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Some Thoughts on Pet Photography

93 year old Walter Chandoha made a living by – and became famous for – his cat photography. Cut to 2014, when every cat and dog seems to have their own Instagram account and Facebook page. It’s a new ball game in the 21st Century to stand out as a pet photographer. Chandoha was a man who revolutionized animal photography, and most of us have never heard of him. Here’s your chance to learn about a legend.

“Chandoha, trained in marketing and possessed of a wealth of pet pictures, pitched his images and cheeky copy directly to the art departments of  magazines. With his wife, Maria, serving as animal handler and art director, Chandoha’s first breakthrough was a Christmas-themed portrait of a kitten on the cover of Women’s Home Companion in December 1951. Early success eventually led to national ads for Purina, 9-Lives and even the aerospace industry.” –  David La Spina, The New York Times, 1/2014

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Photograph by Walter Chandoha, National Geographic, 1964

After reading about Chandoha, I reached out to photographer friend Marshall Boprey to learn more about his pet photography career.

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Photograph by Marshall Boprey

Boprey began his career as a pet photographer in 2007, after getting Liberty – his Great Dane. Seeing how quickly Liberty grew “from a mere 16 pounds at eight weeks, to a whopping 120 pounds at 1 year old” Marshall knew that he had to begin documenting her progress. “What a beautiful subject, a loving friend who was there through thick and thin,” says Boprey.

Like Walter Chandoha, it took Marshall some time to hone his craft. Upon moving back to NYC, Marshall began pursuing his passion. Working at Walter’s Pet Styles in Manhattan, there was an endless amount of dogs coming through the doors – additional inspiration and subject matter for him to use. He started small, with holiday mini session photo shoots, and eventually grew to private sessions and events. (See photos from our 2013 Dog Dash here). Liberty just celebrated her seventh birthday, and later this year will mark Boprey Photography’s seventh year in business in New York City.

“This is not to say that getting these amazing shots is easy work! Plenty of treats, and different toys are on hand at all times. Some animals can be very shy, while some open up for the camera right away. The best trick of all is love and patience. Treating a dog or cat as a friend, rather than a subject is a surefire way to get them to be confident and calm during a photo session.”

Good photography is what makes adoption and animal rescue as successful as it can be.

With incredible photographers like Marshall of Boprey Photography, Lisa of Deeogee, Robyn of Muttography, Leslie of Leda Photography, Kimberly of Eardog Productions, and Classic Kids Photography, the world is a better place. All of these studios and photographers have helped Foster Dogs NYC over the years, and we are thrilled to work with them in saving as many shelter dogs as possible!

classic kids photography photo shoot erin

Want to be get better photos of your foster dog, or just hang up some nice new portraits of your own dogs? Hire a professional, or try it out yourself! Emily Wang of The BarkPost has some useful tips for upping your game.

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And of course, there’s always this (via BarkPost):

Share with us your ways to get a good photo. There’s millions of tips, and we’ve got doggy foster parents out there who would love to hear them!

 

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