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Pet photographer Ellie Sharples takes her four-legged friend on photo walkies

Pet portraits
Returning to this location at the golden hour made all the difference. Just look at that light! (Image credit: Ellie Sharples)
  • Mission: Capture moments with my dog and progress as a photographer
  • Photographer: Ellie Sharples
  • Location: Hillerød, Denmark
  • Kit used: Nikon D850, Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8G, Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR

I received a Nikon D40, my first DSLR, at 14 and fell in love with the ability to capture moments that would never happen again. It was just before a family holiday to The Gambia – what animal lover wouldn’t enjoy taking photos in such a nature-rich location? It has only been during the past couple of years that I’ve been motivated to learn more and practice as much as possible, so I can turn my hobby into a profession. And much of that inspiration comes from my dog, Dax.

Five years ago, I made the big decision to leave the UK and move to Denmark. I’ll never grow tired of exploring the beautiful forests; their pine trees and mosses create such a magical atmosphere. I came across an awesome moss-covered mound in a local forest (top), and returned during the golden hour with Dax. I use a wide aperture in most of my photos to produce wonderful bokeh and to emphasize the crisp subject.

Continuous focus enabled Ellie to capture this tack-sharp image of Dax on the move (Image credit: Ellie Sharples)

I love this image (above) because of the stark contrast between the pure white snow and dark trees, which makes my canine companion’s coloring even more striking. I framed Dax in a gap between the trees and called her so that she would run directly towards me. I used a fast shutter speed of 1/2000 sec to freeze the action – continuous focus and back-button focusing made it much easier to keep the collie in focus as she ran. 

This busy location meant that Ellie and Dax had to wait patiently for a moment without other people in the frame (Image credit: Ellie Sharples)

Most of my dog photography is based among nature, but I wanted to challenge myself and incorporate man-made settings into my portfolio. I thought the beautiful Frederiksborg Castle (above) would prove an ideal backdrop, with its warm colors and the busy textures of brick walls and cobblestones. Being a busy tourist spot it was hard to find a quiet area, but I love the results and am planning on shooting in more towns in the future.

Ellie used positive exposure compensation to prevent her camera from producing dull grey tones in the snow (Image credit: Ellie Sharples)

The above image is a similar concept to the shot in the snow, but in place of the dark trees I chose to use the dark railings of the bridge in Frederiksborg Park. I chose a wide aperture to blur the railings into the background, and used exposure compensation to bring out the white snow.

Ellie was careful not to damage any wild flowers when shooting among the poppies (Image credit: Ellie Sharples)

Denmark has quite a flat landscape, so I often find myself drawn to smaller details, such as the stunning poppies that grow during summer. I struggled to find a location where we would not be damaging crops, but eventually we stumbled upon some lone flowers, isolated within the tall grass.

I positioned myself so that Dax was backlit and, when she sniffed one of the poppies, an otherwise simple portrait turned into something much more special. I was so glad that my camera’s settings were prepared, otherwise I might have missed this charming fleeting moment.

See more of Ellie's incredible work by visiting her at and on Instagram.

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