We had the good fortune of connecting with Kris Phillips and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kris, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The biggest reason I’ve been successful as a pet photographer is that my work really comes from my soul. There’s just nothing else that lights me up like creating a stunning image for a client. No matter what challenges come my way, and there have been a LOT of them, quitting is never an option. When things get difficult my only option is to figure out how to get better. But I think that’s the secret to any successful individual.

What makes me a great pet photographer is a lifetime of experience working with animals. As a child we trained guide-dogs for the blind, as a teenager I started training horses professionally, and after college spent several years working in a wildlife park training wild animals. All of that experience translates during a photo session to endless patience. Looking into a dogs eye and seeing that he want’s to do what we’re asking but this is a new thing in a strange place. I never expect the dogs I photograph to perform, just use endless treats & praise to guide them to being super-models.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I absolutely love creating vibrant beautiful images of pets that are worthy of being hung on the wall. A beautiful image is just the starting point though. I also create custom Wall Art for all of my clients, whether it’s one stunning statement piece or a creative collage which highlight every side of their pets personality. So many photographers these days just snap some photos and then hand over a disk and leave the client to figure out the rest. And most of the time all those image files just end up sitting in a drawer. Enjoyed once and then forgotten. I believe photos, especially images of family should be printed & displayed in a way they can be seen and loved every single day.

But what truly means the most to me is probably the hardest to talk about. Over the years I’ve developed a specialty of what I call “Legacy Sessions”. I work with dogs & owners who are running out of time, these are the images that carry on a dogs legacy of love after they’ve crossed the rainbow bridge. And these are the sessions that mean the most. I get notes from pet parents telling me how much my photos help them grieve. While it breaks my heart, it also means so much to know that I’m providing even a little comfort when someone is going through the hardest part of having a pet.
I’m not just a photographer, I’m a devout dog-mom. So, I feel what my clients feel. I’ve been there, whether it’s wrangling a crazy puppy or saying goodbye to an old friend, I’ve done it. And I believe that authenticity is what draws people to work with me.
Of course being a creative professional isn’t always easy. While I revel in the “creative” part, the “professional” part is always a challenge. I never expected to spend 80% of my time at my computer. As an outdoor enthusiast, staring at a computer when my own dogs sit in the corner and give me sad eyes is brutal. Though I’ll absolutely admit to caving to those big sad eyes and taking a long lunch to take the dogs paddle-boarding. Marketing is especially miserable. Trying to stand out in a super crowded market in an industry that experts called “extinct, thanks to the invention of the SmartPhone”. Of course I have moments of doubt & fear. But I go back and read the emails from past clients telling me how much my work meant to them. And I think about the alternatives of never feeling the burst of excitement I get when I catch an amazing photo of a senior dog that I know will leave the pet parents swooning. Staying focused on those things gets me through the toughest parts.
More than anything I want pet-parents to know that your dog doesn’t have to be perfectly behaved to be picture perfect. I have so many folks tell me they’d love photos of their dogs but their dog would never sit still for them. And I want those people to know that your dog doesn’t have to sit and pose to create a beautiful image. Dogs are dogs and that’s why we love them. So with a little patience and a lot of treats any dog can be a supermodel!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My favorite spots in the city are more city adjacent. When friends come to visit we hit up the natural entertainment. Which usually means a StandUp Paddleboard trip to Chatfield Reservoir. A day hike in O’Fallon Park up past Morrison. Usually a trip to Red Rocks.

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?
I have to give huge credit to my mom. She’s been endlessly supportive at every step in my career. In fact, she’s probably the reason I became a professional photographer. When the concept felt completely overwhelming she sent me an article by a photographer who started out with just a simple point & shoot camera, and expanded it to a thriving business in just a couple years. She’s boosted me up at every rough patch and encouraged me to believe in myself and my work.

Website: https://fureverfriendsphotos.com/

Instagram: kris_furever_friends

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fureverfriendsphotos

Youtube: https://youtu.be/C_xEjpcAWuk

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.