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A significant component of my blog is photography. I spend just as much time taking photos and editing them as I do writing content. I will also go as far as saying that taking pictures of my dog is what got me started with blogging in the first place.
Here are 10 reasons why I think pet photography is so much more than just taking photos.
1. Deepens the Bond With My Dog
Back in 2009, I got my first DSLR camera and started photographing my dachshund, Rocket, as a hobby. I created an Instagram account that exclusively featured him, and in 2017, I started this blog.
Over the years, photography has grown to be a daily activity we both look forward to. It feels like we're just two great friends working on a project together. He loves to make me happy and when I encourage him, he joyfully lights up and wags his tail.
When shooting indoors, he goes to his “spot” as soon as he sees the camera. Whether I am photographing him with a product or wearing a cute bowtie, he is patient and listens to my every command. I keep the mood positive with lots of praise and treats.
Often, my passion for photography brings us on some great adventures together. Rocket and I have traveled all over the country to spectacular destinations. Photography encourages me to get out and see the world. To hike more, to explore more, to love nature more. It's mentally and physically stimulating for both Rocket and I and in turn deepens our connection with each other.
2. Photography Tells a Story
Before I started blogging, I was a professional ballet dancer for 13 years. As performers, we tell a story through movement and artistic expression. Much like dancing, photography allows me to tell a story without saying a word. There is no language barrier. Anyone from anywhere in the world can look at a photo and feel emotion.
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3. Calms the Mind
There is something pure about focusing on the moment, being present and checked-in. When I go out to shoot, I spend time breathing in fresh air, observing my surroundings, and exploring the freedom and creativity the lens provides. It gives me a sense of peace and the energy I need to take on the rest of the day.
Photography has the power to bring people together. As a dog blogger, I try to surround myself with like-minded people. People that share a similar passion—their love for animals. Through photography, I find myself interacting with complete strangers. Upon interacting, I instantly feel connected to them; many of whom I now consider good friends. Whether I am out, talking with other hikers or online chatting with friends on Instagram, the passion for dogs, travel and photography brings us together and I feel an immediate sense of community.
“This community, filled with so many people, is a big part of my life and ultimately makes all of the effort worthwhile.”
5. Creative Outlet
Photography is about the story in the frame, and the perspective I bring to that story. I take time to mix-up my viewpoint. For example, instead of shooting Rocket from eye level, I'll lie upside down on the floor and shoot up at him while he is looking down at me. I look completely strange the whole time, but I'm usually pleasantly surprised by the composition.
It can feel (and look!) totally strange to shoot in unconventional ways, but it is critical to get yourself out of the box and let your creativity flow.
6. A Deeper Understanding of My Dog
There is nothing like some stillness and observation to teach you about something. Hundreds of hours of shooting or back home editing have given me a unique opportunity to check-in to Rocket. We are best friends, and like any good friend, I can guess his moods just by a few small behaviors.
Dogs may not speak our language, but we can certainly learn so much about them if we are willing to pay attention. For any dog lover, this is a gratifying process to go through.
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7. Teaches Me How to See the Little Things
There is beauty everywhere we look, even in the smallest things. Photography has taught me to open my eyes and be more observant. All those little things that give life to our existence. When I'm out shooting photos, I'll be amazed by how many colors and patterns are in a flower. Or the way the wind can shape sandstone into unique formations.
When I'm at home editing photos, I'll notice a new gray hair on Rocket's face. It quickly reminds me of how precious time is and to enjoy every moment.
8. Lets Me Be Myself
Deep down, I'm quiet, shy and a bit introverted. I enjoy connecting with people, but I truly value my alone time. My quiet time. Photography lets me be who I am. I'm free to express myself however I want; there is no one telling me what to do or how to do it.
9. Makes Moments Last Forever
Photography has the ability to keep moments, people and memories alive. Sometimes I make fun of myself for how many pictures I have on my computer. But I know one day, I'll look back and be so thankful I have every single one.
My little Rocket is 10 now. While I wish he could live to be 100, I know his time is limited. Every photo I take, I'm capturing a moment in his life and will forever be able to look back at his journey.
10. Anyone Can Do It
The best thing about taking photos is that anyone can do it. You don't need to go to school or have years of training. You don't even need a nice camera. By now, you know that I believe in the story and each of us has a unique story to share. We all see the world differently. We all have our own style.
In photography, there is no right or wrong photo. The best way to learn your own photographic style is by getting out there and snapping photos. The great news is that with digital film, you can take 5,000 photos just to get the “one” you genuinely love.