A dose of puppy love to get your week started off right.
The latest goings-on in the pet industry, summarized below:
37 Genius Dog Hacks That Every Pet Parent Needs To Know.
The Pet Business Profiles: Serenah Photography.
Robyn Arouty Captures a Dog’s Last Day.
Charlotte Reeves Photography Released an e-Book.
30 Things Only Dog Owners Understand.
A dog lover her entire life, my next pet business profile candidate traded in her graphic design career almost a decade ago and turned her newly acquired DSLR lens on her dogs Rocco and Ralph (and now Simon!). Flash forward 7 years later and she’s now the award-winning photographer behind Serenah Photography – whose photos always capture your attention for their humor and whimsy.
Serenah’s pups are always up for fun so I wanted to learn more about this Brisbane-based photographers endeavors into the field. Learn how she got up and running, overcame the loss of a beloved dog, and her creative process and much more.
What was your first job out of college?
What is your background? How did you start Serenah Photography?
I am a trained Graphic Designer and have always had an interest in visual communication. Strangely, I never had a desire to become a photographer. It all started around 7 years ago because I wanted to photograph my dogs away on holiday. I walked into a store and bought my first entry level DSLR. I was enjoying the quality of the photos and also the relationship I was capturing with Rocco (Bullmastiff) and Ralph (Dachshund) it grew into what my work is all about today.
I see your dogs are a major part of what you do. Can you tell us more about them and how they’ve influenced your work?
My work is all about my dogs. Rocco (now passed) was my muse and how I learnt photography. He was so patience with me and my camera. With him and Ralph I wanted to develop a style of pushing a different kind of personality from Pet Photography. I experimented with more creative concepting with wanting to create humorous stories. Sadly I lost Rocco abut 4 years ago and to fill that empty void in my heart I got Simon (the Bulldog). My dogs are my biggest influence. They and their quirky personalities inspire images. I try to bring this to life for everyone to enjoy. Rocco the giant proud and stoic Bullmastiff but would do anything for me even if it involved wearing a strange wig. Ralph is a perfectionist who loves attention and Simon is a camera addict who wants to be in every shot because he loves to ham things up. All of them are pure comedy and make me laugh on a daily basis.
What are some tactics you use to engage the animal and capture its personality?
For me, personality in a picture doesn’t have to be ears forward and head tilts. Personality is looking for something different in expression/eyes and learning to capture it for a certain image I’m after. I’m patience and I make sure my shoots are fun. I encourage my dogs with a lot of praise and treats. It is all about making sure they are enjoying the process.
Any moments you’ll always remember?
I will always remember Rocco and Ralph. They had this incredible relationship and bond that started this world of mine. I will never forget visions of Ralph licking up Rocco’s slingers. Ralph was so proud of his big friend and Rocco, well he just put up with Ralph because he had too.
Can you tell us more about running your business? What do you do behind the scenes?
I’m always working in my business and probably a bit of a work-a-holic with it. I’m constantly thinking of concepts and shooting when I can. I just want to create images and shoot and at times I have to remember to run the other side and look after “the business”. I do try to create a balance with family vs photography, as sometimes I get so fixated on my art.
What tips would you give those who want to creatively photography their pet?
First and most importantly is “safety”. No image, likes or shares are worth risking your pets well being. Keep it fun and make sure your subject is enjoying the camera.
What qualities does it take to be a successful pet photographer?
Having a passion for what you do. Photograph things you really care about and interest you, not things you feel you ought to. Photograph them in the way you feel is right and not the way you think you ought to. I try not to follow too many other Pet Photographers to avoid subconsciously copying or influence.
Create a style recognisable to you. Decide what that creative edge is and nail it. Sometimes it takes a lot of experimenting to figure that out and those mistakes along the way will probably become your most powerful pieces.
Accepting criticism. This is my favourite quote “To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing”. Don’t let negative comments or personalities hold you back. Haters will be haters and remember not everyone will like what you do and then there is an element of jealousy. Ignore these people and focus on the ones who are supportive and positive.
What does the future of Serena Photography look like?
Firstly, is releasing my first book “Dogservations” in September with PQ Blackwell. I’m so excited about this book. It is so full of love and joy. I also want to concentrate on licensing more work worldwide. But most of all I just want to keep shooting and creating.
If your dog only had days to live, how would you want them to live out those last moments? A friend of pet photographer Robin Arouty, based in Texas, had the idea to document her lab, Duke’s, last day – a day filled with love and happiness.
Jordan, the black lab’s owner, adopted Duke three years ago. Shortly after her first child turned one, Duke was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of bone tumor. Duke underwent surgery to remove his leg, as well as a successful chemotherapy regimen. Not long after, though, Duke was diagnosed with hemngiosarcoma. With the tumor growing rapidly, the family began running out of options…
Robin capture Duke’s final moments. Duke ate hamburgers; he frolicked in a water park; he spent the day surrounded by the ones he loved most.
This heartfelt series of photos not only makes the pain of letting go alittle easier but opens up the opportunity of pet owners to share stories of their beloved pets that have passed.
Learn more about the photographer Robin Arouty here.
Charlotte Reeves recently released Fetching Photos, the ultimate guide to creative on-location natural light dog photography. Whether you’re new to pet photography or want to brush up on your technique, this 97 page e-book is chock full of beautiful photos, helpful advice, and handy techniques and testimonials. I’m of the opinion there’s always different ways of doing things and lessons to be learned so this is a great addition to any photographer’s library (or those just interested in pet photography, too!).
Check out some of Charlotte Reeve’s work below!Charlotte Reeves Photography
Purchase Fetching Photos here.