I have such an affinity with photographers and if you have been following MiddleMe, you’ll realize that I have interviewed a handful of them. Maybe because their jobs are so similar to mine – creative and freelancing. While I create with my words, they capture with their lens.
Here is another wonderful and talented photographer who specialized in product and one of the most difficult subjects of all, pets!
Thank you, Amanda for accepting this interview. It is my honor to have this opportunity to understand what your job entails and provide others a peek into your working world so maybe someone can learn something from your experience.
Once again, thank you for being generous in sharing your story with us!
Please introduce yourself and where are you from?
I’m originally from Missouri, but have lived in the Orlando, Florida area for the last 12 years.
I understand that you are a Pet Photographer. This is unique. How and why do you choose to focus on pets?
My love for pet photography was inspired by my Aunt who loves to dress up her dogs and cats in holiday costumes. Since I love pets so much, I have adopted 6 rescue cats into my heart and home.
Blessed your generous heart for adopting 6 rescue cats. Tell us, how do you become a photographer? Any relevant degree you need to hold? Skillsets?
I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Photography with a double minor in Art and Graphic Design from Central Missouri State University. I also teach Photoshop and Photography classes and give private photography lessons at a local camera store. But you don’t need a degree to become a photographer, you just need a great portfolio, experience, and knowledge.
What are the differences in photographing pets versus people/objects?
I enjoy creating scenes with both pets and products. I have lots of props for the holiday such a Christmas poinsettias pumpkins, Santa hats, Easter eggs, roses and lots more.
With pets, you can suggest where you want them to pose, but you have to work with where they want to be. Sometimes I hide the human parents under the background and have the shy pets sit on top of them.
Please share with us any interesting stories or people you have encountered at work?
I love photographing pet and baby’s first birthday cake smashes. They are so much fun. I have learned that it’s best to photograph them on the white background paper so that after the fun photo shoot, I can just tear off the paper and roll up the mess and throw it into a trash can. Colorful cake icing does stain fabric backgrounds, so the disposable white paper background works best to protect and be easy to clean.
What gives you joy as a pet photographer?
Photographing my cats makes me happy and them too. I wish I had a little dog too, but I don’t think my 6 cats would be too happy with that.
Do you have difficult clients? How do you handle them?
Just keep repeating the answer. Such as for the pet photo special I run at events. It is good for an 8×10, 4×6, and 8 wallets of their ONE favorite pose. They can’t have each wallet be a different image. It’s a value package to give them a bunch of photos of their ONE favorite pose.
What is the career prospect of this job? And what do you see yourself doing in five years down the path?
The photography business is constantly changing, so I’m not sure what my next focus will be. I have lots of ideas, such as I would love to create a DIY cat and dog toy book.
When I went to college digital was just starting to become popular and it was a great time to start learning the new digital technologies. Now there seems to be more focus on video or a combination of both photography and video.
What do you think is lacking in the industry nowadays for photographers like yourself?
I work part-time at a local camera store restoring old photos and helping customers choose the right photography equipment for them. I also teach Photoshop and photography classes to help educate photographers.
What does passion mean to you? Are you pursuing your passion aggressively?
Pets and photography are both my passion and I love that I can combine them.
If you are not a pet photographer, what do you think you could have become?
Graphic Designer. I started going to college for graphic design with a minor in photography but changed it to focus on photography with a minor in graphic design since I love photography, but then also enjoy editing the images.
My favorite type of product to photograph is pet products. I have photographed dog beer, cat wine, pet shampoo, kitty litter, pet supplements, pet pillows, dog toys, natural catnip and Valerian root cat toys and lots more But I also photograph lots of other types of products such as shoes, beauty products, food, hats, fidget spinners, jewelry, and lots more.
I also sell pet products at events and online. https://squareup.com/market/a-style-photography