A portrait of a Miniature Dachshund takes top spot in dog photography competition

Emma Pope's photo of a miniature dachshund
Ebony Elegance. Sony A7R III with Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM; 1/125sec at f/11, ISO 160.) (Image credit: Emma Pope)

The Society of Wedding & Portrait Photographers (SWPP) has announced the winners of its Dog photo competition, with an excellent portrait of a Miniature Dachshund taking the top prize. 

This year's SWPP Dog Competition showcased an exhibition of exceptional dog portraits, showcasing pedigree and character in abundance. Shot using one of the best Sony cameras, the winning image captured a stoic and compelling studio portrait of a Miniature Dachshund, showcasing the effective nature of a one-light studio setup. 

The winning image was captured by photographer Emma Pope from West Sussex, England with her image entitled 'Ebony Elegance'. With the desire to learn studio lighting, Emma practiced throughout the summer with her miniature Daschund Levi and a single light. Black-haired dogs are notoriously more difficult to photograph and Emma noted the challenge of not clipping the shadows against the black background, a technique well executed in this case. The winning image was shot with a Sony A7R III in combination with the Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM lens

• See our article on top tips for dog photography

On talking about how she captured the winning image Emma Pope said, "I needed the softest light possible otherwise he looks grey with the amount of shine on his coat. There was a fine line between having enough light on the subject and it looks soft, without clipping the shadows on the subject. By posing Levi in the pose he’s in and creating that curve in the body, I was able to expose the neck/chest area. Previously I kept getting a lot of clipping if he was sat straight on. With a simple one-light set up and and the use of a reflector below him (I had to have him on the sofa poof to give extra height) I was able to reflect the light and fill in the space that previously was overshadowed.''  

(Image credit: Belinda Richards)

Second place went to Belinda Richards from Victoria, Australia, for her digitally composited image of a Weimaraner dog through multiple stages of its infancy. What first appears to be two different dogs, is in fact a dog with a younger version of itself which becomes clear when taking in the surrounding text outlining the number of weeks. A creative and fun image!

Jump Into Autumn. (Settings: ISO 500,  85mm, f/1.8, 1/1000). (Image credit: Emma Pope)

Third place also went to competition winner Emma Pope, for her image titled 'Jump into Autumn' which depicts a Collie leaping through a warm autumn scene. The image was captured with a Nikon Z6 ii with the Sigma Art 85mm portrait lens. 

The SWPP is a great association that supports photographers in improving their photography skills and building their businesses. They offer several year-round competitions that showcase fantastic talent from all over the world, often producing fantastic winning images. You can visit the SWPP website for a full list of dog competition entries.

You may be interested in our guides for the best camera for wildlife and the best pet cameras

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Kalum Carter
Staff Writer

Kalum Carter is a UK-based photographer, writer, and photo editor. Kalum has been working as a freelance photographer for the best part of ten years, covering a wide range of assignments for well-known brands and publications in areas including portraiture, fashion, and documentary. 


Between commercial assignments, Kalum is currently working on a personal photography project exploring his connection to the Gower region of South Wales UK, as part of an MA in Photography from The University of West England.