Skip to main content

Cute cat picture poking through paper wins Scottish photography pair 12th award

Grahame Smith pet photography
(Image credit: Grahame Smith)

Scottish portrait photography team Grahame and Allison Smith (who make up GWS Photography (opens in new tab)) have just been awarded the Scottish Pet Photographer of the Year accolade from The Master Photographers Association. They won with this brilliant shot of three cats poking through a paper roll.

The creative shot was captured using a Canon EOS R5 (opens in new tab) and the Canon RF24-105mm F4 L IS USM (opens in new tab) lens, with an exposure of 1/200sec, f/10 and ISO400. Grahame has previously used a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (opens in new tab) for similar photos.

At first you might think that this "paper poke" shot was accomplished with some Photoshop wizardry, but winner Grahame ensured us everything was done in camera. "There’s no trickery or fakery… we basically poke a hole in a paper roll," he explains. Makes sense, but how did the idea come about? 

"We always get to the last 4 or 5 feet of the big studio paper rolls, and then one day we thought... “let’s not waste this!" It really is as simple as my wife Allison is behind the paper, and entices them to start looking through the hole we’ve made, then I'll be with a treat or toy in my left hand as I lie on the floor… enticing the pet out and capture them scampering forward. For the multiple pet pictures, like this award-winning cat one, the two owners got a cat each, and Allison the third. It works well with humans too!"

GWS Photography

(Image credit: GWS Photography)

GWS Photography works with clients across Scotland, UK, and is a multiple award-winning provider of wedding and portrait photography. It recently opened a new studio at Wheatrig, Scotland in February 2022.

“Our pet photography has always been a huge part of the studio’s work” explains Grahame, “and we are always looking for something different to do. We even went on a dog first aid course recently. That’s how seriously we take it.”

The latest pet award will be added to the growing trophy cabinet of GWS Photography which, over the last few years has included Scottish Child Photographer of the Year and UK Children's Portrait Photographer of the Year.

Grahame and Allison expanded the GWS team in February by adding a studio baby photographer, and according to them, the bump, baby and cake-smash photos are already proving popular.

Find out more about GWS Photography and its work (opens in new tab).

Read more

Best Canon cameras (opens in new tab)
10 pet photography tips (opens in new tab)
Best Canon lenses (opens in new tab)

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Lauren Scott
Managing Editor

Lauren is the Managing Editor of Digital Camera World, having previously served as Editor of Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) magazine, a practical-focused publication that inspires hobbyists and seasoned pros alike to take truly phenomenal shots and get the best results from their kit. 


An experienced photography journalist who has been covering the industry for over eight years, she has also served as technique editor for both PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine and DCW's sister publication, Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)


In addition to techniques and tutorials that enable you to achieve great results from your cameras, lenses, tripods and other photography equipment, Lauren can regularly be found interviewing some of the biggest names in the industry, sharing tips and guides on subjects like landscape and wildlife photography, and raising awareness for subjects such as mental health and women in photography.