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How to Choose a Pet Photographer

Oh Dog! Today I want to talk about pet photography. I’m betting more than one of you have humans that have thought about having professional portraits made of their pets. Maybe they’re like Jen. She says she’s often thought of having professional portraits made of me, but I’m not the best-behaved dog in the world and she didn’t want to waste the photographer’s time and not get quality photos of me.

So today I’m talking to professional photographer Abe Ortiz of Lafmil Photography about what folks like Jen should look for in finding a good pet photographer.

I first met Abe through DDRTX Puppy Mill Spokesdog Rainbow Diamond. Abe has taken some amazing portraits of her!

Abe has been a photography afficionado for over 12 years. He’s been in business for over 2 of those years and providing folks with portraits. His specialty at LAFMIL Photography is just that, portraits. Anything from Pet portraiture, to Graduates/Seniors, Models, and of course Bridal, Engagement, and Wedding portraiture. Abe is based in San Antonio, but he is mobile, and will travel anywhere if the price is right.

The photos posted here today are those Abe has taken professionally.

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Rumpy: Abe, thanks so much for being here today!

Abe: I love it Rump! Let’s do this !;)

Rumpy: Here’s a question I imagine lots of humans asking themselves: I see great photos made of well-trained dogs, but my dogs are not well-trained. What do I look for in a photographer?

Abe: Well, it’s not the dog that is well-trained, it is the photographer. See, I have to be extremely patient to be able to get the shot that I am looking for. I just wait and the pup will eventually show his/her personality and I snap it as soon as I see it. You want to look at the photographer’s past work and check to see if the pictures all look the same (i.e. in a studio, same background, same poses etc) or if they are artistic and getting unique shots and especially shots of the pup and their personality. You don’t want someone who will be “Wal-mart” style and just do one look, same thing over and over…just plain blah >:P

Rumpy: I’ve seen lots of pet photos on Facebook, including those taken by professionals. Some are great! And some…. well, not so much. So Abe, what in your opinion makes a good pet photo?

Abe: A good pet photo is one where you are drawn into it. A shot that you don’t just look at and say “Oh that’s pretty”, or “Oh that’s a good picture”. You want to see who the pet is, again, their personality. You want to see beautiful images that make you go “AWWWWWW” or “Oooooh, that is an AWESOME picture” or “How did you get that shot/ get the (pet) to do that?” . Those are the responses that measures a “good pet photo.”

Rumpy: Some pet parents who may be thinking of getting their pet(s) photo taken professionally may wonder what to expect. Is there anything you think potential clients should know or do before showing up for a photo shoot?

Abe: Really, not much. All I ask is that they let their pet be themselves, don’t make them out to be the perfect pet they really aren’t. And maybe have a couple of ideas of what kind of portrait they would like or are looking for. I’ll do my best to capture it. Usually works out beautifully in the end. :)

Rumpy: What questions should I ask a photographer when deciding who to use?

Abe: Most important…do they have pets, especially the pet that you live with. It would not matter how good a photographer he/she is, they could be a Master Photographer with a Nobel Peace Prize for taking the pic of Lassie saving Timmy from the well, if they don’t know the subject they are capturing…walk away. They will not know what to see when they are looking through the lens. And ultimately, they will not capture your pet as the pet they are.

Then, you want to ask the basic questions, how long they have been shooting (professionally), how much they charge per session/print/package/cd, how long will the session take (my session is pretty unlimited as I wait to wrap up only after I have captured everything the pet gives me), do you need to bring anything. Also, ask them who they are. Not just who they are as in “Oh, I’m John Smith photographer”, who they are as a person. Get to know them as a person, if they shut down and clam up, you probably have the wrong person. Ultimately, if they really are good, they will want to get to know you because that is part of what makes the shot. Knowing who you are and what you like so that they can capture that for you.

Rumpy: That makes sense. It also develops a working relationship that can be beneficial for both of you. What else would you add?

Abe: Make sure that you get a good “vibe” from the photographer you eventually choose to make your portraits. Actually, that goes for any photographer and the style that you are looking for. If the photographer is crabby, has a bad attitude, doesn’t have what some might call “the social skills”…what kind of pic do you think they will produce for you?

Also, just do your homework and research your photographer…if you have seen their past work and are completely in love with what they produce, chances are you will be in love with the shots they give you of your fur kiddo. Also, if you do love what they give you and the experience they provided, let your other friends know, let your family know…help your photog out and keep them in mind when you need more pics taken too! ;)

We are on Facebook at facebook.com/lafmilphoto, on Twitter @lafmilphoto and our website at lafmilphotography.com. We can be reached at either our FB page or via email. And, just for fun, you can read our blogs at lafmil.blogspot.com…this week, we posted some funny photos. ;)

Rumpy: Abe, thanks so much! This is some great advice for all our pet parents out there!

About Rumpy's Kitty Siblings

I'm Jen, caregiver to the late, great Rumpydog and now to some rather pesky kitties. You can follow us on Twitter - @FineMellowFella and @HissyFitJones. And don't forget to LIKE our Facebook pages! Thanks!


18 thoughts on “How to Choose a Pet Photographer

  1. Another great post! Thank you Rumpy and Abe.

    Posted by Bassas Blog | August 25, 2011, 1:21 AM
  2. I wouldn’t smile

    Posted by Gordon | August 25, 2011, 2:43 AM
  3. I really enjoyed this post, nice one Rumpy. I hope I don’t get a portrait done because I might have to endure an extra bath. Also I think the camera would need a very fast shutter speed if they want to catch meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

    Posted by bonesdiary | August 25, 2011, 4:11 AM
  4. Yes, I really agree with the ideas Abe was talking when we, Dogs and Cats, are taken photos by Photographer. The photos that Abe took are all beautiful and very natural! Those dogs seem to be enjoying the each scene.
    I also love all of your photos, DeDe’s and Kitties’ very much, Rumpy because they are speaking photos! 🙂

    Posted by eripanwkevin | August 25, 2011, 9:16 AM
  5. Very nice interview Rumpy

    Posted by Louie | August 25, 2011, 12:40 PM
  6. Thanks Rumpy. You’re a lot smarter than I am. I only have funny looking pictures on my blog. zeppothedog.com

    Posted by billypollina | August 25, 2011, 7:41 PM
  7. Have indeed thought about getting my pups photographed – useful advice! Thanks for stopping by my blog too!

    Posted by Eva | August 27, 2011, 12:37 PM
  8. Very nice photos indeed. Good pet photography advice, too.

    Posted by Frenchie Maintenance Supervisor | October 2, 2011, 9:19 PM
  9. Awesome post, Rumpy!!!
    Abe knows his stuff. His images are absolutely wonderful. They really do capture the spirit of those beautiful dogs. I wonder if Abe owns a cat? hehe!

    Posted by Glogirly and Katie | March 29, 2012, 8:55 AM
  10. Rumpy, I really like your post. The pictures that Abe took were awesome and the advice was the best. Thanks for sharing!

    Posted by melissabrown79 | March 29, 2012, 9:11 PM


  1. Pingback: Pet Photographer Basics! « rumpydog - March 29, 2012

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