I love photography and I love dogs, so dog photography has always sounded like a dream job to me. Knowing how hard it can be to get a good photo of my dog though, I admire people who can really do it well. I recently came across local photographer Brittany Graham of Brittany Graham Photography and fell in love with her photos. Brittany has a great eye for capturing the bond between humans and their dogs.
I reached out to Brittany to find out what it’s like to be a dog photographer. Check out my Q&A below for some dog photography tips and the answer to the age old question: who’s easier to photograph – dogs or cats? (and a special offer!).
What got you interested in photography?
When I was 12, my uncle gave me my grandfathers’ Canon AE-1. I quickly became obsessed with photographing the everyday moments, everyone and anything around me. As for how it came to be that my main focus is Pet Photography, it was more of an obvious transition than a decision. I have three of my own pets and my everyday life seems to revolve around them – their quirks, their routine, the unconditional love that fills our home. It came so naturally to capture and document all of that, and I realized how many people miss or overlook such an opportunity.
Do you have a favorite breed of dog to photograph?
Yes and no. Mutts are my favorites. I love photographing dogs who remind me of cartoon characters – Boston Terriers, Pugs, Italian Greyhounds, Great Danes, etc. Dogs with strong features. Then there are the breeds that always look regal – Golden Retrievers, Labs, Border Collies, Boxers. However, what I love most is photographing a really great bond. I always encourage owners to participate in the shoot as well. There is nothing like capturing the love between human and dog. The cliché of unconditional love never fails, so in the end, I don’t care what the breed is, I just want it to be a family affair.
What are some of your favorite locations in Cleveland to take dog photos?
This is a tough question. I LOVE a great urban landscape with a lot of texture such as the flats or Little Italy. With that said, dogs can be tricky and what I envision as a great location may end up being a nightmare if the dog is uncomfortable. I try to pick locations where the dog will comfortable and happy, so my favorite locations are those in which I can capture a pet as the owner sees them, such as their own environment or a familiar park.
Which are easier to photograph – kids or dogs? Dogs or cats?
Kids or Dogs? It depends on the parents (this goes for parents of kids AND dogs) 😉 I can never stress enough, either way, to allow the main stars to be themselves. Dogs or Cats? Hmmmmm…. It depends on the specific cats and specific dogs. Spastic dogs are tricky as they require a lot of patience. Cats, well, cats do their own thing. Some cats couldn’t care less that I’m there. Some won’t come out of the closet. In general, I do think cats are more photogenic.
What are your tips for getting a great photo of your dog?
Get to their level. Don’t “bark” commands at them. Have fun, get dirty, and bring a lot of treats.
Tell us about your pet(s). Do they like to have their photo taken?
Petey is a 6 year old boxer. He is the alpha in the house and is far too busy to bother himself with posing for the camera. Either he is incredibly bored by me and the camera by now or he thinks the camera lens is a pointer – if I point it at him, he turns to see what is behind him.
Tank is a 3 year old boxer (maybe boxer mix – we aren’t sure). He is a ham. He is by far the quirkiest dog I have ever met in my life and for that, I love photographing him. But, he takes the same role as his alpha leader and walks away from the camera.
Seamus (Shay-mus) is a 7 month old ginger tabby. He loves the camera – or at least he doesn’t turn away. He is very intrigued when I pull the camera out, though I’m sure in due time, he too will become bored with it.
Do you have any funny pet stories from photo shoots?
Every shoot leads to funny stories, that is the beauty of being a pet photographer. More specifically, probably my favorite story was the time I was photographing a chocolate lab who got out of the car, saw a mud puddle, casually walked over to it, laid down, rolled around a few times and decided it was nap time. That was it. He wouldn’t move from that puddle. It was a short session.
Do you have a favorite pet photo shoot you’ve done?
Each shoot I do becomes my new favorite! I feel like I learn something new from each session, almost like an “A HA” moment, which makes me want to run back to the studio and immediately start going through the images.
Brittany is offering a special for readers: Mention this blog and get a $200 gift certificate for $100 (one per reader/family/session). Offer good through December 15th.
Brittany is also the official photographer of the Lakewood Animal Shelter and for Darwin Dogs, a dog trainer in the Cleveland area. In addition to pet photography, Brittany also does weddings and family photo shoots. Visit her website at http://brittany-graham.com