THEY say never work with children or animals.

Professional photographer Catherine Dashwood has done both and she most definitely prefers subjects of four-legged rather than two-legged variety. They are much easier to work with.

Catherine who lives in the New Forest, specialises in taking pictures of dogs, having started photography as a hobby seven years ago and turned professional in 2015.

She began photographing her own grandchildren and things snowballed from there.

Catherine explained: “I did a few weddings and other people’s children on request and then I was approached by Hampshire Hounds in 2015 to take pictures for them on a voluntary basis. I realised I loved photographing dogs so it became both a business and a passion.

“And of course you don’t have to worry if they don’t smile, are in a bad mood, don’t want to be there or have fallen out with their parents, unlike children!”

It helps that she is very much a dog lover and has been around them all her life.

Pet photography is a growing market, an import from America and it’s also fiercely competitive sector.

“More and more want their pets photographed because they are an integral part of the family,” said Catherine.

“Dogs make the best subjects because they are all special and they give you some wonderful subject matter.

“I may take 400 pictures of one animal and it might be just one that absolutely captures the spirit, look and personality. When I get that image, it’s a great feeling for both me and the owner.”

Catherine takes pictures in natural settings. More often than not the photo shoot will be out walking with dog and owner.

“It’s the best way to do it because you capture the dog when they are at their happiest and most natural.”

Catherine’s skill is put to very good use by Hampshire Hounds Dog Rescue in Lymington. As a dedicated volunteer she takes all its animal photographs, a crucial part of the rehoming process.

Founder Tracy Vickery said. “It’s fantastic to have Catherine working with us. It’s so important to have great pictures of all our rescue dogs because often first impressions count.”

The charity was established in 2015 because Tracy, an administrator in the NHS, believes there are growing numbers of unwanted pets needing help.

In 2015, 9000 dogs were destroyed by councils in the UK and 47,000 abandoned by their owners.