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How to be a...

How to be a dog photographer

Eliza Mills Dec 27, 2018
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Ellen Shershow tries to capture the unique personality of each pet she photographs.
Courtesy of Ellen Shershow

Everyone has a dream job growing up: doctor, vet, ice cream taste tester. But how do you actually get the gig? Marketplace is looking into how with the occasional series “How to Be a …”


Every single dog is different, says Shershow.

My name is Ellen Shershow, and I’m a dog photographer. The very simplest thing that I do is I bring dogs into my studio and I photograph them, but I will tell you is that what I really try and do is I try and bring out the personality of each individual dog.

I do something different depending on who the dog is and if they’re shy, if they’re a diva, if they’re a showoff, if they have fear issues. I might meow like a cat, I might bark like a dog, I might bring out some treats, make a squeaker noise. Very often, I’ll observe what they’re like with their mom or their dad and watch the love that goes on between those two- and four-legged creatures.

The end result of what I do, which for me is very important, is to create artwork that can hang in my client’s home, and it can become something that will be around for the next 20, 30, 40, 50 years and remind that person of that moment in their dog’s life, and by extension, in their life.

The thing about photographing a dog is it’s so much fun. I just love everything about them. I love the way they look. I love the way they smell. I love the way they act. They are hilarious. Next to Steve Martin and Jennifer Coolidge, dogs are literally the funniest creatures on the entire planet.

The most important thing about photographing dogs is patience, says Shershow.