Are you the kind of person who thinks of pets as family? You want to honor and remember your dog or cat right alongside your kids. The problem is, pet photography is confusing. There’s studio and portrait and lifestyle…and, at least in San Francisco and the Bay Area, the prices are all over the place!
This shouldn’t be so hard, so I’ve created this simple guide to help you navigate all the best San Francisco Bay Area pet photography options. Not only will you learn about the basic types of pet photography, but also the details of what a whole lot of San Francisco and Bay Area pet friendly photographers have to offer. Enjoy and don’t hesitate to reach out with comments or suggestions!
Professional pet photography terms
Professional dog photographers
A lot of Bay Area pet photography is centered around dog photography. If you’re looking for dog & owner photography or just a simple dog photoshoot for a portrait to put on your wall, that’s great news. But if you have a cat, hampster, frog, chicken, or alpaca that you would like photographed, be sure to ask if your pet photographer is up for the challenge.
Pet friendly photo studios
Traditional pet photography is all about studio pet photography – portraits with perfect lighting, dramatic backdrops, and stylized editing. If you are looking for those almost too-good-to-be-true pet portraits, you’ll want a pet photographer with a studio located in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Bay Area pet portraits
Whether in the studio or out in the field, a lot of folks are just looking for a dog or pet photoshoot without anyone else in the frame. These pet portraits are often priced and packaged quite differently than pet friendly family photography, and plenty of Bay Area pet photographers offer them.
Pet and owner photoshoot
Pet and owner photoshoots (sometimes referred to as “dog and owner photoshoots”) usually include a single person and their pet. Like studio pet photography, these tend to be more posed and stylized, with each pet photographer showcasing their artistic vision.
Pet friendly family photographer
If you want an authentic representation of your family’s relationship with your pet(s), but don’t really like the posed and stylized images that come from the studio pet photography you’ve found so far, you are in the right place. Plenty of San Francisco Bay Area family photographers are pet friendly, offering in-home or outdoor pet portraits.
End-of-life pet photography
This can be a sad topic, but most pets just don’t live as long as we do. For some, it is an important part of the grieving process to capture some authentic in-home or outdoor pet portraits before they pass. This will be the topic of a future blog post, but plenty of San Francisco Bay Area pet photographers do offer the service.
12 best Bay Area pet photographers
Bay Area pet friendly family photographers
Ashley Kaplan Photography
Based in the Outer Richmond of San Francisco, Ashley is a lifestyle pet friendly family photographer. She works a lot with infants and new parents, making her a great choice when incorporating pets into newborn photo sessions. Here’s what Ashley (SF pet photographer) had to say about working with pets – “If you want to bring them (pets) or have them involved in sessions, that is totally fine! Obviously, know your pet’s preferences and temperament and how that will impact sessions, but it usually works just fine. For in-home newborn sessions, I just ask families to manage the safety of the pet near the newborn as they know their pet best and how they might be responding to new people and a new baby in the home– it’s a transition for humans and fur families! Usually, one parent will hold the newborn and the other has the pet close by and its snuggles and love and playfulness.”
Iris and Lace Photography
In the South Bay Area is another pet friendly photographer that specializes in family and lifestyle. Here’s what Bri (pet photographer) had to say about working with pets – “I am a huge dog lover myself! I was raised with golden retrievers and last year, my husband and I fostered six rescues through Copper’s Dream Adoption Agency. I understand how pets are a beloved part of the family and many families often request to bring their dogs to family photoshoots! When planning a photoshoot involving a dog, I work with my families to choose a location that is close to them but also dog friendly. It’s very important for photographers to be familiar with the park rules when selecting locations! Also, sometimes I recommend that a family ask a trusted friend to assist at the session by holding the dog for some of the photos, since dogs may not be included in every single photo we take. Including your furry family member is a great option for laid back, easygoing families who are comfortable capturing lots of candids in their family photos!”
Emily Jenks Photography
Emily Jenks is a pet friendly photographer in San Francisco. Something really unique about Emily is that she is happy to include pets in her wedding photography packages, as well as family sessions.Here’s some advice that Emily (pet photographer) gave me for pet portrait photography – “My trick is pretty simple, I have this squeaker toy thing that goes on my lens! It’s pretty handy. You can’t just squeak it anytime though, it has to be the right time, and the owners have to have their leash pretty tight. But it creates for fun happy photos of dogs! (The toy also works for kids so it’s a win-win.”
