In order to avoid such errant motion on the part of babies or pets, portrait photographs were sometimes taken while they were dozing. In this nicely balanced portrait, however, Derby photographer James Brennen has successfully managed to capture a dashing young man in a smart outfit with his very well behaved dog, the latter alert and facing directly into the camera lens. This was pretty unusual for the day – I think it was taken in the mid- to late 1870s – as gelatin dry plates with their greater speeds had yet to become commonly available. The slightly washed out appearance of the print and the paucity of well defined shadows suggest to me that Brennen may have used reflective lighting panels, or more likely took the portrait outdoors. The additional light would have permitted a shorter exposure time, making such a portrait possible, but would not have been easy, and it demonstrates some considerable skill on the part of the photographer.
By the time this unidentified young lad visited some unknown studio for his postcard portrait half a century later, perhaps in the 1920s or 1930s, artificial lighting was being used for visual effect, rather than to freeze motion. However, the photographer still found it convenient to have stuffed dog on wheels to grab the attention of his young subjects. The promise of a play with the toy afterwards no doubt encouraged the boy to stand where and how he was told, and give a most rewarding smile when prompted.