For over 40 years, Ellen Zangla has been involved with photography and happens to be infatuated with animals. So, becoming a pet photographer was as simple as combining two of the things she loves best in the world.
To Zangla, every photo shoot is impactful in some way. “Some make me laugh. Some are with adorable puppies that I get to snuggle. Some dogs are really well trained, and they are a joy to photograph because I can try a lot of things, which is fun as an artist,” she says.¬ “Watching the relationship between people and their beloved fur babies is absolutely heart-warming. I love creating images for people that they will treasure for a lifetime.”
Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s always easy though. “I was photographing a client’s puppy in front of a small water feature. She got a little too close to the edge and slipped in. She was on a leash and her mom and I were right there, so there were no safety issues,” she explains. “But I captured the photo of her as she was going in, face under water, rear end, back legs and tail out. We all thought it was hilarious. She got out, shook off the water and continued exploring…further away from the water though!”
Ellen’s tips for a great shot? “For dogs, cats or other animals, sitting or lying in a specific area while I take their photo is not nearly as much fun as doing something they’d rather be doing, like playing or exploring. You have to be ready for the shot, quick and give breaks in between photos,” she advises. “You also need to be willing to wait and try again or give up and move to a different shot if it’s not going to work out.”
Ellen’s own fur brood is deep. With two dogs, a Hound mix, Homer, who is 13; a German Shepherd/Siberian Husky mix, Lola, who is 1 ½, and two cats, Alfie and Griffin, which she photographed for adoption, brought home for a long weekend, and never brought back, there are four.
As far as her charity work goes, she knows that every little bit counts. On National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day, she posted on her Facebook page that she would donate $1 to Lonely Hearts Animal Rescue for everyone who posted a photo of their pet, the pet’s name and where he or she was adopted. About 150 photos were posted, so she donated $150 to LHAR. One of her clients saw this and was so impressed that he matched her donation. Then he applied to his company to match his donation, which they did, so the $150 turned into $450 for an amazing rescue group. Zangla also does a lot of fundraisers, mostly for animal rescue but also for Operation Smile in partnership with the charitable arm of her professional association, PPA Charities. Last year, she raised a little over $10,000.
For five great tips from Ellen on taking better photos of pets, read her blog here: