Alexa Nahas’ holiday dog portraits will make you go awwww. This local photographer works her camera magic for East Falls dog lovers THIS WEEKEND at Little White Dog and Liberty Vet.
Pet photography is more than just a camera and a bunch of pet toys. Believe us, we’ve tried our hand at dog photography and it requires some ninja-like reflexes, dog whisperer mojo, and a whole lot of patience. Oh and a high tolerance for nose prints on your lens.
No, your best bet is to leave it to the pros, like local photographer Alexa Nahas. We chatted with her recently about the secret to good pet photos, how she got into pet photography, and what she loves about being behind the lens.
What’s the most difficult thing about photographing dogs?
Finding out what gets a dog’s attention. Every one is different. You have to take the time to find out what they’re like. Some are high energy and just go crazy while others will be so laid back it takes some work to get them interested. But every one has their own personality and you have to figure that out before you can get a really good photograph.
Any Secrets to Getting the Perfect Shot?
Well you need lots of toys, props, and high quality treats for starters, but it really comes down to a willingness to really work for a good shot. I spend a lot of time in my sessions crawling around or laying on the floor trying to figure out what works best for that particular dog. Also, it helps to improvise – I just recently had a shoot where some of my toys broke. I was working with a lab/pointer mix, so I started making quacking noises. He loved it — looked straight into the camera every time I did it.
How did you get into pet photography?
It happened by accident really. I started out as a family portrait and wedding photographer years ago because I really loved documenting special moments in people’s lives – getting engaged or married or raising a family. And pets are a logical part of those special times because they’re family. For some people without children, they are the kids.
Of course getting my own dog Bear also helped. I had so much fun taking pics of him that it occurred to me one day that I could make a living from it. I also started getting photo requests for my neighbors’ dogs when I’d meet them at the Reservoir with Bear.
What’s the deal with the holiday pet photo sessions?
I do photo sessions all year round – but Christmas is the busiest time, which makes sense. Pet photos make the best Christmas cards!
When I first started taking holiday photos, it was at a local chain store, but I’m more of a hyperlocal person so I started looking locally and that’s when I found Liberty Vet Clinic and Little White Dog Daycare. They’re great spots to make neighborhood connections and it helps the community. I also contribute 10% of the shoot proceeds to local pet pantries or rescues. My favorite is “Citizens for a No-Kill Philadelphia.”What can people expect when they sign up for a session?
Each one is about 20 minutes. They’re just photos of the animals, not the owners. And clients can get anything from a simple, classic shot to one with tons of props.
Basically it’s me getting to know the dog a bit and then crawling around on the floor to get his attention. When it’s over I’m usually covered with fur and a good bit dirtier, but I love it.
Pet Photo Shoot and Open House
Schedule your pet photo session this Saturday at Little White Dog Daycare (Noon-5PM) or Sunday at Liberty Vet Clinic (10AM-3PM).
On Sunday, you’re invited to hang out afterward for the Liberty Vet Clinic Open House. Raffle prizes, pet swag, food, and drink.
Liberty Vet Clinic
8919 Ridge Avenue