More and more young people are moving to the Midwest to start their careers and families. And if they’ve got an affinity for furry friends, that often comes with the addition of a new pet to the household. With so many naturally stunning places to take your dog, as well as spacious homes for your cat — even if they’d be happy in a box — Ohio is a great place to settle. Cleveland, in particular, is home to plenty of dog parks and pet businesses. These Cleveland pet photographers have their cameras at the ready to capture all of those moments. We get that your pets are full-fledged members of the family, so treat them that way! Capture them forever with the perfect portrait.
Who better to start off a list of our favorite Cleveland pet photographers than the winner of CLE Dog Magazine‘s best pet photographer four years in a row? That man is Greg Murray, and he loves animals — especially pooches. Greg lives in the Cleveland area with his wife and their two rescue pups, Kensie and Leo. Before taking up photography, he worked desk jobs until deciding to leave to pursue his passion. He up and left the corporate world in 2014 and, two years on, had a book deal for the now-published Pit Bull Heroes.
Greg is also passionate about helping animals in need, regularly donating photo sessions of dogs looking for their forever homes. Pet photography is a tricky specialty, since many pets get nervous or don’t cooperate. Seasoned pros like Greg know how to use their technical skills to ensure the perfect lighting and focus, letting the pet’s personality shine through.
Leigh Roth began her career as an art director and designer. While working toward earning her bachelor’s degree in graphic design, she was also honing her photography skills. In 2009, Leigh established her photography business as a side hustle. Photography, however, was about to win out. Soon leaving her corporate job to concentrate on her business full-time, before long she was heading Cleveland’s premier newborn photography studio.
A decade on, Leigh is just as excited about shooting portraits, and her pet portraits are to die for. Looking through her portfolio, you’ll see a lot of happy, smiling pets reacting to Leigh’s energy. You can’t be adept at pet photography without having a way with animals, and Leigh certainly does.
Easily one of the best family photographers in Cleveland, Genna Cameron loves people. As a people person, she’s never short of something sweet to say, making her clients feel at ease every moment of their session. Mom to five fur babies, she’s always ready to play and laugh with everything from boisterous puppies to relaxed older pooches. Capturing milestones is important to Genna, as is working together to get the best results possible.
Every now and then, she sets up fun mini sessions for kids and pets. If your fur baby is your valentine, look no further. Most of her pet photography is shot in the client’s home as opposed to a dedicated studio space, which is a particularly good option for pets that are more comfortable in their normal surroundings.
4. Claudia Nichole of C.Nic Photographs
Claudia Nichole is a Cleveland transplant hailing from the sunny city of Los Angeles, CA. Since moving to Cleveland, she’s rescued three dogs, a cat, and even some reptiles (after all, not every pet is furry). Her passion for photography began in 2007 when she was capturing live music. Starting as a live music photographer, she learned a lot about lighting very quickly. For a while, she was also a photographer for the Walt Disney Company. These days, she’s providing the Cleveland area with wedding sessions and portraits of humans and all creatures great and small. Her shots are bright, playful, and quirky — just like your animals are.
5. Laurel Dauphin of Candy Stick Photography
Former marketing specialist Laurel Dauphin gave up her 9-to-5 career to pursue photography. The Ohio State University graduate worked in marketing for seven years before pulling the plug. In 2012, she opened Candy Stick Photography. Providing newborn photography to Ohio and beyond, Laurel isn’t only interested in working with human clients. On the contrary, she loves taking pictures of pups and kits.
Last year, Laurel took some shots for Pitties and Kitties, a no-kill rescue shelter where her adorable pet portraits helped animals find their forever homes. She’s got a particular talent for incorporating cute set pieces and props, giving her pet photos a different vibe from the norm.
Lacey Jewel is a born-and-raised artist. Photography won her heart on a road trip to El Paso, where she first bought a camera and took pictures of everything she could. Upon returning home, she discovered photography was her calling and set out to make her dream a reality. In 2009, after working in a portrait studio, she started her own business. Donating proceeds from every pet session she conducts to local animal charities, Lacey is a Cleveland pet photographer who gives back. Look to her for creative, stylish pet photography sessions with a hip, photojournalistic or lifestyle aesthetic.
Principal photographer Barbara Merritt is an incredibly talented artist. After being gifted her first Pentax back in 1992, she was hooked. For more than 20 years, Barbara has been in the pursuit of figuring out the perfect photograph — however aware she is of its impossibility, she’s not about to stop searching anytime soon. When the studio she was working at in 1997 closed its doors, her own photography business was born. Since then, she’s become the owner of 818 Studios in Tremont, hosting gallery openings for artists from all over the world. And while her extensive list of exhibitions prove her clout, her unique pet portraits are something to behold.
8. Heather Swaney of Nothing But Nub Pet Photography
Heather Swaney is two things above all else: a photographer and a dog mom to Digi and Leo. Heather’s been behind the lens in one way or another for the last two decades. And while composition and technical issues are important to her craft, her primary care is building relationships with her clients — be they furry, newly born, or ready to begin the next step of her life. Owner of the Pixure This! Photo Studio and business, Nothing But Nub Pet Photography, Heather believes in printing what’s important and what matters.
Pet portrait photographers are a different breed of creatives. Having portraits of your pets taken is something more people should do, and with so many talented Cleveland pet photographers on hand, you’re spoiled for choices.