Top Model Pets with Santos Román Pet Photography Studio
Capturing your pet's star quality is all in a day's work for this Barcelona-based pet photographer.
Katy and Shell are two style-savvy dog mums celebrating the best in pet-friendly living. A professional pet photographer and dog lifestyle writer, together they share dog-friendly inspiration, pet product reviews, dog treat recipes, expert pet advice and on-trend dog brands with discerning pet parents around the world.
If you’re ever in Barcelona with your dog, you’ll want to add this stop to your itinerary – the renowned pet photography studio of Santos Román.
Now, if you’re an obsessed dog mum like us, you very likely anthropomorphise your pup like we do (ie. you think your dog’s behaviour is based on human emotions. Guilty!)
It’s this fascinating, I-swear-they-are-secretly-human character to pets that is so brilliantly captured by Santos.
But his talent doesn’t end there. Santos brings to life the adorable, quirky personalities of pets – and their often human-like expressions – in a glossy, highly professional studio setting.
The end result? A stunning visual portrait where your pet is celebrated as the star they are.
And take it from us…as well as being the dog mama editors here at Pretty Fluffy, we’re also pet photographers! So, when we stumble across the incredible work of a fellow pet photographer, we simply have to share it.
We sat down with Santos to chat about how his unique pet photography style was borne from a career in advertising photography, and his big love for animals.
What inspired you to become a pet photographer?
From a very young age I was passionate about photography. I just started taking pictures of whatever was in front of the camera!
Later I studied photography and cinema at a school in Barcelona, and kept practicing and learning new photographic techniques.
I then worked for several years as a photographic assistant in an advertising studio in Barcelona, until one day I discovered the wonderful work of British photographer Tim Flach, who is renowned for his highly conceptual images of animals.
From that moment I knew I wanted to be a pet photographer. In this way I joined my two passions in life; animals and photography.
“Your pets should look like the top models they are.”
How did your advertising background influence your style of pet photography?
After working in advertising studios over many years, I came up with a pioneering idea – to be one of the first specialised pet photography studios in Spain. So from 2008, I exclusively dedicated my work to animal photography for private and commercial clients.
I was very influenced by advertising photography because I liked the look of sharp and very aesthetic images. I soon discovered that my style would give my clients the amazing opportunity to see their dog or cat as the star of an advertising campaign.
After all, your pets should look like the top models they are!
You’ve attended many exhibitions, what do you love most about them?
What I love about the exhibitions I have attended in Spain and New York is sharing my work with people and seeing their responses in person. Photo exhibitions are such a great opportunity to meet fellow animal lovers in person and connect with one another.
It seems that everything nowadays moves on social networks, but it’s very important to me to continue doing things in the real world, face-to-face. Especially as my work has such a personal element to it.
What’s your secret trick to get a cat or dog to look at the camera?
I have several tricks, but there is one that never (or almost never) fails…food, food and more food!
I have also developed a series of sounds that, when used at the right moment, will attract their attention.
However, you can’t overuse this trick because they get used to the sounds quickly. Pets are so intelligent, so you need to be a step ahead!
Do you have a memorable story from a photo shoot?
An emotional session I remember was when a client came with her puppy in her arms. He was very sick, and sadly they needed to put him to sleep the next day. He was very weak but they still wanted at least one photo so they could remember him forever.
On the day we captured some beautiful images of him. When the owner joined in the photographs with him, there were moments of both happiness and tears. It was really very emotional.
What is your number one tip for taking better photos of your pet?
Most people take photos of their dogs and cats with their mobile phones, which is a good option to get those spontaneous and memorable photos.
So my first tip, although it sounds somewhat obvious, is to clean your mobile camera before taking the photos! This way your photos will come out much sharper.
Another tip to make your pet stand out is to use a plain background. When the background is clear, there aren’t so many elements in the photo that distract from what is really important – your pet!
About Santos Román
My career in advertising photography started more than a decade ago, before exclusively dedicating my work to animal photography.
In 2008 I started one of the first pet photography studios in Spain, and have since worked for commercial clients such as Purina, Natures Variety, Zoetis, Scalibor and Visán among others.
My images speak to a common theme: the love between people and their best friends. A caress, a smile, a subtle gesture that connects people with their faithful companions – the moments that make our relationship with pets so special.
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