Commemorating that picture-perfect animal companion
We who are blessed with the innate gift of loving animals can attest to the fact that we receive an absolute hundredfold measure in return from them. Some have called it the "best deal known to man." They are willing and wonderful companions who melt our hearts and nurture our spirits. They enter our lives with a built-in guarantee to help us become better people if we take the time to recognize their positive influence and to appreciate the lessons they teach through their interactions with us. They become extensions of our daily existence, and the memories they give us are invaluable.
Shreveport resident and pet photographer Linda White loves making it possible for pet parents to commemorate those priceless memories and cherished reflections of their furry friends through professional quality pictures. From that delightful first phase of a playful, cuddly, clumsy little puppy or kitten's life to a pet's precious senior years, White's mission is to artistically capture and preserve those special details that are unique to the personality of one's pet ... its actions, cute poses, funny habits, unforgettable expressions and, as White says, "that perfect head tilt."
German-born and adopted by an American military family, White came to the United States with her parents when she was 2 years old. They resided in several states before her father became stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base at the time she began her freshman year of high school. Although the family moved around quite a bit, White recalled that she and her brother always had some kind of pet ... gerbils, hamsters, birds, fish, turtles and once a dog that the family got just as her father was leaving for a year-long military assignment in Korea. When he returned, the dog had become very protective of the family and wouldn't allow him in the house. "Eventually, he warmed up to my dad," White fondly recalled.
Picture-taking has long been a hobby that White enjoys, but it was later in her life when she started to photograph her poodles that she sensed she might have a special knack for pet photography. "I began to plan pictures around their birthdays, holidays, seasonal changes, football season or any occasion coming up," she said. "When out and about, I would look for things to use as props and ideas for pictures."
The reality of turning her enjoyable hobby into a business came about as White's friends began to encourage her to take her enthusiasm for photographing pets to the next level. She took that leap, named her business Unleashed Petography and coined its motto, "Capturing the moments that capture your heart." White says that while she is still mastering her camera skills, "I believe I have a good eye and a great imagination that gives me the ability to take pictures that are pleasing and that make people smile. I'm always learning something." She strives to make her work a worthwhile investment for customers and a lot of fun.
"I photograph both indoors and outdoors.
It depends on what the client wants. They may have a particular park that is special to them or it might be their own backyard where their pet feels most comfortable," White stated. "When I set up at an event, a backdrop that reflects the theme of the occasion is used." If a studio-styled portrait is desired, White can create a setting for that, as well. She photographs the pet alone as well as with the owner, and she's been quite busy in the community at numerous animal-related events, grooming salons and rescue fund-raisers.
White is an ardent and dedicated animal lover, so the patience that is central for photographing pets comes easily to her. "I utilize the same techniques that I've learned through working with my own dogs ... key words that get their attention, squeaky toys and treats," White explained. Her calm manner, no doubt, is an important asset in establishing the connection necessary to gain an animal's trust; thus, her four-legged clients quickly become comfortable and at ease with her when they sense this.
Especially dear to White are those occasions in which she is requested to take the final photograph of someone's beloved pet in its last days. These sessions are intimate, emotional and filled with love at its purest. Equally gratifying are the opportunities White has had to photograph a rescue pet that a family has literally saved from heartbreaking circumstances and given a new life of happiness and safety.
Snapping quick shots of our pets with our phones is certainly enjoyable and convenient. However, a professional photo shoot achieves a level that we cannot and gives us elegant, enhanced images of our pet chronicled in art form to treasure forever.