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Robyn Pope

Haute Dog Pet Photography
Leading Women

Robyn Pope

Haute Dog Pet Photography

Robyn Pope Haute Dog Pet Photography
BY Cheryl Ricer | Photos by Kenny Richard Photography | Photos by Haute Dog

Robyn Pope is celebrating 10 years as owner of Haute Dog Pet Photography and is the first to admit that she has the greatest job on the planet — photographing dogs and horses — but she’s also quick to share that it’s more than that. “I thought initially, ‘I have the best job because I get to play with dogs and horses all day,’” said Robyn. “But even better is that I get to become friends with and work with people who are equally as obsessed with their dogs and horses as I am.”

A leader in the pet photography industry, Robyn is always looking for ways to take the Haute Dog experience to new levels and draws inspiration from travel, fashion, and partnerships with other businesses that align with her mission to celebrate pets’ larger-than-life personalities. Robyn offers flying dress photoshoots with dogs and horses inspired by the famous photos in Santorini, Greece; high fashion “Vanity Fur” portraits modeled after Mark Seliger’s Vanity Fair portraits at the Oscars; and luxury dog birthday party photoshoots in conjunction with The Barkday Planner.

Robyn Pope Haute Dog Pet Photography

One of the most innovative aspects of Haute Dog is the seven-acre fenced studio dedicated to dog photography. As her business evolved, Robyn kept running across the same problem: public parks and venues didn’t offer the high-end experience she wanted to create for her clients.

“Originally, we struggled to find locations because everybody would want all these different features that didn’t exist in one place,” she said. “So, in 2018, we purchased a property that allows us to create all our own sets and to manage the space. It’s amazing for dogs who are selective, reactive, nervous, or energetic because as much as possible, we control the environment here.”

Robyn’s studio is called “Fursailles®” after the Gardens of Versailles, which were curated specifically for the enjoyment of the King of France. “Fursailles®,” on the other hand, was curated and designed specifically for the pleasure of Haute Dog clients and their canines. Over the years, Robyn has developed and continues to add different sets, including a tree-lined pond with a dock, a red barn, a vintage truck, open fields with epic sunsets, an indoor studio, and the opportunity for dogs to run around off-leash in a safe and secure place.

“Fursailles® adds an amazing level of enjoyment for owners to watch their dogs having so much fun in this secure, special, and picturesque space,” said Robyn.

Robyn Pope Haute Dog Pet Photography

Robyn also shared that some of her most meaningful shoots are the hardest — the end-of-life portraits.

“We work with dozens of clients each year whose animals are aging or ill,” she shared, “sometimes at the beginning of prognosis and sometimes just a day before they go to the Rainbow Bridge. Those sessions take an extra piece of my heart.”

This month Haute Dog will be launching a new collaboration with EverAfter, a service that takes a small portion of pets’ ashes and creates artwork from their molecular makeup under the microscope. The art resonated with Robyn, who spent years examining life through microscopes for her degree in neurobiology, physiology, and behavior. To accompany end-of-life sessions, Haute Dog Pet Photography will be offering unique art pieces combining portraits of their clients’ pets in living form alongside the memorial artwork created by EverAfter.

Like many photographers, Robyn had a camera in her hand from childhood. But her education started in a different space than most. Robyn initially earned a master’s in forensic science and learned the rules of photography in crime scene class. She joined the FBI, where for 14 years, she honed her leadership skills and analytic tradecraft which assisted her success as an entrepreneur. “I absolutely loved my job,” said Robyn, who worked everything from crimes against children to counterintelligence, “but my heart is with pets and the people who love them.”

Robyn Pope Haute Dog Pet Photography

In 2010 Robyn met and fell in love with her “heart dog” Jake, a Bernese Mountain Dog whom she recently lost after 12 years together. “I started taking pictures of Jake because I wanted to find a way to make him live forever,” said Robyn. “I didn’t want just ‘cute pictures of him under a tree.’ I wanted to be able to see and feel Jake’s personality and have that piece of him live on in his portraits.”

Activating that passion inside of Robyn morphed into her working with rescue groups taking pictures of dogs who needed homes. “The biggest thing people need to see from shelter dogs is their personalities,” she explained. “My goal was to use the camera to elicit each dog’s personality and attract potential owners to their perfect match.”

It didn’t take long for people to start asking Robyn to photograph their dogs as clients and for her business to grow so big that she needed more space. She left the FBI to pursue being a full-time entrepreneur, and now her business caters to private and commercial clients around the world.

Robyn Pope Haute Dog Pet Photography

“We’ve had the pleasure of photographing thousands of dogs and hundreds of horses and working with everybody from my neighbor to international companies like Lionsgate Entertainment, a variety of pet brands, and more,” said Robyn, “and we just absolutely love every moment of it.”

Photographing dogs and horses are two different animals — literally and figuratively. With dogs, Robyn’s photographic style is more of a whimsical and fun approach whereas with horses, most horse owners are looking for something that documents the elegance, refinement, and sheer beauty of horses. But with each, Robyn’s portraits capture the individuality of each animal.

As Robyn celebrates a decade of Haute Dog Pet Photography, plans are underway for a must-not-miss original: The Dog Mom Prom, an epic client-appreciation celebration.

“We’re encouraging everybody and their dogs to wear fun prom attire,” said Robyn. “It’s going to be quite the night. We know that our canine dates aren’t going to stand us up and they’re going to look quite dapper.”

“I started taking pictures of Jake because I wanted to find a way to make him live forever. I didn’t want just ‘cute pictures of him under a tree.’ I wanted to be able to see and feel Jake’s personality and have that piece of him live on in his portraits.”