Dogs may be 'Man's Best Friend' and they can also be a photographer's best friend (or worst nightmare). One of the challenges confronting the portraitist is successfully capturing genuine emotion. Often, due to culture and upbringing, adults and even children will pose stiffly and uncomfortably, adopting a safe, protective mask. The result may be a technically correct but uninspiring image.
As soon as you add a dog or cat to the portrait, your subject reacts to their furry friend. Even people reluctant to pose at all may relent and let you photograph their pet (and then you can bring them into the shot).
The Fremantle Portrait Prize closes on 1 August 2012 http://www.fremantleportraitprize.org.au/