If you have a pet, chances are you have scads of pictures of them stored on your phone, or in an actual photo album, old-school-style. Pets are always doing something that’s photo-worthy—even when being naughty. But quantity doesn’t equal quality. It’s better to have a small collection of incredible pet photography that artfully captures your furry friend’s true essence.
Leading the pack with his distinctive style, Shane Patterson is one of Jacksonville’s most sought-after pet photographers. His photog experience—and passion for animals—gives him an unmatched ability to create unique, whimsical pet portraits.
I spoke with Shane to learn what it’s like behind the lens.
Davi: How did you get into the business of photographing pets?
Shane: I’ve been helping my wife with our photography business for years, so it seemed only natural to get behind the camera on my own ventur. Pet photography spoke to me in a way that human portraiture never has.
You really capture the character of each animal. What’s your secret?
A relaxed pet is a photogenic pet! I try to stay calm to make sure the pet won’t feel anxious or afraid. A relaxed pet can be themselves and that will translate on camera.
How do you engage the animal and get just the right shot to show its personality?
Every pet is different, so what works for one might not entice another. Treats work well, and some respond better to toys and noises, but I have to be quick to grab the shot.
What’s the main challenge when you’re working with dogs?
Understanding what makes each dog “tick.” Animals can talk, just not the way we do, so I try to listen in other ways and be patient.
What quality do you need most to be a good pet photographer?
Patience! The perfect shot takes time. When the session doesn’t go as planned, sit back, let the shots come to you. Don’t force them.
Any tips for taking great dog portraits?
Keep it fun and try to catch the dog in their element. Whether they’re energetic and playful or a cuddlebug, the best portraits capture the spirit of the subject.
How do you describe your style?
I like to think of my style as fun and bright while still classic and simple.
What’s your goal for your photography?
My goal is to capture the unique personality of each pet and create amazing photographs to be cherished for all time.
Why should pet parents have professional photos made of their pet?
Simply put, pets are part of the family. Phone photos are fun, but to create important keepsakes, only a professional pet photographer can deliver the quality you want. Once these moments are captured, you’ll have them forever and will have no doubt of their worth.
You don’t have to have a dog or cat to know that taking pet pictures of pets is tricky. It takes time, patience and skill to snap artful images. Folks with a knack for getting such images have a keen eye and a gift—with photography and animals.
Davi the dachshund is never camera-shy—he’s always striking a cute pose!