Did you read this title and go wtf? The thought of being a dog influencer would have made me roll my eyes and laugh a few years ago and now I’m full dog mom, dog momager, pr spokesperson, and photographer of all things Ava and Aspen! Check my babies out: http://instagram.com/littlepnwpups.
So where should we start? Let’s go back about a year and a half ago to when I started my Instagram account for my corgi, Ava (formally “avathecorgipup”). I told myself I’d NEVER be an obsessed dog mom… look at me now! I started my Instagram with no goals whatsoever, I simply wanted to share what I still believe is the cutest corgi on the planet with whoever would oblige. I quickly started to follow some fellow dog photography masters and decided to buy a cheap Canon DSLR off of Craigslist. THIS is how I got into photography- thank you Ava and Aspen. I remind myself often how grateful I am that they encouraged me (without knowing) to get into this career path that I am now so in love with.
As we got traction and I got more experience, eventually I continued upgrading my camera body and my lens to where I am now. My gear I almost always have on me is a Canon 6D Mark II and a Canon 35mm f/1.4 lens. At some point along the way I went “hey, I like taking photos maybe I’ll try it with humans.” I got friends to do mini photoshoots with me (you know who you are!) and from there I continued to expand my own business.
Back to the dogs though… within a little over a year I grew my account from 0 to over 25,000 followers. I wish I had some secret sauce or tips but really I was doing what I love with my dogs (hiking, exploring, going to beautiful places in the PNW), capturing it through my lens, and sharing it with the world. In October of 2018 we added our second pup, Aspen, to our family and our followers immediately welcomed him with open arms. Who wouldn’t?!
We are now climbing to close to 40,000 which is insane by the way. With the growth came increased interest from brands. Each deal is structured differently. Sometimes I’m reached out to directly by the company and sometimes its an agency. At times it is more long term, others its a one time post, or even just a group of photos that they are asking for.
At this point in time I would consider our (being the dogs and I) account to be a “dog influencer” account. It was never our goal or something we actively reach out for but it is a piece we integrate into our brand nowadays (more on that below).
As you likely already know, the pet industry is massive. It always has been but it feels even bigger now. The number of products, small companies, brands, etc. that exist alone for dogs is mind boggling.
Some advice, tips, and encouragement when it comes to being a dog influencer:
Honestly, I feel humbled and so lucky to be in the spot that we are when it comes to our account and our accessibility to really cool deals and opportunities we wouldn’t have otherwise. That doesn’t mean that it came easily or that we haven’t work really hard to get here.
Be authentic, be real, and find something unique to share with the world, and just maybe you will get there too!
Check out some more branded photos below for inspiration/fun/curiosity! I’m an open book if you have any questions about being a dog influencer feel free to comment down below or send me an email/DM.
Thank you to you, Ava & Aspen, for not only being my best buds, but guiding me to my passion.
Kelsey Straus is a PNW Elopement +
Intimate Wedding Photographer
based in Portland, Oregon