In her recently released book, Pet Photography: The Secrets to Creating Authentic Pet Portraits, Norah Levine guides aspiring pet photographers along the journey of pet photography for profit or for pleasure. This Austin, Texas-based fine artist and pet portrait photographer has been published in a number of publications, and she’s instructed at Santa Fe Photographic Workshops in New Mexico and online at CreativeLive.com.
“The pets in my life inspired me to become a pet photographer,” Norah said. She has two dogs, Otis and Mika, and three cats, RC, Fuego and Mr. Grizzle. “All of my pets are featured in the book, of course!” Otis, a black Bullmastiff/Labrador Retriever mix, is featured on the cover.
In the book, Norah teaches everything about pet photography, from the gear needed (including squeaky toys!) and how to use them, to how to shoot on location, to directing and posing animals and their people, to lighting and photo composition. “This book,” said Norah, “covers certain challenges, successes, tips, tricks, checklists, dos and don’ts that I’ve learned and created over the years.”
An excerpt from Pet Photograph. Photography by Norah Levine/Excerpt from Pet Photography.
An entire chapter is dedicated to working with nonprofits because, Norah said, “animal welfare has been a huge part of my life.” In addition to donating a portion of all of her business — her portraits, fine art and this book — to animal welfare causes, she co-founded The Lifelines Project.
The Lifelines Project uses portrait photography and audio to document the bond between the homeless and the pets that provide them with companionship, protection and emotional and psychological well-being. The proceeds from the project go to Emancipet, a nonprofit that provides veterinary services (including spay/neuter) for pets in underserved communities, like the homeless. “I am incredibly proud of the impact the work has had on the awareness of the subject matter,” Norah said.
Pet photography has expanded Norah’s world and opened her heart. She said, “It has been incredibly rewarding.” And with Pet Photography, you can learn the tricks of this rewarding trade, too.
Cassandra Radcliff-Mendoza is a writer and editor based out of Orange County, California, and contributes regularly to Dogster and Catster magazines. She is also the Managing Editor of Dogs in Review.