Together with her owner Babette, Modesty welcomes visitors to The Society Club in London’s Soho. During the day it opens as a cafe, bookshop and gallery. Then at night it becomes a private Members’ Club.
I stumbled on the club by accident and Modesty became my muse. Working nearby, I would rush over to Soho at lunchtime, order tea, then let the tea go cold as I snapped away. This is one of my early pictures of Modesty.
Technically, an outdoor shot like this one isn’t difficult. There’s plenty of light and Bulldogs aren’t known for their sudden, rapid movements. But be prepared to crouch down and shoot at dog’s eye level. With modern, hinged viewfinders, there’s no excuse for looking down on your subject.
Think about depth of field when taking an animal portrait. I wanted to focus attention on Modesty, but at the same time I wanted the interior of the club to be recognizable. From memory, my lens aperture was f/4 – wide enough to throw the background out of focus, but not so wide that it was completely blurred. When you get the chance, experiment with camera settings, until you get a result that you like.
If you’d like to share your own experience or advice with readers, I’d love to hear from you.