Tails of the World: Pet Photographer Pays it Forward

Pet photographers from around the world are uniting to compile the ultimate canine collection into a book that will fund animal rescue. Among the 100 contributors selected for the project is Edmond photographer, Suzy McCracken.

The book, Tails of the World, will feature 10 of Suzy’s photos, which means 10 fresh photoshoots for the project. Suzy selected her subjects from online applicants and will donate the photoshoot fees to Bella SPCA. The Oklahoma City non-profit assists low-income, elderly, and terminally ill pet owners with veterinary costs. Once published, the book’s proceeds will benefit Second Chance Animal Rescue in Australia.

“I am thrilled to partner with Bella SCPA for this project,” Suzy said. “Plus, it will be so fun to see the finished product, celebrating unique photos, pets, and locations from around the world.”

As with all of her work, Suzy hopes her submissions will capture the true personality of each pet. She calls herself “the dog whisperer” because of her fine-tuned ability to read and respond to a dog’s temperament, cues, and comfort. This nickname was proven as her own pets were promoted from agility and trick-training to starring in commercials for Neiman Marcus, The Container Store, and JCPenneys. This experience raising, training, and loving animals paved the path toward pet photography.

“I always had a camera with me, and it was full of non-professional photos of my dogs and horses,” she said. “But it took me a long time to take it seriously.” It wasn’t until friends began noticing her skill and asked for photos of their own pets that Suzy considered combining her two hobbies into a profession. “I realized it just made sense,” she said.

While there are many similarities between people photography and her niche, Suzy says there are a lot of dog-specific skills involved in her work. “It’s crucial to be able to read a dog’s body language,” she said. “You’re looking for stress signals and getting a feel for the behavior and personality of the dog.”

She says the angles and approach to dog photography are unique, and often involve making a complete fool of herself. “I will do anything to get a dog’s attention for a photo,” she said. And it shows in her portfolio, with photo after photo of perfectly timed head tilts, handshakes, and animals in action.

Suzy says she is happy to include owners as well, whether in focus or blurred in the background, to ensure the photos are a keepsake that will be cherished even beyond the furry friend’s lifespan.

“I have had friends lose dogs unexpectedly, and they are so happy they have these photos to remember them by,” Suzy said. “Others come to me because they know the end is near for their beloved pet, and want to capture them while they can.”

Suzy can be found shooting in her studio, or scenic locations around town, like Hafer Park or Arcadia Lake. Find her work online at suzymccrackenphotography.com, or grab a copy of Tails of the World, available March 2024.

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