Art & Design

Doggie Photog Deals with Slobber on the Lens

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Photographer Amanda Jones, who takes pictures of people's beloved dogs. Her sessions run $1,400, not including the charge for prints. But she has plenty of takers among pet fans.

SCOTT SIMON, host:

Photographer Amanda Jones is making a name for herself with dog lovers. She crisscrosses the country taking pictures of people's favorite pooches. A shot costs $1,400, not including prints, but Amy Costello reports there's no shortage of dog owners willing to pay that kind of money for a portrait.

AMY COSTELLO:

Today, Amanda Jones is photographing Adele(ph).

(Soundbite of camera)

Ms. AMANDA JONES (Photographer): Adele.

(Soundbite of camera)

Ms. JONES: Oh, you're so pretty, so pretty. She's got her ears flopped, too, which is really cute. Come here.

COSTELLO: Adele is a brown and black Airedale terrier. Jones does whatever it takes to capture the dog's attention.

Ms. JONES: Meow.

(Soundbite of camera)

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. JONES: Oh, we've got a slobber on the lens.

COSTELLO: Slobber's not the worst of it. As a doggie photographer, Jones has baggies, wipes and paper towels on hand for any accident that may occur on-set.

Ms. JONES: They're very, very common, and owners are mortified, and we're just like whatever. Here's a paper towel. Clean it up.

COSTELLO: And there's not much she hasn't seen. In the last dozen years, Jones has cleaned up after poodles, great Danes, yellow labs, Dalmatians - name the breed, Jones has probably photographed it.

Today, she'll take more than 200 photographs of Adele at this dance studio in lower Manhattan. Up against a white backdrop, Adele mugs for the camera. Her owner beams like a proud parent, but Megan Warren(ph) admits that hardly anyone knows that she and Adele are here today.

Ms. MEGAN WARREN (Dog Owner): When I started to tell people that I would do this - I mean, I've only told my immediate family because it's a little bit indulgent to do.

COSTELLO: Some would say really indulgent. A 90-minute photo session of your pooch sets you back $1,400. It's extra for prints and the inevitable enlargements you'll want to hang on your wall. These pictures look like they could go in galleries too. There's no costumes or funny outfits here. These photos are works of art. Think Annie Leibovitz, only with dogs. Jones calls them portraits, and she makes a pretty good living taking them. She brought in half a million dollars last year.

Ms. JONES: That's a girl. Good.

(Soundbite of camera)

COSTELLO: Every time she looks through her lens, Jones sees a dog with something to showcase.

Ms. JONES: If it's their fur or their eyes or their big nose or whatever that piece of them is that's so lovely, I just want to try and get that in a very interesting way.

COSTELLO: Jones holds her camera in one hand and throws treats with the other. She squeaks a rubber toy between her knees.

Ms. JONES: It's a rubber chicken.

(Soundbite of squeaking)

Ms. JONES: And you can make these things like fly around - you know, you throw them across the room, and the dogs watch it so you get this great, like, open-eyed excitement look.

COSTELLO: Jones makes a range of weird sounds when she photographs Adele.

(Soundbite of strange noise)

(Soundbite of camera)

COSTELLO: It works. Adele cocks her head to one side, and Jones gets the money shot for dog photography, the head tilt.

Ms. JONES: Good. Hey, you're really good at this. I think you kind of like it.

COSTELLO: For NPR News, I'm Amy Costello in New York.

SIMON: This is NPR News.

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