This post initially started as a standard “How to Prepare for your Pet Photography Session.” Only I stared at a blank screen for days, which is unlike me. I have a lot to say behind my keyboard. With a topic like dogs or pets in general, I was frustrated that I drew a blank. Then I realized that while I do want to help you prepare, what feels more important is explaining WHY. Why I photograph animals and why pet photography matters: Dogs, Cats, Ducks, Horses, all of them. And Why I think you should consider a photography session for your pet too.
A Little Backstory on How I Started Photographing Pets
When I was 14, I had a horse named Buster, and he was my gateway to photography. I was always snapping photos of him and trying to get him to pose. Have you tried to pose a horse before? If you have, you’ll know my efforts were mostly in vain. Rolls and rolls of film developed of blurry photos that I cherished. The second I upgraded to a camera with a timer… BOOM! Game changed. I would set the timer then quickly run over and try and look casual. Those photos are ridiculous. Ridiculous, but loved. This was also the beginning of realizing why pet photography matters.
After 10 years of what I feel like was a love story with a horse, he unexpectedly passed. Like one day fine, then the next we were driving to Washington State University with hopes they could save him. They didn’t. My world crumbled, sitting on the floor in the hallway of the vet hospital.
Why do I tell you this? Because he was my first story. With a beginning filled with joy and an ending that took a piece of my heart. Those first pictures told our story.
With my whole heart, I understand the joy of the first day and the sorrow of the first loss. From beginning to end, along with all the fantastic points in between, that was our story.
I Don’t Photograph a Pet, I Capture a Connection
My style of photography focuses first on the connection. This is the same for families, children, and pets. While I will absolutely work to deliver a perfect wall hanging portrait, my goal is foremost to tell your story. The story you are writing with your dog, horse, or even duck.
When you look at your images, I want you to see something that reflects all the crazy quirks and nuisances that make up your friend. Does your dog sit and stare off into the distance like a stoic dog food model? If Yes, SWEET. My job will be easy. If he’s anything but a “typical” model, even better. I want to capture all those quirks and chaos that define your pet.
No animal is the same, and even more unique is our bond with them. I go into every situation ready to learn about your friend and deliver you something as unique as your story.
But My Dog is TOO Crazy for a Pet Session, You Say
Before any photo session, I will take the time to find about your pet and any concerns you might have. This will help us pick the best environment to have the shoot.
Most of the time, a park works excellent. Dogs will be dogs. That includes barking, jumping, panting, NOT looking at the camera, and a lot of chaos. I’m ready for it. All you need to do is relax, and I will keep up.
If you’re really concerned, want to leave them off-leash, or have a more intimate feel, we can always do an at-home session. These work great for catching a pet in their environment and often produce some stellar shots.
Consider Being in the Photo Too
Your pet is one half of your story, and I can absolutely tell a lot of that story with only them. However, I want you to consider being in a photo or two or 20 as well. You don’t have to put them on social media, and I won’t share them, but I hope you consider taking part.
Something as simple as catching them staring at you, an image of you running down the trail with them by your side, lying at your feet, or simply a touch on the head speaks volumes to your story. I sincerely hope you consider taking part.
When an animal enters our life, they begin to change our story with a connection beyond words. What would it look like if I could capture that for you?
…and what if we can put that story into a photobook or series of images to hang on the wall? A way to help continue on with this story long after they cross the rainbow bridge.
I hope I’ve made my case why pet photography matters
I always say take the photos today you want to have tomorrow. This sentiment started from my connection with animals and the deep understanding of love and loss that accompanies them.
My hope is that this post will encourage you to document your story; However, that looks. If you’re interested in finding out more about a pet session with me, you can contact me here or drop me an email at email@example.com
If you have a favorite pet memory, please share it here. I love connecting with people over animals. It’s kind of my jam.
If you’re interested in a few more awesome stories about dogs check out Backup! He’s one of my favorites. – Backup’s Story
MB – You Washington State photographer, serving people and their pets as they do life together.
P.S. Be sure to signup below for my monthly newsletter where you can get tips and tricks for capturing your own adventures with your pet and early access to my shoot dates.