The Right Place at the Right Time...

If you have a general interest in photography, I'm sure you've heard the above phrase. And if I"m being totally honest, it is true in some cases. Depending on the genre of photography you are practicing, such as wildlife or street photography, being in the right place at the exact right moment can give you an award-winning image. However, the other half of that equation is that you need to have acquired the photography skills necessary to capture that one-in-a-million, moment in time.

dachshund running in a field of Texas bluebonnets

The Art of Photography Needs Continual Study and Practice

I didn't start out of college wanting to be a professional pet photographer. In fact, I didn't even pick up a camera until my late 20s. Even then, I didn't get caught by the proverbial "photography bug" until a few years later. But once I did, the first thing that became evident is that photography is much, much more than luck and being in the right place at the right time. It takes knowledge and skill — and developing those skills is a lifelong process. If you are truly dedicated to the craft of photography and improving your craft, then that takes knowledge, practice, learning, experimenting, and more practice.

vermillion flycatcher
prairie dog
banana spider

Wildlife Photography vs Dog Photography

Animal photography in particular requires a lot of skill — and it's not limited to just understanding your camera and how it works. Birds, mammals, insects, reptiles - each animal group takes study to understand their natural behavior and the habitat they live in. Once you have a good understanding of how all those elements work together, you are able to put yourself in a position to be in the right place at the right time to capture that amazing photo.

Pet photography is much different but requires no less learning and study. As a professional pet photographer, I am constantly studying and learning new techniques to hone my skills and ultimately use those skills to provide my clients with the best possible images I can. I'm that person who stays up late not watching Netflix but reading photography books or watching photography YouTube videos. And it's not just pet photography, I also like learning from other photography niches such as food and macro photography. But no matter how much technical knowledge I have, I wouldn't be able to create beautiful images without also understanding pet behavior. As your photographer, I need to intimately understand the subtle cues that your dog or horse is displaying, such as signs of stress, fatigue, or nervousness. To do that, I read more books, and take more classes like Pet CPR and dog training seminars. I love learning and all of this equates to creating a stress-free and enjoyable experience for you and your pet.

dog sitting on oak tree in Brazos Bend State Park at sunset

When you hire me as your pet's photographer, you're not just getting someone who understands the exposure triangle and the dynamic range of a Nikon camera. You're getting someone who is a constant student of animal behavior. I come armed to every photo session with technical and behavioral knowledge - and use this to understand and communicate with your dog or horse even though we've not met in person before. Together, all these add up to creating magical portraits that you will love for a lifetime. Ready to get started? Let's jump on the phone for a quick chat!

This blog is part of a pet photography blog circle featuring artists from around the world. This month, the topic is "luck". Next up is Marie Wulfram of Marie Wulfram Photography in Tacoma, Washington, reminds you why it's best to always keep your pets safely on leash, even with a perfect recall.