Photographer brings pets into focus with new division of her business

Posted July 02, 2013, at 8:27 a.m.

Debra Bell, owner of Bell’s Furry Friends Photography and Bell Imaging & Design, LLC, knows that family members don’t just have two legs. Sometimes they have four legs or even wings.

Bell’s business, located at 890 Coldbrook Road in Hermon, opened in 2005. Ever since then she’s captured fuzzy family members as part of senior portraits, weddings, family portraits, and for pet-friendly businesses. Bell said it made sense that as her business started taking on more pet clients (and their beloved two-leggers), she would expand to specialize in the pet set.

That resulted in the launch a special division of her business — Bell’s Furry Friends Photography. Bell’s Furry Friends Photography (or BFF Photography) caters fully to the pet set.

“Pets are part of all of our lives,” Bell said. “They bring joy, companionship, and love to individuals and their families, so why wouldn’t I want to celebrate their role in my client’s lives?”

And she’s sharing her knowledge and experience with the public on July 12 from 6-9 p.m. at the Sea Dog Brewing Company on 24 Front Street in Bangor, through a special grand opening event: “Ready for my Close-Up.”

Admission for “Ready for my Close-Up” can come in the form of a cash donation or a pet supply item. Admission items will be split between Bangor Humane Society and the Furry Friends Food Bank. The event is for people only, so make sure to leave Fluffy at home in air-conditioned comfort.

To round out this event, Bell’s business teamed up with five other pet-related businesses — Green Acres Kennel Shop, Best in Show Paws, Mutt Nose Best, Veazie Veterinary Clinic, and Dogn’i Apparel — to show attendees how to help their pet look and feel its best. “Ready for my Close-Up is a pet fair and art exhibition where guests can view Bell’s work, stop by the vendor tables, and enjoy refreshments, plus some surprises. Children are welcome.

All attendees receive a ticket for the door prize drawing and can enter to win drawings throughout the night. Bell has set a goal of $2,000 raised and 2,000 pounds of food and supplies. The money and supplies will go a long way to helping needy animals in the area as well as to offsetting costs, Bell said.

“This event is sure to be a ton of fun,” Bell said. “I’ve teamed up with some amazing colleagues who are as passionate about pets and their owners as I am. Everyone who comes will have a great time and maybe even learn something!”

Starting in 2009, Bell began to develop a niche working with pets. And she has first-hand experience with her own four-legged loved ones: Olivia, a Maine Coon Cat, and Laura, a greyhound. Her experience as a pet photographer grew from a mixture of research, taking dog training classes with her greyhound, and a special mixture of patience and interaction to get just the right shot to please her clients.

“I love the challenge of photographing the true essence of the pet and it’s fun for me to see the pets shine,” she said.  “My training in journalism, including documentary photography, has allowed me to meet the pet where they’re at instead of forcing a pose.”

Bell’s Furry Friends Photography (or BFF Photography) approaches pet photography by focusing on the relationship between pet and owner, even if the images are just of the pet.

“Every pet has a story, and every owner is happy to tell it,” she said. “My role is to listen to my clients tell that story and work with the pet to create heartwarming images.”

But creating heartwarming images is just one aspect of Bell’s business. The other side is giving back. She volunteers with Maine Greyhound Placement Service in Augusta as well as giving back financially to Bangor Humane Society and the Furry Friends Food Bank at Eastern Area Agency on Aging. A percentage of every sale is earmarked for Furry Friends Food Bank.

For more information call Bell at 207-356-2353 or visit “Bell’s Furry Friends Photography” online at Facebook. The company website is bffpetphotos.com.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/07/02/news/bangor/photographer-brings-pets-into-focus-with-new-division-of-her-business/ printed on August 27, 2014