Local Photographer’s Love for Animals Shines Through in Portraits

One of the most unique (and fun!) business relationships we have is with local pet photographer Ellen Zangla.  Ellen is one of our clients and once we found out about her awesome skill as a pet photographer, we knew we had to work with her!  For several years, Ellen has taken the majority of photos you see on our website, social media, and other forms of marketing and advertisements.  Her work is also displayed on the walls of our lobby and hallways; all of those amazing portraits are pets belonging to LVH staff.  It’s pretty cool getting to look at beautiful images of our pets while we work – talk about motivation!

We think Ellen is definitely one of the most talented photographers in the area and couldn’t keep her talents all to ourselves.  Read on to learn more about what inspires her as a pet photographer and what’s involved in a typical photography session.  Then visit her website to schedule a consultation and photo shoot so you too can capture your furry family member’s one-of-a-kind personality! (You can also click on the photos below to view the various pet photo galleries on Ellen’s site.)

Does this pet portrait look familiar?  This is Jake, Dr. Boyle's handsome man.  Ellen's portrait of Jake is the background of our business card!

Does this pet portrait look familiar? This is Marley, Dr. Boyle’s handsome man. Ellen’s portrait of Marley is the background of our business card!

Why pet photography?

I absolutely love animals and can’t walk past a dog or cat without stopping to pet him or her. When I’m photographing them I don’t want to stop because I truly love doing it.

I think everyone should have great photos of their family members, and I consider pets to be family members. I love capturing images that are meaningful to my clients and show the relationship they have with their pets. And I strive to create images that people will treasure for a lifetime.


How do you to capture each pet’s unique personality?

I talk with each client before our session to learn as much about their pets as I can, such as what they love most about them, what types of personalities they have, and what images they would love to have, so I can create the best photos possible. I always ask clients what the one perfect image of their pet would is—that answer, whether it’s the dog running with his ears flying in different directions, or lying regally on the front steps of the house—tells me a lot about the animal’s personality (and I make sure to capture that shot!).


What pets are more challenging to photograph – dogs or cats?

Usually, cats are more challenging because they are less likely to do what I’d like them to do, although I’ve worked with several cats who are easy going and extremely cooperative. And catnip can work wonders. Even though most of the dogs I work with aren’t well trained,  many of them know “sit” well enough to do it for a short period of time or can be kept in place on leash (I edit them out of photos). Patience is key!


Most memorable pet photo shoot?

That’s a tough one. A couple of years ago I photographed two sisters, Sadie and Summer (not litter mates). Sadie is a tripod, she is missing one of her back legs, but you would never know it from the way she played with Summer. One of my favorite all-time photos is of Sadie holding one of Summer’s back legs in her mouth (so that it’s off the ground), while Summer looks directly at the camera as if to say, “Won’t you please help me?” I call it “Leveling the Playing Field.” Both girls are very sweet, their mom is awesome, and I loved watching the two of them in action.

EllenZanglaPhotography_Sadie and Summer

Your longest pet photo shoot?

Photographing five dogs (all one family). It was a blast though. They all are very different, so I have action shots, images of them interacting with one another or just hanging out at their favorite place on the property or in the house.

As a professional photographer, what’s your take on using camera phones and Instagram? Yay or nay?

I think camera phones are great in the sense that we always have our phones with us so we capture a lot of moments that we wouldn’t have been able to photograph if we always had to have a camera with us. And Facebook and Instagram are such a great way to share images with all our friends. In my opinion though, there is no comparison between a photo taken on a phone and one taken with a good quality camera. Also, I really value prints, not only because of their impact (and I do think prints are significantly more compelling than those viewed on a phone or computer screen), but because prints have been around for over 100 years (and some people have photos that are over 100 years old). Do you remember floppy disks? Or Iomega disks? If that is what your images were on, would you now be able to view them?  We don’t know how technology will evolve and if we’ll be able to easily read the data on the digital methods we’re using now or if it will degrade and even still be accessible.

We couldn’t agree more – having high quality prints of ALL of our family members is priceless!  The next time you’re at the hospital, take a moment to browse the beautiful  canvas prints of our beloved pet family members on our walls, then have Ellen capture the unique and personable qualities of your pet too!




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