NYC Pet Pawtographer – West Side Rag
Spending the day rolling around on the floor with an adorable pup sounds like a dream job, right?
For Carmen Gonzalez, it’s a dream come true. Photographer and former award-winning chef, she is the founder of NYC Pet Pawtographer.
Gonzalez’s love for dogs began with his first dog when he was four years old. She began her visual career in New York as a documentary photographer. Now, as the most sought-after puppy photographer in town, she spends her days coaxing furry, four-legged models into showing their personality.
She tells how it all started: “My business started thanks to my love for dogs. As I filmed the comings and goings of New Yorkers, the good times and the dark ones, I would stop people walking the dogs and ask if I could shoot the dogs, then feature it on Instagram. I always wanted to know the history of the dog – where do they come from, what do they like? That sort of thing. People love their dogs and they love telling you about them! And they always followed me on Instagram to see their dog’s picture and pretty quickly people started asking if they could buy the picture. It kind of became a full-fledged business.
While his business relies on subjects that can only stand still for a few quick shots, Gonzalez has a surefire method for capturing the best of a family’s beloved pet and creating images worthy of be framed adorning many Upper West Side walls. apartments. She says her secret is time.
Gonzalez explains, “One of the things I do differently from other wildlife photographers is that my sessions aren’t time-based. I believe I have to give the puppies as long as they want to get those fabulous photos. Of course, I try to do as much as possible very quickly, but I am aware of the attention span of dogs; after two pictures, they don’t do that anymore – they see a butterfly and I lose them.
She continues: “I warn people that it could take two days. I don’t want to force dogs to sit and run on a schedule. It’s not fair to the parents. And being tight on time may mean I couldn’t get the action shots I’m known for. I got a dog the other day and we did some great photos, but it took us three shoots to do it. I have no problem meeting people three times.
That patience and willingness to pull out her yoga mat and get down with the dogs, whether in the middle of the park or in front of the Met, is part of what allows Gonzalez to get this great shot.
Getting to know them is the difference between a cute photo of a dog and one that captures everything there is to love about them. It’s his secret to getting those coveted action shots. She says when you photograph a model or a person, you tell that person what to do – with a dog, one of the first things I do is sit on the floor with the dog and play with it. Of course, beforehand, I like to know as much as possible about the dog and what makes him happy. I want to know their personality. But at the time of shooting, I have to see how the dog is doing and what he wants to do, and I have to adapt my plan so that he is happy. I basically do what they want, and they give me their best.
Gonzalez gave her best the last time she visited family in Puerto Rico. It was there that she developed the concept for Pawlendar, a calendar featuring rescue dogs (known as satos), and partnered with United for a Cause Foundation to bring it to life. The 2022 Pawlendar sale raised nearly $20,000 for area animal shelters that had housed the calendar stars featured in each month’s broadcast. From the rainforest of Yunque to the beaches of Vieques, the strays of Puerto Rico have had their moment in the sun and hopefully a better chance of finding a forever home.
Gonzalez has another Pawlendar calendar in the works for 2023, and some time on his schedule to shoot a portrait of this beloved dog who takes you for a walk every day. Contact Carmen here.
Paid advertisement written for Carmen Gonzalez by Francine Cohen