Focusing On Pet Photography

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - May 13, 2009
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‘Joey’ poses for pet photographer Deb McGuire

Deb McGuire is happiest when she’s eyeball to eyeball with an animal, so she started her company, Deb McGuire Photography, to combine a few of her passions: animals, photography and traveling.

She’s been on the back of a camel, on top of an elephant in India, and in the ocean an arm’s length away from a 14-foot-long, 1,100-pound false-killer whale named Kina. She’s currently planning a vacation to Arkansas to visit the tiger reserve at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge.

Whether she is standing over a bug, or a lying on the grass to get a snapshot of a dog in a neighborhood park, McGuire uses her own tricks of the trade to capture a pet’s personality.

“I always know the pet’s name, but I may not know the pet’s parent’s (owner’s) name,” says McGuire as she fondly points to the photos of her model pets in her portfolio.

She gets to know the pet first by getting on its level, which sometimes include being on all fours. She also admits to using bribery.


“I always carry dog toys, dog treats and cat treats,” she reveals. “I become their favorite person right then and there. Then I photograph the pet in all angles. I like to keep them in a natural environment, whether they are a horse on a race track or cat under a bed.”

After she’s done shooting about 200 to 300 photos of the pet, she uploads the photos on her computer and whittles the number down to the best 10-15 for the owner to choose from. She can enlarge the picture up to a poster size, create a photo album, put the pet’s photo on a purse or even on a sterling silver charm necklace.

One of McGuire’s first pets was a dog named Heidi, who did lots of modeling when McGuire took her first photography class at age 14. Her career path includes modeling, acting, radio and television journalism as well as doing stock photography for five years.

“Ninety percent of photos I submitted to the stock photography were animals, and 90 percent of the photos they accepted were animals, so I thought there’s something going on there.”

Originally from Orange County, Calif., McGuire moved to Hawaii in 2005, and decided to concentrate on being a pet photographer as of January. She appreciates the support of her friends and family for her business and especially her husband, Tim, a retired Marine. He serves as the chief financial officer with duties to include putting together easels, cutting up foam core, and working with Photoshop. Her co-vice presidents of the company are their two cats, Sham-rock and Magic.

“The animal or pet comes first to me,” she says. “Other photographers are passionate about photography. They like taking the pictures, whether it is a building or a pet. Me, I like seeing the joy in the pet parent’s face when those photos come back.”

For more information on Deb McGuire Photography, call 247-5282 or log onto

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