This month on the SA Amigo Spotlight, we talk to Christy Savarino, owner of Christy Savarino Photography, about her love of animals and what inspired her to start her own pet photography business.
Tell us about what inspired you to start Christy Savarino Pet Photography.
After I received my Associate’s Degree in graphic design, I wanted to find a way to combine my talent and the things I studied with my love of animals. To me, photography and design go hand in hand. I had always received compliments on pet pictures I had taken and even had people ask me, “Where did you get those photos taken?” These were questions about my own photos! Since I love animals, it’s only natural for me to strike a conversation with other animal lovers out there. Eventually, people began asking me to take pictures of their dogs and that’s how it all got started. I wanted to help people capture precious moments of their pets so that they could keep these special moments with them for a lifetime.
You mention that you’ve loved animals since your early childhood days. What did you learn about animals growing up?
I learned that all animals require love and attention. I learned a lot about what responsibility means by watching unfortunate things happen to other animals. Having dogs growing up, you learn that It takes time to work with them. You have to recognize that if you don’t care for them properly, they will develop a lot of health issues and become unhappy. Also, rescue dogs and mixed breeds are awesome! Just because a dog is a rescue dog, doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t have every opportunity to be as happy as a fully bred dog. Some of the best dogs I had growing up were mixed breed rescue dogs.
Speaking of rescue dogs, tell us about your work with Z’s Rescue and Relocation.
I started taking pictures for Z’s Rescue and Relocation back in 2015. The rescue was started by a veteran, Lance Ziebell, who wanted to go the extra mile in order to help animals. I needed practice with photographing different types of dogs, so I went to Lance and asked him if I could take pictures of all the rescues. In exchange for helping me get the experience I needed, he would get pictures of the dogs to help with the adoptions. Immediately, we saw Z’s adoption rates increase because of the pictures.
I love hearing about the rescue dogs’ success stories. There are so many amazing dogs out there, and knowing that I played a small part in getting them adopted really means something special to me.
What are some of the secrets to your success when it comes to photographing dogs?
The most common thing I come across is that people are hesitant about their dogs taking pictures because they believe the dog will not make a perfect photography model. What I really focus on is taking the time with my clients to put them in a fun, safe, and comfortable environment. Safety is always my top priority! The key is to put the dog’s need first and make sure they’re comfortable. Once that’s set, you have a great model!
Do you have any favorite types of sessions?
My favorite sessions would have to be my Pet Cake Smashes! I love being able to celebrate their birthdays just as much as we do ours. I mean, why wouldn't you want their day to be special? I normally do studio sessions with unique setups for each dog. For the final touch, I throw in an organic cake, perfect for your pet, and I just let them have at it!
What message do you have for the community?
Pets need love and attention, especially puppies! I think the key to good pet ownership is being prepared for having a pet and all that entails. You have to care for them and give them all the care necessary to let them live long and healthy lives. Also, all pets deserve a chance to be successful. People have some preconceived notions on certain dogs, especially pit bulls, as being mean or aggressive, but from my own experiences, some of the sweetest dogs I’ve come across have been pit bulls. Love and care for your pet, and share that love and enthusiasm with everybody!