Back in June I had the pleasure of attending a City Dog Magazine party at a location just a stones throw from me on Queen Anne.
Along with subscribers and other pet industry folks and their ‘vip’s (very important pooches), a City Dog Magazine partner was there. This was Nichole Smith, owner and operator of Dane & Dane photography, based in West Seattle. Nichole does a lot of photography for City Dog and her terrific images have graced a number of covers, including the current issue.
Any fears I had of meeting one of my direct competitors in my own city quickly dissipated when I met Nichole. We hit it off smashingly!
We ended up drinking and eating and talking for most of the party and it was clear that we had a lot in common.
Since then I have gotten to know Nichole and have developed a deep respect for who she is and what she does. Although we are 10 years apart in age I can relate to her on so many levels, and she is clearly wise beyond her years.
Nichole is one of the hardest working people I know (besides myself of course, lol), and her drive and passion for what she does run as deep as the love she has for animals. She pours her soul into her business, and calls it her ‘baby’ just like I do.
She has received many accolades, all of which she works very hard for, including a stellar article in this issue of Professional Photographer magazine, where she is featured along with the venerable (and very famous) pet photographer Amanda Jones.
Nichole does both studio portraiture and location photography and a lot of editorial as well. Her harlequin great dane Olivia is her business mascot and she is easily recognizable by her ‘pink cupcake’ nose. Here is her rockin logo, and a gorgeous photo of her mascot Olivia:
(Side note: in one of my shoots today my client asked if I had photos of Fergie all over my house. I said I didn’t have a single one and then realized that she isn’t even in my galleries online. I have been too busy photographing client’s dog to focus on getting shots of my own. Poor girl!).
Back to Nichole. I am thrilled that I have such a talented professional pet photographer I can refer studio portrait shoots to. I know that Nichole will take great care of any client that I refer to her and will produce wonderful imagery, like these great shots.
But mostly I am just glad that we have become friends. We share so many of the same challenges and although I’ve got a couple of years on her with my business, she helps me to see things differently than I did before, and makes me want to be a better photographer, which is good for her and me AND all of our clients. Plus we agree that there are enough dogs in Seattle to go around, and if you include the ‘burbs of Bellevue, Redmond, Mill Creek, etc, there are enough dogs and cats to shoot to have our hands full forever!
We both are deeply happy with our jobs, and love living and working in the city.
Nichole and I look forward to a long friendship and amicable ‘business competitorship’ and are excited at the future opportunities that await us both!
Next up for Nichole: the 2nd City Dog Magazine cover model contest in October. Check Nichole’s site as the date approaches for more information on how to get your dog on the cover.
Other pet photographers who inspire us are:
Bev Sparks: www.dogphotographer.com. Bev has been shooting dogs for a long, long time, and it clearly shows in her work. Her fabulous photographs were recently featured on the set of Oprah’s dog themed show (!). Can’t get any bigger than that! Plus she is just the nicest person you will ever meet, truly.
Emily Reiman: Best Friend Photography: Seattle pet photographer. Emily has been shooting dogs and cats for over 10 years and has a very distinct style. She does gorgeous film photos on black backdrops, often with an aged, sepia tone. Sophisticated and striking.
Kendra Luck: Dogumentarian. Kendra is my hero and every time I look at her images I smile, which is exactly what I want to be doing when looking at pet photography. If I lived in SF I would totally have her shoot Fergie.
Sharon Beals: I have owned her book “What Dogs Do”, which is filled with Sharon’s emotive black and white imagery, for long before I started doing pet photography as a hobby, and it has sat on my bookshelf, inspiring me during my journey from ‘hobbiest’ to ‘professional’.
Kim Levine: LOVE her work. I sense that Kim has the same type of feelings in her shoots that I do in mine- pure joy. She is truly the original ‘dog photo book’ author, and has been shooting dogs for over a decade.