Deborah Green has been a member of MySmelly for a few months now, and we immediately noticed her pictures were fantastic! We wanted to know more about what it is like to work and take pictures of pets:

Q - How did you come about being a pet photographer and how long have you been doing it?
I’ve always loved the artistic process. Photographing my family memories is something I’ve done throughout the years. I started scrapbooking in the early 1990’s. With the advent of digital cameras, I started creating digital slide shows. Around 2005, my husband started a small community alley-cat trap-and-release organization. I took pictures of the cats for a promotional. I found I loved photographing animals more than anything else and decided to focus on four-legged subjects. I can photograph other subjects but usually do that for personal projects.

Q - Do you consider it a challenging job? How do you get the animals to stay and "pose" for you?
It can be physically challenging at times, yes. I move around with the animal. It can be more of a challenge working with the pet owner “trying to help” than working with the animal alone. The owner can unknowingly be a distraction to the pet and compromise the best shots.
I prefer not to try to force the animal to “sit” and “stay”. For a few shots, it’s fine if they can do that. But I try to find other ways to capture the essence of the animal just being itself. Each one has different things that motivate them to cooperate and do what I want. It could be a treat, a key word or two, a toy, or noisemaker. Much of the time I don’t try to pose my subjects, but let just them be themselves and position myself to capture the images in the best light.

Q- You really manage to capture the character and spirit of each animal, what's your secret?
I ask the owner a bit about their beloved pet and their relationship with them.
I like to try to get a variety of images in different settings when possible. I get down on their eye level and within the mix of images, get at least a few of the animal looking straight into the lens.

Q - You also collaborate with an animal sanctuary called A Chance For Bliss, tell us a little about that.
I can’t remember how I stumbled on this wonderful animal sanctuary. I spent time at A Chance For Bliss one day during one of their monthly open house events to photograph some of the four-legged residents and put together a little promotional slide show which they wanted to use in their live presentations to various groups in the area.
They provide senior and special needs animals a chance to live out the rest of their lives in a blissful place. These are animals that typically no one wants due to costly medical needs, old age or maybe their owner has passed away and no one can take them. This is a huge life-time commitment on the part of the founders. They have a variety of about 80 animal farms animals as well as about 20 dogs and a few cats they care for until the animal passes on.
Anyone can sponsor one of the animals for as little as $10 per month. This helps support the ongoing costs to house the residents, fund the sanctuary operations and care for the animals that have urgent medical needs and those in the final stages of life.
More information can be found here: A Chance For Bliss Sponsor Program

Target, looking for a permanent home.
Q - Do you have any pets of your own? And what is your favourite animal?
I currently have one cat at home named Bebe. She’s very camera shy, so I currently only have a few images of her.
I’d have to say, my favorite animal is a dog. I had a loveable Italian Greyhound named Niles up until about four years ago. When he was about twelve, it became evident that several of his maladies had finally affected his quality of life enough to the point where I had to put him down. I miss him dearly.

I’d encourage pet owners to have good photos of their pet taken at least a few times during their life. It’s heartache when they’re gone, but a blessing to have fond memories of them to cherish.

Click here if you'd like to see more of Deborah's images on MySmelly, or go to her Four Feet Fotos website.