We had the good fortune of connecting with Linda Pianigiani and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Linda, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Dogs and photography have always been some of my greatest passions. I grew up in Italy, with two beautiful specimens of Siberian Husky and since moving to Los Angeles, I’ve been lucky to spend time with some incredible dogs (thanks to their owners). Dogs have always been in my life, whether in my family or through friends. I even considered a career in dog training and obtained a training certification that is often coming in handy! I would often find myself taking pictures of dogs (this is before Instagram!) and considered starting to take pictures of dogs and turning it into a business a few years ago, but I didn’t pursue it at the time and put it on the back burner. Then, at the beginning of 2018, I took on a personal project, photographing the therapy dogs that are part of the LAX Pets Unstressing Passengers program, a mix of portraits and documentary – and that’s when I realized that this is what I want to do with (at least part of) my life. So, in addition to this personal project, I started marketing my pet portraits services and officially started the business. After realizing that I also enjoyed taking pictures of humans in their environment (work, family, play), I extended my photography business to environmental portraiture as well, for individuals, brands, and businesses.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I specialize in dog portrait sessions, favoring a natural environment setting, with beautiful natural light (early morning or sunset, when it’s not so harsh), sometime enhanced by off-camera flash when needed, to make the portrait vibrant and colorful and add a hint of glamour! My goal is to capture the essence of that special canine companion in people’s lives and make lasting memories so that whether it is a documented story or a few candid shots, their owners can look back and re-live moments that are so very special and also enjoy sharing them with others. When humans want to join in on the fun, I’m happy to incorporate them in the shots! By working with some families in the past, I realized that most of them are missing in their collection is a fun, creative and over the top family portrait with their pets – so I decided to add a Day In The Life session to my offerings, where I spend 4-5 hours with a family creating some one of a kind, fun, quirky, off-the-beaten-path portraits depicting the essence of pet/s and humans, doing what they do best, whether it’s spending a day by the pool, going out on a hike, running at the beach, camping, skiing – whatever your family does as a group, I will photograph and create something unique. Photographing families with their dogs, has also led to me launching the other side of my business, based on environmental and branding portraits (of humans!) At the same time, I believe my mission as a photographer is to help document and bring awareness to the work of phenomenal organizations caring not only for animals, but also and especially for people in need of animals’ immense love and dedication, be them veterans, people with disabilities of any kind, ill and elderly people, and any other humans who may benefit from the presence of a dog. As well as organizations caring for people in need, especially during these dire and difficult times. For that reason, I’m actively working on documentary projects depicting animals (and humans) part of the many organizations doing good around the US and the world, in general. This is definitely what I’m most proud of as a company and as an individual. Working with many different personalities, both canine and human, has helped me be more open and understanding of differences and I try to bring that lesson into my everyday life as well.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh this is easy! The first couple of days I would spend doing a tour of some of the best ethnic restaurants, all the way from DTLA, driving by Silverlake, through West Hollywood and all the way to Santa Monica. To balance out the eating, I’d take them on hikes around the city: Griffith Park, Franklin Canyon… Then, I’d load the car with two bikes, or make sure I have access to them later on. Sorry to betray you, Los Angeles, but after a quick hike by Malibu, I would take them up the coast, with a first stop to “wash out” the work out with a jump in the ocean at Leo Carillo State Beach, and lunch at Neptune’s Net! Then, we’d continue up the coast and stop for a coffee in Summerland, get on the bikes and ride to Montecito, take another dip at the beach there and then proceed to Santa Barbara. It’s the first city I lived in, in the US, and it holds a piece of my heart. I’d take them roaming around town, to La Super Rica (homemade Mexican food – also, I like food in case you didn’t notice), then to a few wineries. I guess we’d have to retrieve the car later on, after the wine… 🙂 I’d finish the trip continuing up the coast, all the way to Monterey and Carmel, and Big Sur. I’m a big fan of nature (after food) and I’d like to show them as much of the coast as possible.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
All the good boys (and girls) out there… meaning, dogs! All of them are a source of inspiration. My friends and family have always been incredibly supporting too, and my life and career would be very empty without them and their input. Lastly, all the great photographers out there who have inspired me, mentored me and continue to share their knowledge and experience with me; to name a few: Christina Gandolfo (www.cgandolfo.com), Marlies Hartmann (www.mhartphoto.com) and Robert Mauriell (www.robertmauriellphotography.com).
Website: www.dographyla.com; www.lindapianigiani.com
Instagram: @dographyla @lindapianigianiphoto
Profile photo: Christina Gandolfo All others: Linda Pianigiani