Click here for her website.
Bay Area studio pet photographers
Located in Oakland, Ellen is a dedicated professional dog photographer, and with that focused energy comes incredible art. The pet portraits she makes are stunning and she is known for her ability to make just about any dog feel at home in her Bay Area studio. Ellen is also widely connected throughout both the dog rescue and local arts communities. For a highly professional dog photographer and consistent pet friendly photo studio experience, look no further.
Also in the East Bay Area, Soulful Pet Photography brings that studio pet portrait feel to a wider variety of pets and locations. Serving a wide array of animals (yes, there are actually pictures of a tortoise and chickens on their website), they also offer couples and pet sessions, and kid and pet sessions as well. While studio pet portraits are their real strong suit, a number of beach and forest outdoor pet portrait locations are available.
Also offering outdoor and in home pet portraiture, Beauty and the Cutie has a studio in Burlingame (south San Francisco Bay Area) and brings that same style of studio pet portrait photography to their outdoor sessions. The images that come from their sessions are bright, colorful, and crisp. While most pet portrait photographers these days are using dark grey and black backdrops for a dramatic flair, Beauty and the Cutie brings a much lighter and brighter approach to pet portraits.
Here’s a photographer who really starts to blur the line between the pet friendly photo studio approach and the lifestyle genre. Focused on cats and dogs, Tonye’s portfolio is truly diverse, with a great representation of both indoor and outdoor pet photoshoots, some posed and some authentic. Although technically located in Sacramento, Tonye serves a wide area including the San Francisco Bay Area.
Bay Area in-home or outdoor pet portraits
Based out of Belmont in the Bay Area, Andrea at Paws and Play Studio has an impressive resume as a professional dog trainer with BFAs in the fine arts. She works mostly with dogs in outdoor locations and has an eye for those authentic expressions that will make you remember your pet forever. Her photos also incorporate humans, with a focus on couples and their pets.
A self-proclaimed lifestyle professional pet photographer, Angie is based in Danville and serves the entire San Francisco Bay Area. She works in outdoor and in-home locations, and she loves eye contact. Her portfolio is full of those big, soulful eyes we all love from our fur babies. She photographs a wide variety of pets and is happy to get the family in there as well!
(now located in Chicago)
Hilarious Hounds creates the most distinctive pictures on this list of Bay Area pet photographers. Their images are professionally enhanced to give a super bright and colorful final product. Which fits perfectly, because they are all about those goofy looks, tongues out the side of the mouth, and ears flapping in the breeze. If you’re looking for something just slightly over-the-top to make you smile and laugh every time you walk in the door, you have found your match!
Even without offering a photo studio location, Mark might have the most diverse portfolio on this list. His commercial work has included goats, bunnies, parrots, pigs, and ducks, just to name a few. His commissioned sessions show a really fantastic smattering of both pet portraits and lifestyle images. Mark is happy to include the kids and the rest of the family. While not a “family photographer” per se, you can expect that your gallery from Mark will tell the full story of your pet, as well as the connection you share with them.
This list wouldn’t be complete without a shoutout to Jesse Freidin. Jesse has spent over a decade documenting the powerful places that dogs hold in humanity. His work is at the elite level, and it is powerful. You might not be able to hire him, but you should take a look anyway.
Bonus – a pet memorial gift idea
Pet Portrait Love Stories by Sarah Joost
Sarah Joost actually isn’t a photographer, but a San Francisco Bay Area creator of mixed-media pet portraits. I really can’t say it any better than Sarah herself. This is directly from her website –“Tails + Tales began as a passion project when mixed media specialist and animal devotee, Sarah Howard Joost began creating one-of-a-kind art pieces honoring the loving creatures she encountered while walking her Frenchie, Cody in her neighborhood, Golden Gate Park, Ocean Beach, Crissy Field and on adventures throughout the Bay Area and beyond.Each pet portrait is a handcrafted one-of-a-kind work of art. Created with nothing but good vibes by hand on a natural birch wood panel using an image transfer and mixed media process, each piece comes hang-ready or can be table-top displayed. Additionally, each pet portrait includes a written ‘tale’ starring your pet! You’ll answer a series of questions that will form the outline for your pet’s story to be embellished and presented on the back of each woodblock art piece.”
Thanks for being here. I’m David Enloe, a San Francisco family photographer. I make soul-stirring pictures for families that find adventure around every corner. Want to learn more about the person behind the camera?