A Day in the Life of a Dog Photographer

They say that if you smell a baby’s head that you want to have a baby. I smell a baby’s head and I’m dead inside. But I smell puppy paws and everything inside of me just gets all mixed up and crazy. My name is Ellen Shershow, and I’m a two- and four-legged photographer. The very simplest thing that I do is I bring dogs into my studio and I photograph them. What I try and do is find what is special and unique about that dog and I try to bring it out in the photograph. And in my experience, every single dog is different. Their personality is as different as any human being. So a lot of it is just like sort of observing them and seeing how they react. I might bark like a dog or I might meow like a cat or make different squeaky noises with toys and see how they react to that. When I first began photographing, when I first began doing this job, the hardest thing for me was asking people for money because it’s such a fun job to do that I thought nobody should get paid for having this much fun. Like, that doesn’t seem fair to all the other jobs in the world. But in fact, a lot of my day is doing other kinds of things – doing marketing, doing the sort of basic admin that it is to run a business. Seventy percent of the time, I’m not actually photographing, I’m doing something else. I think the most important thing about being a pet photographer is patience. I’ve learned that the parents of dogs can be really sensitive to how their dog’s behaving. So I just have to get into that part of myself that is extremely patient because I know I’m going to get what I want from the dog eventually. The end result of what I do, which for me is very important, is to create artwork that can hang in my client’s home, and it can become something that will be around for the next 20, 30, 40, 50 years and remind that person of that moment in their dogs life, and by extension, in their life.

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