Tea with Naughty Sheep
AirBnB Experience Photography
Shooting travel, hospitality and AirBnB Experience Photography is water off a duck’s back to me and an area of photography I really love. However, even I wasn’t prepared for the utterly unique, and frankly, hilarious nature of one special commission I was asked to do last year. It was to photograph some especially characterful sheep in the beautiful setting of a smallholding nestled within The Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.
Rescue sheep ask for a cuddle
Beccy and her husband Dave run a smallholding and rural retreat in an idyllic part of Stirlingshire where they grow fruit and veg, keep bees for honey, welcome guests for mindfulness and yoga, and, most importantly, look after some rescued rare breed Herdwick sheep. Lochie, Dougie, Fergus and Hamish are their much loved, and now unexpectedly famous pet sheep, stars of the unique Airbnb Experience which Beccy devised.
Realising how much everyone seemed to love hanging out with these four mischievous animals, Beccy created Tea with Naughty Sheep – a seemingly bonkers but actually rather wonderful experience where guests indulge in a delicious homebaked traditional afternoon tea while sitting in a meadow communing with, and watching, the crazy antics of said sheep. It sounds mad, but there’s a little more to it, as Beccy, in her role as a complementary health practitioner, also encourages participants to connect with nature in the process, and to spend time just watching and bonding with the animals, while the mountains and rolling fields stretch out around them.
With other sheep-related experiences also available (including the fabulously named ‘Guided Meditation with Sleepy Sheep’), Beccy is both entrepreneur and animal lover, passionate about rescuing and raising her flock with care and kindness. She asked me to take some promotional photos for her website and marketing purposes and hand on heart, it was one of the most enjoyable shoots I’ve ever done!
Tea with Naughty Sheep and the International Press
News, and rave reviews, of Tea with Naughty Sheep soon made a big impact at Airbnb Experiences who were keen to promote their new Animal Experiences, and extraordinarily, the feisty four were featured in Vogue, The New York Times and Forbes magazine, among others, creating something of an internet sensation.
My original AirBnB Experience Photography involved getting up close and personal with my new woolly chums, a fair bit of lying in the grass to get interesting angles, always aware of those beady eyes upon me, the unpredictability of sheep a constant factor. I’d never realised before how a sheep can go from peaceful munching to frolicking mayhem in a matter of seconds, but it made for a lot of giggling but also fast reactions on my part to get the shot or get out of the way. Beccy took everything in her stride and was a natural, unfazed by the camera, her love and bond with her sheep making the whole shoot both entertaining but also touching. While loving the effect her boys have on visitors, she also takes her stewardship of the land and animals very seriously.
Funnily enough, these sheep were not my first ruminant models: I once had the privilege of photographing Dolly the Sheep at Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute. The first ever successfully cell-cloned mammal, Dolly now takes pride of place at the National Museum of Scotland, preserved forever thanks to some skilled taxidermy. She was very much alive when I met her and it was a great privilege to encounter her and the scientists whose work made her existence possible.
See also when I photographed Tiger Cubs from London Zoo in a semi-detached house on the North Circular
As the owner of two beautiful lurchers called Luna and Billie, I do love the chance to capture dogs with my camera whenever possible. Weddings can be a rich source of canine material, with ring-bearing labradors or cheeky Jack Russells often upstaging the bride and certainly contributing to some great reportage wedding shots. Landscapes and interiors often benefit from a dog in the mix, as a useful focal point, and more studied portraits of dogs (and also horses) can make for a striking photograph with lots of depth of tone and contrast.
If you’d like to chat about UK-wide Airbnb Experience Photography, lifestyle or animal photography, drop me a line at
firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call on 07887 676002.