We go behind the scenes to chat with Paul Toeman, founder of Cherish Studios in London. 

Paul shares his passion for photography, explaining why he set up Cherish Studios and how he came to specialise in dog portraits. What really comes across is how much Paul cares about the people and animals he photographs, loving nothing more than capturing their relationship in the beautiful images he creates!

How did you get into photography?

I’ve always loved photography. My first career was in advertising and marketing so photography was a hobby that I’d always kept going on the side. Friends would ask me to take photos at their special events and, by word of mouth, demand grew to such an extent that, back in 2006, I decided to go for it with a complete career change, taking up photography as a full time business.

Starting with weddings, parties and family portraits, I’m now studio based, providing a variety of photo shoots for individuals, couples, families, pets and celebrations of different life stages - I haven’t looked back since!

Why do you love photography?

I just love people and the connections that they have with one another. It is such a privilege to pick up my camera and capture their bonds and their relationships on film. Photographs encompass this love and demonstrate the connections they have built in their lives with their loved ones and their pets, creating a legacy that they can cherish forever. 

Only photography can literally take a snapshot of a moment in time, celebrating what those relationships meant to them then, but letting them re-live those feelings and those memories every time they look at their beautiful prints, and that’s why I love it.

It’s a gift for future generations to look back on fondly, too.

What is the story behind Cherish Studios?

Obviously, you don’t need a photographic studio when your clients need you to be their photographer at weddings and parties.

But I’d done a lot of outdoor photo shoots with people, their partners and their pets, and I felt that I would be able to capture their connection better in a warm and calm studio rather than in fields and woods and parks that can be a quite distracting environment, let alone the unpredictability of the weather!

So, I felt that it was time to take the plunge and open my own studio. 

It has been wonderful to see the fantastic rapport we are able to capture between owners and their dogs, when they are relaxed and comfortable in our studio. As you can see on our website, their expressions are incredible! 

Why do you love photographing dogs and their owners?

In my opinion, there is no other animal relationship that comes close to the one between an owner and their dog. As they say, “Dogs are God’s own pet.” You never hear a dog owner say they are fairly indifferent to their dog. When people talk about their dogs, their eyes light up and they speak with such affection about this extended member of their family.

The devotion and loyalty that dogs show to their owners is, I feel, unique in the animal world. They also have this incredible sixth sense that picks up on their owner’s mood, supporting them emotionally and lifting up their spirits.

During our photo shoots, I love hearing the stories that our clients share about their relationships with their dogs. Many have said that they might have rescued their dog from a shelter, and often from a bad previous experience, but they feel that their dog has equally rescued them, in their own way. 

As a dog loving photographer, my favourite thing is to capture the essence of the dog’s personality and the bond between them and their owner. 

It is beyond rewarding for me and eternally valuable to my clients, to have a beautiful print they can cherish forever, with their love for each other shining through.

Every time the owner looks at their wall art, showing their dog off at their best, their feelings of gratitude and purpose are renewed. 

The bond that shines through in these photos warms your heart, as you can see from some of our happy human and canine clients’ faces on our website!

Do you have any dogs?

I do indeed! We have a golden retriever called Harry and a black lab called Archie and, before that, we had a golden retriever called Freddie. I grew up with beagles and so dogs have always been an important part of my life.

I can’t think of a time where I haven’t had a dog in my life and I can’t imagine ever being without one.

Contact Cherish Studios

Take a look at our work by visiting our website, or find us on Instagram at @cherishstudiosphotography.

You can also call us on 0207 155 9725 or email our founder, Paul Toeman. We would love the honour of capturing the unique bond between you and your dog in that perfect image you will be able to enjoy and delight in every single day!

Love – you feel it, we photograph it, you cherish it. Forever.