Photographer Becomes Online Sensation With Stunning Dog Portraits

dog photographer catching treat viral fun portraits keegan o'neil floofy studios

A photographer has become an online hit for her striking, fun, and quirky portraits of dogs.

Keegan O’Neil has been a full-time dog photographer since October 2020 and runs her business Floofy Studios with her partner Steve.

O’Neil, who is based in Ontario, Canada, always dreamed of working with dogs when she was younger. However, she tried various other professions before she realized that she could make a living as a dog photographer in August 2019.

“I’ve always loved dogs and when I was younger I hoped to work with them. However, I tried working in a grooming salon and a vet office, I didn’t care for either,” O’Neil tells PetaPixel.

“At the time, I didn’t realize there were any other careers that worked with dogs — I grew up in a small town.

“I ended up working in the dental field for many years until one day, I stumbled upon a studio dog portrait on Instagram and I went home to my partner Steve and was like we should try this!

“I had never used studio lighting before so I started practicing on my own dogs. The next week we decided to throw a free event to build my portfolio.

“We photographed 19 dogs in eight hours for free and the rest is history.”

Today, O’Neil has amassed a huge following on social media and has earned a reputation as “Canada’s top dog photographer.”

@floofystudios The Frenchie had me 😂 #puppy #photoshoot #photography #tiktokpets #cutepets #petlovers #dogoftiktok #doglovers #bigdog #animallovers ♬ Beautiful Things – Benson Boone

She has become well-known for her portraits of dogs as they go to catch a treat — with O’Neil capturing the animals’ amusing reactions as they see the food coming straight toward them and prepare to snatch it from the air.

One of the photographer’s most viral TikTok videos, which has amassed over 19 million views on the platform, gives a behind-the-scenes look into how she shoots these stunning images.

‘Never Force a Dog to Do Something They are Uncomfortable With’

O’Neil says her portraits of dogs mid-catch require a lot of patience and understanding for the animals, many of whom may have never done a photo shoot in a studio before.

“I just love the goofy expressions you can capture mid-catch. It’s an expression you don’t typically see in everyday life,” O’Neil explains.

“Getting the shot can require lots of patience — most dogs have not experienced a photoshoot before so you have to teach them that it is a safe environment by using positive reinforcement training and giving them lots of breaks to decompress.

“It is important to never force a dog to do something they are uncomfortable with.”

However, O’Neil, who shoots with a Canon R6 alongside an RF 14-35mm lens, advises other dog photographers to use a camera with animal face tracking to make the process easier.

“Shooting with a camera that has animal face tracking makes things a lot easier that’s for sure,” the photographer adds.

“Animal face tracking is a setting on your camera that tracks and auto focuses on the animal’s eye to help your shots stay in focus during action or motion.”

O’Neil’s Advice for Aspiring Dog Photographers

O’Neil says that it’s more than possible for other aspiring dog photographers to carve their own careers in the field too.

“My advice is to just start! That’s the hardest part, making that first move,” O’Neil says.

“We also have a fully comprehensive online course and mentorship program available at Floofy Studios that teaches literally everything I know as a dog photographer. From working with the dogs, business/ marketing, equipment, and everything in between.”

More of O’Neil’s work can be found on Floofy Studios website, Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube channel.

More details on Floofy Studios Online Course can be found here.

Image credits: All photos by @floofystudios.