Many of us are familiar with the frustration of trying to pose a family for formal pictures.
Try doing the same thing with a group of family pets.
Courtney Haney, owner of In Home Pets, recognized an open market for pet photography in Spokane and started a business to fill the void.
Haney says she’s always been interested in photography, although she never considered it a serious pursuit until she took her first photography class at Eastern Washington University a few years ago.
“I always had a camera in my hand for the last day of school or camp or any other important day,” says Haney. “I learned that from my mom, who has always had a camera around.”
Haney says the artistic training she received at EWU has been invaluable to her success as a photographer.
“Photography is an interesting mix between the artistic and scientific worlds,” she says. “You have to be a creative, flexible and adaptive person to be able to take interesting photographs, but you must also be technically competent.”
Haney also received training from her father-in-law, who worked for Lifetouch School Photography for quite a few years. She also worked for the retail portrait studio at J.C. Penney.
The few animals she saw during her time at JC Penney were “overstimulated and frantic,” says Haney.
Haney says she has always loved animals and has found animal photography to be quite rewarding. She has also learned some lessons along the way. “I have been photographing my cats for along time, so I was used to trying to be surreptitious while following animals,” she says. “But now, having taken pictures of animals not used to the camera, I’ve had to learn how to get the animal as comfortable as possible with me and my equipment as quickly as possible.”
“It also helps if you’re taking pictures of puppies,” she adds.
Haney likes to take pictures of animals in action. Some trained animals can sit still and pose, but Haney never counts on that.
“Every shoot I do, I fully expect to be on my hands and knees or flat on my belly to get a cat as they look at me from under the table. Sometimes I do a funny sort of crouching so as to follow a puppy on the move,” says Haney. “Really, I must be quite entertaining to watch,” she says.
Haney charges a session fee ($60 to $100, depending on the session) which includes the portrait session and a set of watermarked proofs. She also offers her customers a small variety of base packages and accessories such as mugs, notebooks and calendars.