Want a Stylish Photo With Your Pup? This NJ Photographer Specializes in Pet Portraits

Stephanie Blum Photography celebrates the "intimate bond" between people and their pets.

Photographer Stephanie Blum poses for a self-portrait, with photogenic pup Jay, among colorful florals

Photographer Stephanie Blum poses for a self-portrait, along with photogenic pup Jay, who is being raised by Blum and her husband as a potential Seeing Eye guide dog. Photo: Courtesy of Stephanie Blum; hair and makeup by Ericka Medina; blossoms by Colly Flowers in Morristown

When Stephanie Blum spent her early years in fashion as director of merchandising for Calvin Klein’s design team, she didn’t foresee her future as a full-time photographer specializing in pet portraiture.

“I love this job because I always wanted to work with people and their animals,” Blum says. “Growing up, my family had a lot of rescue animals, so I’m comfortable around pets, and I know how to read a dog’s body language.”

She adds, “Pets are beloved family members, so clients like to include them in professional images to celebrate their intimate bond.” Blum also captures the likenesses of solo humans and other critters in her Mendham Borough studio.

Full services with Stephanie Blum Photography begin with an at-home consultation to meet adults, kids and pets in their own environment. “Understanding how my clients live helps me envision a creative concept that will represent their authentic style,” she says. “It’s also good for animals to meet me before they visit the studio.”

Clients choose Blum because she makes photo shoots stress free by suggesting what to wear, providing professional hair and makeup artists, and offering posing guidance.

After the shoot, it’s time for the big reveal. Images are immediately available for viewing, and clients can select from digital portraits, heirloom-quality photo albums, and framed wall-art options.

Blum usually works with canine clientele because, she explains, “cats are not always willing participants.” However, she would be happy to collaborate with cooperative kitties, as well as horses, birds, bunnies or reptiles.

Blum and hubby Michael Ansell have two pups of their own: 12-year-old Winnie and 11-year-old Benji. In 2023, the couple volunteered as foster parents in the Morristown-based Seeing Eye’s puppy-raising program. Last November, they brought home Jay, a 7-week-old black Labrador retriever, and they are teaching him socialization and good manners for one year.

“I wanted to give back to the community because I’m blessed with good vision,” says Blum. “Michael and I are delighted to raise Jay to one day serve a visually impaired person.”

She is also working on a “pet project” in her spare time. Later this year, Blum will release a coffee-table book that features her portraits of rescue dogs and their poignant backstories. Proceeds will benefit See Spot Rescued, a Jersey City nonprofit dog-rescue organization that re-homes lucky pooches.

Stephanie Blum Photography, 2-A Hilltop Road, Mendham; 732-598-1291.

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