From animal lover to award-winning shooter; the portrait photography of Amiee Stubbs

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How long have you been a photographer and what led you to pet photography?

I started working in a darkroom when I was 10 years old. When I was a little older, I worked in a portrait studio for about seven years in the 90s. However, I didn't decide to make it my career until I went back to school and graduated in 2012 with a photography degree. My husband and I have six dogs at home and we’re both active in animal rescue. My love for animals and extensive knowledge of animal behavior made pet photography a perfect fit. Our pets are family, and I know there are many people out there who feel the exact same way.

What other types of photography do you do?

I just love being behind the lens, and never wanted to limit myself to one type of photography. I enjoy product photography, landscapes, and even weddings. Most of my work is split between animals and music, though. Those are two of the things I’m most passionate about, and I think I do my best work when those are my subjects. I photograph a lot of concerts and music industry events here in Nashville. I’m a contributing photographer for NASH Country Weekly Magazine, so last year I was credentialed to shoot the CMA Festival and the CMA Awards. It is Music City, after all, and at the rate we’re growing, it’s an electrifying time to live and work here.

How does the equipment you need for your pet photography differ from the rest of your assignments?

Pet photography requires a lot of extra gear, but none of it’s really related to the photo equipment. I usually pack a blanket so I can get down on the ground at eye level with the animals. Plus the pet photographer essentials: water, water bowl, poop bags, treats, leashes, squeaky toys, and always a lint roller, in case the pet’s guardian wants to be in some photos, too. Fortunately, I didn’t have to bring squeaky toys to the CMA Awards!

We understand you do a lot of work with non-profit organizations, tell us more about that.

I have volunteered as the Photojournalist for Animal Rescue Corps since July 2012. We’re an international animal protection organization and we travel around the country assisting law enforcement with large scale rescue operations. I’ve photographed animals in some of the most horrific conditions imaginable. It’s emotionally draining work, but I feel privileged to be able to tell their stories. I’m also a member of HeARTs Speak, and donate my time to local animal rescue and shelters, taking professional photos of their pets to help increase their chances of being adopted.

What advice can you give aspiring photographers on how to improve with their pet photography?

Learn as much as you can about dogs, cats, horses, or any other animal you are photographing before you get started. Their safety needs to be your number one priority. Being at eye-level with your animal subject makes the photo more engaging, and the eyes definitely need to be in focus. I love a shallow depth of field, but if the nose is in focus instead of the eyes, it’s not a good shot. Also, make sure that your shutter speed isn’t too slow – animals don’t often pose for you, so you may not have much time when the perfect moment presents itself, and you’ll need to be ready!

Amiee Stubbs has been interested in photography since the age of 10 when she received her first Polaroid Sun 600 camera. Dividing her time between shooting live music events and pet photography, Amiee provides photography services to animal rescues and animal welfare organizations. A Nashville native, Amiee and her husband share their home with 6 dogs: Halpert, Beesley, Eva, Buster, Burton and Periwinkle. See more of Amiee's work at her website: http://www.amieestubbs.com/

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