As a trainer, I end up building quite the network of other "dog people" and "dog businesses" I like locally. Pet-sitting, grooming, boarding, veterinarians, supply shops, pet-friendly restaurants, parks; you name it and I probably have a recommendation! I thought it would be appropriate to create a new section in my blog about those things, so here we go!
I actually first saw Rachael's work a few years before we even became friends. She volunteered some of her time to work with PAWS, a local animal shelter, to take pictures of their adoptable dogs in a "Home for the Holidays" event (you can see some of her work in her blog HERE). At the time, I just finished volunteering with PAWS, but kept close tabs on what dogs they had available via social media. When I saw the Home for the Holidays pictures show up on my feed, not only was I stunned at the quality and cuteness of each photo, but I was just thrilled that somebody was kind enough to use their obvious talent to help dogs needing a home. Fast forward to late last year--Rachael offered to feature a few women business-owners in her blog and agreed to meet with me to see if Ideal Dog would be a good fit for her new project. When we met, we ended up talking about everything from dog training and business ownership (which I expected), to motherhood (we both have sons within a year's age of each other), to Harry Potter (score!), to what books and movies we enjoy (she's a Stephen King fanatic), and much more. When she mentioned she was a dog lover through and through, well, needless to say, it was the start of a wonderful friendship that I now really cherish.
Rachael grew up a military brat and claims Ohio as her "home base". She and her husband planted roots in the Florida gulf, have two kids (Alesana - 8 and Akaius - 4), and two Great Danes (Blu - 10 months, Violet - 4 months). She says she fell in love with Great Danes when she was really young and a family friend's Great Dane ran over, grabbed her sister's doll, and bolted away to chew it up--Rachael decided she needed one of these majestic creatures at some point in her life...and her sister became a cat person, ha! When Rachael isn't busy with shooting or editing, she enjoys going to the beach with her family and snorkeling.
If you ask Rachael why she became a photographer, she would laugh and say she "fell into it!" When she had her children, she had an intense desire to capture every single detail of them, before they were suddenly into their next stage of growth. Photography became a way to preserve and hold onto each version of her kids. Over time, that passion spiraled into a full-time business, as friends began to ask her to capture their kids, then friends of friends etc. Rachael says she is so grateful to have the ability to use what she is passionate about as a living."
STYLE & FOCUS
Rachael is a minimalist photographer--she uses very few props, you'll see lots of simple, white backdrops, and not alot of "fluff". The result is a timeless, elegant photograph that focuses entirely on the subject. Her goal is to capture the essence of her subjects so you can really see their personality shine though!
Rachael realized the importance of pet photography after the passing of her family dog of 12 years, named Brody. She says dogs really are such a gigantic part of our lives and such an integral part of our families, yet we don’t often document them professionally. We often don’t even think about it until they pass. She said it brought her so much comfort and happiness to hang a large, professional picture of Brody in their living room, where she can be reminded daily of the sweet memories they had with him. She says, "Our dogs are the hearts of our families. They deserve to be preserved as such, and you deserve to have those memories of them."
DOG PHOTOGRAPHY Rachael has two ways to can choose to photograph your dog--as part of a family session or by themselves in a mini session. Her family sessions are always done outdoors and she has a list of available locations you can shoot with your pet. While some of the shots will be a classic "look at the camera and smile!", she specializes in interaction-based photography, so the majority of shots will "feel" like you are just spending time outdoors with your dog. The result is a natural preservation of the sweet relationship you have with your dog. For these sessions, leashes and poop bags are mandatory; she also recommends bringing a few yummy treats to help keep your dog interested.
You can also opt for a simple studio session that focuses entirely on your dog (this is also a great option for cats!) She does require that dogs who do studio sessions are calm and pretty well behaved because she has expensive lighting equipment, backdrops, cameras, etc that could be damaged if you bring a Tasmanian devil over! The dogs also need to know a basic "stay" command so they can remain in front of the backdrop during the shooting. She recommends bringing some yummy treats or your dog's favorite toy to help direct their attention when she needs to get the best shots possible.
EXAMPLES & MORE INFO Check out these other examples of Rachael's pet photography! Interested in scheduling a session for your pet? You can visit her website at https://rachaelphillipsphotography.com/ to find her availability, more details, and pricing.