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Check Out Abby Moreno’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Abby Moreno.

Hi Abby, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I first thought of starting a pet photography business when I was recovering from surgery in March 2019. Since I was off from my day job, I had a lot of time to think about things I would love to do that would bring me and others joy. For a few years prior, I had done photography as a hobby. I especially loved going to dog events and taking photos of dogs enjoying themselves! I quickly discovered a spark of joy within me when I took photos of dogs looking into the camera. There is nothing quite like it when I make a connection with a dog’s soul through my lens.

I love having an outlet that makes me feel creative and artistic. I’ve never considered myself to be either one but photography has helped me to define “creative” in a broader way. I realized that fear was holding me back from embarking on my pet photography journey. I figured since I had made it through something as scary as major surgery then I could certainly take the plunge and start my pet photography business!

As for the name of my business (Paws Fur Joy Photography) I knew I wanted a name that was a sort of play on words. I’m a big proponent of mindfulness (being present in the moment). I’ve found that being present and mindful helps me to appreciate moments that bring me joy. It’s quite obvious that pets bring so much joy into the lives of so many people. What I strive to do with photography is spread joy to pets and humans. I’m also big on the fact that our dogs can bring joy not only to us but also to other dogs. That’s why I do fundraisers that often focus on dogs as the source of support for other dog rescues. I’ve created a photography fundraiser called Project Paws-Giving in the past that raised just under $3000 for three local rescues and recently did a calendar contest benefiting Best Friend Pet Adoption that raised $7000.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I wouldn’t say it has been either a smooth or rough road. It’s more been a journey of learning and self-discovery. I had not owned my own business before and truly enjoy learning as I go along. There is always something more to learn and I anticipate continuing to learn as long as I’m in business. I think a big part of making my journey a smoother one is having the support of my husband. He always supports me in anything pet photography-related! Additionally, I’ve found a large source of support from other pet-related business owners as well as people involved with animal rescues throughout the Triangle.

One mission I have is to educate pet parents about the benefits of having a professional pet portrait session. Many people have experienced getting their own portraits done or family photos. However, our pets are important family members and deserve a proper portrait too! I think more and more people are realizing this as it seems that pet photography has grown in popularity over the years.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
For me, a portrait session is so much more than showing up and clicking a button. I treat each portrait session as a celebration of all the gifts your pet has given you. Take a moment to think about what gifts your furkid has brought into your life. Perhaps love, joy, hope, companionship? During our pre-session consultation, I’ll learn all about your pet’s gifts and your story together. I strive to showcase and celebrate these gifts within each image. I include not only pets but their people as well!

Currently, my sessions are on location (in local parks/gardens or in-home) sessions. I enjoy taking photographs of dogs in their natural environment/dogs being dogs. I want them to be themselves and so taking photos of them where they like to hang out (as opposed to indoor studio) really lets them shine. My top priority is making sure your pet is as comfortable as possible. To that end, my sessions are always pet-led. That means that I let your pet set the pace based on their comfort level. If they need more time to warm up or get used to the camera, I take that time. I take many breaks during sessions to make sure your pet is having a blast! Pet parents often come to me doubtful that their pet will be able to pose. It makes me proud when I can show them that their dog is a natural cover pup! I have plenty of tricks up my sleeve to achieve this!

I place a high importance on connecting our community. I think dogs are a great ice-breaker and help us connect with other people. I love being involved with fundraisers, pro bono rescue animal portraits, and creating resources for fellow pet parents. I’ve created one of the most comprehensive dog-friendly guides and pet event lists you can get through joining my email list.

I specialize in creating products that pet parents can display on their walls, shelves, mantles, and desks. While I do include digital photos in most of my packages, I feel that it is so important to have a physical product from our portrait session. Too many times, I’ve heard of photos sitting on hard drives, USB drives becoming obsolete, or photos being printed on printers that don’t reflect the true color of an image. The end result of our portrait session together is to create a visual legacy of your furkid. Imagine many years down the road passing a photo of a favorite dog and getting a burst of that same positive emotion or gift that you remember so well. That is nearly impossible if digital files are sitting on your computer, unopened.

Risk taking is a topic that people have widely differing views on – we’d love to hear your thoughts.
I’m pretty introverted by nature. Initially starting this business putting yourself out there for me involved some moderate amount of risk. I recently learned of a quote: “Shy people starve.”- Peter Pham. I’ve found this to be true in my business. So many opportunities have opened up for me by simply asking or telling people what I’m up to. For example for a fundraiser, I did when I was first starting out (Project Paws-Giving). I let several media outlets know about my project. Cary Living Magazine was interested and gave me a large feature story. Advice I would give to anyone starting a business is to tell everyone about what you do, be vocal about it. If people have a favorable experience with your product or service they will become your cheerleaders.

I think risk-taking for the sake of risk-taking isn’t a good idea in business of course. But if you can take a calculated risk then it has the potential to really pay off. For example, I’ve invested in trainings, courses, and services that have helped give me a knowledge boost that would have taken me many months or more to get the same results. Depending on what type of risk, there is often fear getting in the way. It helps me to remind myself that fear is just an indication that we are moving outside of our comfort zone. Many good things such as goals and dreams are situated outside of our comfort zone.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Abby Moreno of Paws Fur Joy Photography

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