Pooches & Prams chat to Dog and Family photographer Emma O’Brien

As you may have guessed by now, we love kids and dogs… so when we come across other mums who not only have kids and dogs but also have a job based around them, we feel an overwhelming urge to have a chat! We first saw Emma O’Brien photos on the fantastic blog The Dogvine, and were drawn instantly to their charm, style and of course gorgeous dog models, how cute is the one below with Bacon the pug? She splits her time between South Africa and the UK so when she was in London last month we jumped at the chance to have a dog walk, chat and of course take a few photos, which we’ll share with you soon 🙂

You photograph lots of dogs and children, what is your top tip for getting the best photograph? The top tip I can give is to be patient. Staying calm, not having too rigid a shoot idea in mind and being able to be flexible with what happens during a shoot are key. Oh and also a sense of humour 😉 Neither dogs or small children understand what a photoshoot is about and why it’s so important to their parents, so I make sure I allow plenty of time for a shoot as well as being incredibly patient with whatever crazy occurs.

You’ve worked with hundreds of dogs, which breed is the funniest to work with? It has to be a Pug. I did a shoot last year in collaboration with Friendship Collar and a local ice cream maker (who makes special doggy ice creams – see photo below). Bacon the Pug was one of our models and he was hilarious. The facial expressions he gave us were priceless and he literally bounced off the walls in the studio and just wanted to be loved by everyone. Eventually he sat still for some shots. I have worked with quite a few Pugs over the past few years and they are such delightful little clowns – as you well know :).

How many dogs do you have? I have 6 dogs (I like to say this quickly and quietly so I sound less crazy) 4 of which are rescues.

Jane, Ridgeback/Weimaraner – my super model dog, she’s not very clever but she’s very attractive!
Dora, Rottie mix – she’s a rescue dog.
JunoEnglish Bulldog – she was my boyfriend’s dog, she snores A LOT.
Hazel, Chihuahua mix – also a rescue, what she lacks in size she makes up for in personality.
Edward, Mixed breed rescue mutt – I volunteered to bottle feed him and his sister Victoria when their mum died and I ended up keeping him. He weighed 450 grams when I got him at 2 days old, he’s now 29 Kgs of big baby. Edward LOVES small children, I have to be careful that he doesn’t flatten them as he’s a bit boisterous, but once he’s calmed down he follows children around constantly, it’s very sweet.
Victoria, Mixed breed rescue mutt – Edward’s sister, thankfully she’s a bit smaller, however loves to sit on laps as much as Edward does. They are collectively known as the Twins, they have an insta – @twobrownmutts

You must get to travel to lots of amazing places, where is the most exotic place you’ve done a shoot in? I mostly travel between the UK and South Africa (I’m aiming to expand my travels though) and my favourite place to shoot is on the beach. I have shot some gorgeous dog and human portraits in Cape Town at sunset on the beach, the only downside being that the wind is often howling there. I love the light and muted colours of a beach shoot 🙂

If you could photograph any famous family with their dog, who would you choose? I would love to photograph Madonna and her family with their Boston Terrier. She’s one of my idols (I love her determination and grit when it comes to success) and I’d be intrigued to see her softer side with her many kids and of course the dog.

We hope you enjoyed reading our chat as much as we enjoyed having it 🙂


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