Meet the Sheffield photographer using the city’s iconic landscapes as the backdrop for her creative work
Rowan Williams is the creative spark behind Sheffield-based dog photography company Pooch & Pineapple, which creates colorful, eye-catching photos full of personality for dog lovers and pet brands alike.
Rowan has been a professional photographer since 2015 and lives in Sheffield with his rescue dog George – a Rottweiler-Mastiff cross.
Having previously worked in marketing and graduated from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Rowan has a strong focus on creating images that truly capture the essence of her clients, whether they are a beloved pet or of a pet business.
After working in the corporate marketing world for ten years, Rowan turned his passion into profit by retraining to become a photographer and now specializes in taking colorful, natural and full of personality photos.
She works with pet owners and pet businesses to create photos that will want to be treasured forever and strives to tell stories with her images.
The 39-year-old discovered her love for photography while volunteering with Mayhew, a London-based charity and animal shelter.
She has photographed every part of their job, from animal welfare officers working with homeless people in London, in the kennels and cattery, to the busy veterinary clinic.
With weddings called off due to Covid-19 and blockages, Rowan had a lot more free time and started growing his business by photographing more dogs after an increase in the number of people wanting photos of their furry friends.
She has now started working on a new project that involves photographing dogs in iconic locations in Sheffield, highlighting the city’s many beautiful and iconic neighborhoods – she is also calling on dog owners in Sheffield to get involved.
So far she has taken pictures in places such as Kelham Island, Park Hill Apartments, Botanic Gardens and has incorporated other iconic Sheffield themes into her work.
Speaking about the project, Rowan said, âI have compiled a very long list of locations; I’m about 55 so far. I have a really good mix of post-industrial Sheffield heritage, and have done Kelham Island before but would like to do more around Neepsend and Attercliffe. One of the places that keeps coming up, time and time again, that people always say, is Forgemasters; they really associate that very strongly with Sheffield.
âIt’s really a pretty interesting creative challenge, and I love the idea of ââcapturing a beautiful photo of a dog in a very post-industrial landscape, which is one of the reasons I made this project.
âThe person who came to the Kelham Island photoshoot really loves their photos; they were surprised and blown away by what could be achieved and by the beauty of their dog in this environment.
âAnother place I have done before was the Botanic Gardens which was really easy because obviously they are amazingly well maintained gardens and they are super green, and there are also a lot of different varieties there. I was more interested in the architecture of the big conservatory that they have there because it is very iconic of Sheffield. This is definitely one of my favorite photographs from this shoot.
âI took a few pictures around the apartments in Park Hill, then also in South Street Park, with the view of the city. These photos were taken at sunset, and it was truly magical as the sun was setting over the city. We have this beautiful summer sun shining on the Parkhill apartments and really illuminating them, and all of their beautiful colors. There were two dogs, one of them was a Borzoi, which is a large ancient breed of dog that looks very majestic anyway, standing in front of these very brutal architectural apartments that look like the 60s; I really liked the contrast of this. Then the other one I have is a nice shot of a lurcher that looks quite fluffy, but the sun is setting behind it, and then you can see the expanse of the city behind it, and that is yet another favorite photo.
After taking on an end-of-life dog called Tula in the summer of 2020, Rowan realized the importance of taking photos of pets that can be used as keepsakes in the future.
She said: âLast year I took a dying dog, and it underscored the importance for me of having great photos of your dog; she was only with me for eight months but i still really fell in love with her and when she died the photographs i had taken of her were the only things left that really took me away makes it clear that this is, in fact, what is most important in photography. When I started to get into dog photography I thought it was a bit silly and a bit frivolous, but after losing Tula I had all these beautiful photos that I kept as memories of her. .
Rowan is now helping dog owners across Sheffield photograph their dogs and has shared his tips for capturing the perfect image of a dog.
Revealing her tips for dog photography, she said, âTake your dog for a walk before you try to do anything with him; this way they have had the opportunity to vent any nervous energy they might have, and they can do their business as well.
âThe second thing is to have a squeaky toy or treats on you before you even start and really get your dog interested in you, so grab a toy and play with your dog, talk to him, pet him, get they look at you and know that something good is about to happen next. When you are ready to take the picture, go really low down. Often in a photoshoot I will very often lie down on the ground literally on my stomach with my camera on the ground as well.If you take the photo at their level, things look a lot more interesting from that point of view, rather than taking it from an average human size point of view .
âThe last point is, if you’re having trouble getting your dog to look at you and make a lot of noise, you can be as dumb as you want. Make high-pitched noises, make low-pitched noises, or you can even say words that they might respond to, like a cat, a squirrel or some treats or something like that, just to make them look at you, take the picture, soon. that the photographs were taken, reward them.
âAs I always say in the photoshoot, it’s important to pay the model, and with the dogs you have to make the photoshoot fun and relaxing, so that they can be as energetic or as old and cute as they are. They want it. As long as they’re having fun at the photoshoot, for example, playing with it or receiving treats, they’ll keep giving you whatever you want for the photos.
To learn more about Rowan and his company, you can visit his website at www.poochandpineapple.com/ or follow his Instagram account @poochnpineapple