LONG ISLAND CITY — Strike a paws!
Long Island City dogs — who already have plenty of canine day care centers and dog-friendly restaurants — now have their very own photographers.
Two animal lovers, Junenoire Mitchell, 32, and Arianys Wilson, 27, founded KiKi LIC Photography, which specializes in pet photography (Kiki was the name of Mitchell’s first cat), last year.
Since then, they have photographed roughly 250 pets, mostly dogs: some on the LIC waterfront (although a permit is required to photograph in Gantry Plaza State Park), others at their homes or on neighborhood streets.
Some of the photos are serious, other hilarious.
"Our pictures are meant to capture the candid moments, the essence of the dog and what people love about their dog,” Mitchell said. “Something that people cannot do with their iPhones.”
The two met when they worked on a project for 3rd Ward, an art space in Brooklyn. They each have other photographic businesses as well — Wilson specializes in children’s photography and Mitchell in model headshots.
But when they realized the abundance of dogs in Long Island City, they saw an opportunity.
Working as a team makes it easier, they say, especially when they are dealing with pets who aren’t all that interested in staying still.
So, first Mitchell gets the pets to sit and tries to make them comfortable using any means that come to mind.
“Sometimes they just want to play,” she laughs. “It requires a lot of patience. I have the treats and I give really good head rubs.”
Then, Wilson takes pictures.
“Dogs are not camera shy,” she says. “They are similar to kids sometimes: you just can’t tell them what to do. If they don’t like something, they will just go away.”
A photo shoot lasts until the dog, or their owners, get tired, they say.
Usually they don’t use props, “because it’s really hard to photograph dogs with clothing,” Mitchell said.
One of the exceptions though, is the Halloween Pawrade, an annual neighborhood dog parade and costume contest organized by BreadBox Café.
Sometimes for Christmas and Valentines cards they also use bowties or Santa hats, but “in general our style is more candid,” Mitchell said.
Price depends on the photo shoot. But usually for $200 dog owners get access to an online gallery of their pet’s pictures that they can post on Facebook or e-mail to their friends. High resolution prints cost extra.
“Our goal is not creating little 4x6 pictures,” Wilson said. “We want people to have 20x30 framed pictures of their dogs on their wall.”
“People love their dogs and it’s an awesome way of honoring them,” Mitchell added.