Things to Consider When Choosing a Pet Photographer

You just adopted a new furry friend and have decided to hire a photographer to take photos of him. How do you know what to look for or what questions are important to ask? Here are a few things to consider when choosing the right photographer for you.

Experience

How experienced is the photographer. Not just as a photographer but in working with animals. The question is not only how long the photographer has been in business, but what experience the photographer has handling the needs of  animals. A photographer who has been photographing weddings and family portraits may be a good photographer, but it is important that the photographer working with your pet understands how to handle your animal properly and make the experience enjoyable for everyone. 

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Patience

It is important that a pet photographer is able to give the animal whatever it needs to get comfortable during the shoot. Often that means lots of play breaks and working with your pets personality. Your photographer should ask questions about your pets temperament and how to best bring out your pets best qualities.  Some animals need more time to relax than others and a photographer who strictly sets a time limit for the shoot or expects your animal to sit quietly on command is not going to end up with beautiful photos of your pet. Working with a photographer who is relaxed, patient and understands your pets needs will make the whole experience fun.

Style

Take a look at the photographers portfolio and social media platforms. Do you like their photographs? Do you prefer bright and clean backgrounds or do you envision something neutral or dark? Do you like a studio style or prefer locations such as parks or cityscapes? Are you looking for a portrait style photograph or something more editorial, showing your pet running and playing? Are you wanting photos of your fur baby alone or were you hoping to be in the photos as well? Look for the elements that are important to you in a photographers work. If you don’t see photographs that look like what you are hoping to get, you will most likely be disappointed with the end results.

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Budget

I get it. Photography is an investment. Once you decide to make the investment, find a photographer who understands your budget and is up front with you about what things cost. You should be given a full price list early on in the process. There is nothing worse than sticker shock after the photos have been taken and you are in the sales appointment looking at beautiful photos you can’t afford. That being said be honest with the photographer about your budget. Photographers are business owners. We understand that you are working with a budget. Give us a heads up and we can honestly discuss your options when we are planning your session.

Informative

You need to know what to expect of the process. Find a photographer who communicates with you from the start. You should know how much things cost, when you have to pay, how to make an appointment, what to do to prepare for the appointment, what to expect during the shoot, how long it takes before you can view your photographs and how long it takes to receive artwork once you order. It’s important to know what happens next and your photographer should be discussing each step in the process with you.

Connection

Do you like this person? This is the one thing that will really make your pet photography experience a good or bad one. You want to have a good feeling about this person who is working with you and your pet. Be honest with yourself, how do you feel around them.



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Nate, Zeva, Carol and Pete

A couple of months ago I had the pleasure of creating family photos for Nate, Zeva, Carol and Pete and their owners, Sandra and Charles. They wanted an urban feel and colorful backgrounds, so Graffiti Park was the perfect place to do their shoot. All four of these sweethearts are rescues and more than one was a “foster fail.” Charles and Sandra volunteer as fosters for animals needing a place to land after being abandoned and are working on eventually running their own rescue.

The whole family!

The whole family!

As you can imagine, doing a shoot with four dogs and two humans can become chaotic. But, it is chaos that I love to work with! Chloe (my assistant) and I got tons of doggie hugs and kisses and everybody left happy and exhausted! We had a list of photos we hoped to get and ended up getting everything we wanted and more. 

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You may be thinking that it is easy to get photos of dogs who can be trusted to sit quietly off leash in a public space, but the truth is, they were all leashed throughout the entire shoot! Leashes are an absolute necessity when doing location shoots, but they are always removed in post processing so the end result is clean. Are you ready to get family photos with your pets? I do location shoots from October through March (during cooler months) and I am booking those sessions now. Contact me to see when we can schedule your shoot.

Chaos and leashes!

Chaos and leashes!




5 Awesome Places to Take Photos of Your Dog in Houston

You may or may not know that I am in the process of writing a book called Hounds in Houston - Dogs being Dogs in the City. I thought I would share with you a few of my favorite places for photographing dogs that have come from scouting locations for the book. There are a ton of great places in Houston to photograph dogs and, when the book comes out, you can find out all the other spots we photographed in, but here are my top 5:

Jackson and Houston posing on the Mosaic Memory Wall

Jackson and Houston posing on the Mosaic Memory Wall

1. Smither Park - Smither Park (2441 Munger Street) has a ton of color and whimsy. It has plenty of seating areas which are helpful to pose dogs on since it can be a challenge to get down to eye level with some dogs. The Marilyn Oshman Meditation Garden features all white mosaics which gives you the nicest, softest reflected light and makes your dog look like a supermodel. Go on a cloudy day or at sunset for the best light.

Honey poses on one of several bridges

Honey poses on one of several bridges


2. The Japanese Garden in Hermann Park - The Japanese Garden (6100 Hermann Park Drive) is a quiet sanctuary in the middle of Hermann Park. It is beautiful year round, with different plants blooming or showing colors at different times of the year. It has rocks, bridges, a dry river, water features and tons of foliage to act as a backdrop for your photos. Bonus - it's a nice long walk to and from the car, so you can mark “take the dog for a walk” off your list as well! Make sure to check the features just outside the garden. There are wonderful columns, light posts, an ivy covered seating area and a big square “window” that you can pose your furry friend in, on and around. Look for shady spots with interesting backgrounds for the best photos.

Zilker and Lebowski on one of the bench sculptures

Zilker and Lebowski on one of the bench sculptures

3. Discovery Green - Discovery Green (1500 McKinney) is 12 acres of possibility when it comes to photos of your dog. There are two concrete circular sculpted benches near the rose garden that are terrific for posing small dogs on or larger dogs in front of. There are large patchwork colored walls and a heart shaped sculpture that make nice backdrops. The area is green and often has different flowers blooming. The continuously changing art installations give you the opportunity to take photos of your dog with any number of interesting pieces that may soon disappear for good. If your dog is OK with louder fountains, cross over to the large fountain in front of the convention center.

Ford and his Mohawk in front of one of the walls

Ford and his Mohawk in front of one of the walls


4. Graffiti Park - 2102 Leeland is home to an area most Houstonians know as Graffiti Park. It is several blocks of urban street art and is a fun place to do a shoot with your dog. Make sure to walk all the way around so you don’t miss a perfect backdrop for your unique dog. The best time to go is early morning since the area is completely concrete and heats up fast during the day and it can also get crowded with people enjoying the art. Don’t forget about posing your dog on (or under) the stairs that go up the outside of the main building. Bonus - you can sometimes catch an artist working on a new piece.

Bernie looks great in front of the fountain

Bernie looks great in front of the fountain


5.The Dandelion Fountain - The Gus Wortham Memorial Fountain also known as the Dandelion Fountain is on Allen Parkway between Waugh Drive and Montrose in Buffalo Bayou park. The misty fountain offers a gorgeous backdrop for your pet to pose in front of and, if you get the right angle, you can get a watery view of the AIG Tower. If you go around sunset, the fountain looks like it is on fire which adds a stunning element to your photos. Bonus - the dog park and bayou trails are within easy walking distance.