Dog-umentary photo maker
Amy Oleson is the dogtographer responsible for yesterday’s stunning shot of Charlie Machete. That shot was taken at the beginning of last week’s outing with the KC Pittie Pack and Friends, which Amy volunteered to photograph our event just because she thinks dogs are awesome. Upon meeting her, I instantly wanted to know more about her motivation and vision as a dogtographer.
So, I sent her the following questions…CW: You describe your photo style as “dog-umentary.” Explain what that means.
AO: My education and career background is photojournalism. During those times I documented everyday moments, significant events, sporting events, disastrous floods, state fairs, presidential candidates and more. I’m turning all that experience and on-your-feet thinking to documenting dogs through photographs, hence ‘dog-umentary.’
CW: To you, what qualities make up a great photo?
AO: Emotion is the key thing that makes up a great photograph. Emotions make us feel. Really truly, feel. And those feelings can lead to action. And we all know action leads to change. The biggest compliment I could ever get is that someone saw my photograph and decided to adopt a dog, donate money or time to a shelter, or spend a little extra time with their family pet by going to the dog park or joining a dog walking group.
CW: How did you become involved with the rescue community?
AO: When I decided to start up Fido Fetch Photography, I thought I would volunteer just a few hours each month with pet rescue organizations. What I didn’t know was how much I would enjoy meeting so many great animals and people along the way. Those few hours each month quickly turned into many hours each week, and it is very rewarding.
My first volunteer experience was with Heartland SPCA located in Merriam, Kansas. They welcomed me with open arms, showed me around the facility and really made me feel like I could help make a difference. The staff and volunteers at Heartland SPCA trust me with the dogs. There is always someone there to answer any questions and they constantly give me great feedback.
I also volunteer my time with Last Chance Black Dog Rescue, a foster home based organization. I met them at Petco on 95th Street in Overland Park, Kansas, where they hold an adoption event every Saturday. After seeing the photographs of our first photo shoot together, I think they were a bit shocked I actually captured the dogs’ faces and personalities. Last Chance Black Dog Rescue often expresses how appreciative they are that I come out each weekend. I love meeting their dogs, but I must admit, I love the smiles on the foster parents’ faces, too.
I am always finding new organizations all the time. Facebook is a great way to network with the pet community, learn about upcoming events and cross-post adoptable pets.
CW: How many photos of dogs to you take in an average week?
AO: On average, I photograph about 10 dogs (even cats) a week.
CW: What advice would you give someone who is struggling to capture a good photo of a dog?
AO: Be very patient. If you are meeting a dog for the first time, take some extra time to step back and watch them. If a dog seems ‘afraid’ of your camera, just set it on the ground and walk away from it. Maybe show them your hands and/or let them smell you. Then, keep talking to them as you pick your camera back up and press the shutter so they can get use to the sound.
More often than not, most dogs are just curious and want to know what you are doing. They’ll do a few cute head turns or maybe whine with excitement. I really like to focus on their eyes at that time. After a while, they’ll most likely ignore you and that is when you can photograph the dog acting naturally. Don’t worry too much about framing or getting ‘the perfect shot.’ Focus on their personality and awesome features like brindle fur, spots on their nose, long white legs on a brown body, floppy ears, or a great doggie smile. Finally, get down, get up, roll the ground with them, have fun!
CW: Have you ever found a wayward dog?
AO: I have not ever found a wayward dog. However, I know there is a great rescue pet community in Kansas City, and I feel very proud to be a part of it.
Have you taken a great picture of your dog? If so, share it on the Wayward Dogs fan page on Facebook.