Easily the cutest trend to come out of pandemic life, puppies hit headlines like never before this past year. With our routines upended, plenty of time at home, and a general need for comfort in these chaotic times, dog adoption rates boomed — humane societies, breeders, and rescue groups couldn’t keep up with the demand.
On the front lines is photographer Sam Rowe, who became accredited as a pet photographer this past July. “I’ve had cats and dogs my entire life, but it wasn’t until my first dog, Chili, passed away unexpectedly that I understood the value and importance of photographing our pets.” Rowe got into pet photography to help other “pet parents” avoid that mistake and because she loves spending time with animals.
Rowe usually takes dogs to a place they love, such as a neighbourhood park, to photograph them in action. However, some people want a regal-looking shot of their furry companion. “The staying still is the tricky part!” says Rowe with a laugh. “In my photo shoots, we go in with ideas, but I let the dog decide what we do.” (And Photoshop helps — in some cases, people holding the leash have been digitally removed.)
For new dog owners or those looking to up their pet portrait game, Rowe suggests getting as low as you can. “A lot of the time I’m lying in the dirt. People will stare, and I can hear them thinking, What is this lady doing?” She’ll also try barking to get their attention. “Sometimes I get bowled over, but it’s just a hazard of the job.”