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Meet David Capron of Dogma Pet Portraits

Today we’d like to introduce you to David Capron.

David, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Dogma Pet Portraits developed from our traditional family portrait studio Emotion Portrait Studios because nearly every time we made a family portrait there was a dog in it, and over the years we’d sold as many portraits of dogs as we had of kids.

So we switched our brains to address the needs of our four legged friends and their humans.

We designed our new Costa Mesa Studio to cater specifically to those families where the dogs are very, (and sometimes most) important personalities in the home.

At the same time, we gradually realized that we’d created a huge niche for ourselves, Family Portraits. I know that sounds a like a strange definition of the idea of a niche, but traditional Family Photography doesn’t cater to people whose dogs are as much part of their family, as another person kids are a part of that family.

So now our definition of a family group is beyond “nuclear” and however you define your family. We cater to same sex couples and their dogs, married couples who decided that kids were not going to be part of their lives, single people whose dogs are their companions, people whose kids have flown the nest, people who have suffered the loss of their partner who have been helped through by their canine companions, young couples before kids and of course the traditional nuclear family with the dog.

We’ve become specialists because a family portrait session with dogs involved is not your usual family portrait session.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
We transitioned to a Dog centric business model at the height of the financial crisis when nothing was very fun, household budgets had become very tight. The amount of people able to buy high end family portraits had constricted, you still had to pay the mortgage and kids still needed to go to college.

We made a plan to maintain as much of the traditional business as we could but really work hard at learning the nuts and bolts of what it took to shoot great dog portraits and how to show that skill set off to the dog community.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
It’s a family business, myself and my wife Sylvaine our duties are pretty clearly split between the everyday workflow and the creative process, neither of us could do this alone.

Roxy our little Shepherd/ Chihuahua mix who just passed, taught us all about the hole that a dog fills in your life even when you knew there wasn’t a hole to fill, all about unconditional love and with her passing a direct line to the grief of all the owners of dog we’ve photographed and who have subsequently passed away, or crossed the Rainbow Bridge, as we say in the canine community.

Businesswise, our real start came from our association with Shawn Buckley at Just Food For Dogs a brilliant businessman with a flawless company, his support was invaluable.

The Dog Rescue community in SoCal has also been magnificent, we throw the studio open to a different rescue every month and shoot their rescue portraits, in return the community has supported us at every turn and it’s been fantastic.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Dogma Pet Portraits

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

2 Comments

  1. Marla

    September 6, 2017 at 05:48

    Dogma is the BEST. Sylvaine and Dave are great to work with and really capture the love between owner and let. I love my pictures…

  2. Janet

    September 5, 2019 at 19:08

    We had pictures taken with our dog right before my husband went to the hospital for treatment. We took the pictures with us and they sustained us during trying times. Everyone who saw our beautiful pictures loved them. David and Sylvaine are the BEST.

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