhoDography specialises in capturing luxury lifestyle portraits of your best friend, from fast action to portraits and caricature images.

The award-winning landscape and wildlife photographer, pictured left, decided to start the business after providing his services free of charge to Weymouth-based Dog Friendly Social.

He photographed 12 dogs for its 2022 calendar in aid of PAWS Weymouth And Portland Animal Welfare Society.

John, 61, who lives in Weymouth, said: “I spent two months meeting all the clients in various fun settings.

“The reaction and feedback I received was just amazing.

“It set me thinking that, perhaps, there could be a future business here.”

While photography has been his main hobby, John’s career has been spent in the Royal Navy.

In fact, he officially retires from the Senior Service this month after 45 years, including 30 years on active service and, latterly, as civilian support.

Self-taught, John only took up photography in 2005.

He said: “I went flying in a Hawk – the aircraft used by the Red Arrows – and took a selfie on a pocket camera.

“The image of a jet reflected in the visor took my interest and my photography really started from there.”

Initially investing £300 in a digital camera, John has since spent thousands of pounds on equipment.

His landscape and wildlife photography has become recognised in the industry and published in several photography magazines.

He has been commended for Landscape Photographer of the Year on three occasions and his work has been made into greetings cards sold in shops around the world.

John’s patience has also been rewarded with some stunning images.

He said: “I once spent four days in temperatures of minus 15 degrees to get pictures of a golden eagle.

“It was worth the wait.”

A dog-owner since childhood John, who has a golden retriever called Stanley and a cockapoo called Ollie, said the joy brought to owners by his work was “very satisfying.”

He said: “I take fun action shots and portraits that are timeless for owners to cherish and viewers to simply enjoy.

“Currently I’m getting a lot of interest in a rainbow bridge showing me scattering the ashes of Woody, my springer spaniel, who was 15.

“I absolutely adored Woody.

“I’ve been asked if I can also recreate the picture for owners who’ve also lost their best friends.”

John’s prices start from £59 for a photoshoot of approximately one hour at a location of the client’s choice within ten miles of Weymouth.

Additional miles incur a mileage fee.

John said: “Over the years I have amassed a huge range of skills, and a variety of cameras and lenses.

“They are capable of taking very high-speed, high-resolution shots above and beyond the average professional’s camera, let alone a smart phone.

“I also use state of the art photo editing software that will enhance even the best shots I take.

“Dogs really are amazing subjects and I like to photograph them out in the nature of beautiful Dorset, down by The Fleet or in our fantastic woodlands.

“I let them just be dogs and the results speak for themselves.”

And as for the subjects of his pictures, John has the following advice on his website.

He says: “You just need to turn up.

“They’re going to try and wash you, brush you, maybe put ribbons in your hair.

“You just need to have breakfast, make sure they bring water and tasty snackos for you, and then basically do what you do best, just be a dog – but please don’t run away!

“I only have one rule and that’s please try not to pee on my cameras, but otherwise anything goes.

“If you like running in water I can deal with that.

“If you like chasing balls, and who doesn’t, then that’s good too.

“And if you’re old and stiff and can’t move far or quickly then that’s just fine.”