Monday, April 7, 2014

An Interview with Eric of Love and Luck Photography!

What helps a shelter animal get adopted?  Sweet personality, adorable face, friendly towards children?  Sure - all of these things come into play when adopting a pet.  But something that you might not think about is the importance of a great photograph of the animal.  When a homeless animal is represented by a professional and positive photo, their chances of adoption increase.  Shelter employees usually take their own picture when the animal first comes into their care; however, the dog or cat is often very scared, sad, even dirty or matted when arriving at the shelter.  This does not result in a very good photo - the animal can end up looking miserable or intimidating, which is not an accurate representation of their personality.  If a potential adopter sees a web photo of a large pitbull that appears to be distressed, they are less likely to come in to see that dog than they would if the photo showed him "smiling" with his ears up.

This is where people like Eric of Love & Luck Photography come in.  Eric and his wife Lexi run their photography business together out of Mason City, doing shoots of all sorts of events.  Their services include:  maternity, senior, family, children, weddings, engagements, couples, newborns, even headshots!  They also attend many local events to take wonderfully candid shots.  And of course, Love & Luck offers photo shoots of you and your pet.  Jared and I were thrilled with our shots with Riley from last fall; Eric was great with our pup, and he brought props that looked very cute in the photos.

Last year, Eric volunteered to take some time and photograph the animals at the HSNI, hoping that some quality photographs could help them get adopted.  He patiently spent several hours among restless labs, playful kittens, and hard-to-photograph black dogs and cats.  The next day, some photos were up and edited for us to look at...and they took our breath away!  The perspective Eric uses to photograph the shelter animals allows you to see a side of the animal you usually don't get to see when they're in a kennel - the cats look much more unique and playful, and each dog's personality is shown perfectly.  His animal photography, in my opinion, is museum-quality work - I even have an "animal-themed" gallery wall featuring some of his pieces, including the two photos below.  Since then, he comes back to the shelter (as well as some others in the area) every few months to take new pictures.

(The other staff members loved this photo so much, Eric blew it up and made it into a canvas for the shelter!)  And FYI; here is the original photo of Boss - who is a total goofball and not intimidating at all - what a difference a photo can make!

Amazing, right?!  Anyway, without further adieu, here is my interview with Eric of Love & Luck Photography!

First, tell me a bit about yourself.  How did you and your wife start Love & Luck Photography?
I have always had a love for photography. We started off very small working out of our home; although I have taken many photos, our first actual photo shoot was my son’s newborn photos. This photo shoot happened within an hour of coming home from the hospital. This was in 2011; now a few years later, we are in our own photography studio and our business is thriving - it was not an overnight success. We may not get much sleep but we are doing what we love, and that is what matters. 

How did you decide to start volunteering your time to photograph shelter animals?
Both my wife and I have had animals that were special to us in our childhood. My wife is extremely allergic to animal hair and we cannot get a pet. Although we cannot adopt a pet I can still do my part to help.

The work that you have done definitely helps to get the animals noticed and adopted, and I think that is mostly because you are able to capture really perfect moments that show off the animal's personality.  Is there a certain moment or "magic" that you try to capture when photographing animals?  What is your goal during each shoot?
My goal during every photo shoot with an animal is to capture that image that really speaks to people. I love to get the photo where their eyes are speaking to the viewer; capturing the bond a pet and owner has is what I strive for.

What is the most difficult thing about taking photos of animals?  Do you prefer taking shots of animals, humans, or something else completely?
You cannot pose an animal so I really have to be on my toes and in the moment.  I have a general love for photography so I like taking photos of anything and everything.

What is the most rewarding thing about volunteering for shelters?
Even having just a small part in bringing a great pet to their forever home makes me feel like volunteering is completely worth every minute.

Any more shelter photo shoots in your future?  What can we expect next from Love & Luck?
Yes, definitely. Love & Luck is in the process of expanding. We are getting a larger studio space and will have a room specifically for newborn photography. So look for many new and exciting things coming from Love & Luck in 2014 including lots of new products and Pet Mini Sessions!

We can't WAIT to see what's next for Love & Luck Photography!  Again, they are located in Mason City, and they have a shop as well where they sell many handmade items, like children's hair accessories and adorable crochet headbands/hats!  All photos are obviously courtesy of Love & Luck Photography.  I highly recommend Eric and Lexi for any event you may need photographed - they do amazing work!

Look for other interviews (hopefully every Monday) in the weeks to come, whether they are from successful shelter pet parents, fosters, animal shelters, or other individuals in the business of animal rescue!  You can also contact me if you'd like to be featured on the blog :)  As always, thanks for reading!



  1. Eric does an amazing job and is so patient! Those two adorable puppies on the page are mine and it took a while to get them to sit still to get that photo, but Eric did a wonderful job with Otis and Butch!! Best photography in Mason City!! Great job, Eric and Lexi!

    1. I agree! After seeing the work they can do, I don't think I'd go anywhere else for photography in the future! Thanks for reading :)

  2. Great interview! Thanks for sharing Eric's work and photos.

  3. What gorgeous photos! I hope they help the dogs find perfect forever homes.