MEET BARB

It’s all about pets and the people who love them

My name is Barb Hays and I’ve been wild about animals…all of them…for my entire life.  You might have already guessed as much, so onto the not so obvious stuff.

I’m a Yankee transplant by way of Ohio, New York, and Massachusetts, but I’ve learned to say “y’all” and “bless your heart” quite proficiently over the 10 years I’ve lived in Norfolk.

Like a true native Tidewater gal, I don’t go to the beach unless I have friends or family in town.  I take that back…I LOVE doing photo sessions at the beach, or at any one of the beautiful bays or rivers. I now lovingly consider our various bodies of water -My Office- so it’s a rather nice gig to have at this point in life.

Barb with angry birdsI’m a firm believer that if you’re going to do something 40 or more hours a week, it must be FUN, otherwise it’s just WORK, and who wants to work for a living? Pet portraiture is more fun that I ever imagined, and rolling around in a muddy field or splashing through the water with a dog is my idea of the best-day-ever!  It’s a great big, diverse world we have in our little microcosm of Hampton Roads, so there’s no lack of wonderful and unique locations for photos sessions. Is your pup an urban sophisticate, or a beach bum? Is your dog a night on the town sort, or more of a humble hammock hound?  There’s really nothing better than allowing a pup’s personality to shine wherever it is he or she truly lights up.

I spent more than 25 years in the animal sheltering field, so don’t try to convince me that your pup is just too naughty, too wild, or too crabby for professional photos. You should meet some of the wild and unruly crowd I use to hang out with on a daily basis!  I promise that your derelict dachshund, your hyper husky, or your cantankerous Cairn terrier is truly just another day at the office for me.Barb Hays, pet photographer

I currently share my home with a furr-ocious and feathered tribe of 2 dogs (they are quite angelic and obligingly photogenic,) 4 cats (2 of whom never want me to lay a hand upon them,) a gorgeous rabbit (who views me solely as a treat dispenser) and 2 birds, one who came fully equipped with a vocabulary that would make a longshoreman blush.

When I’m not hanging around with my own menagerie, I’m usually outside conquering the world. I attempted my first vegetable garden this year with mostly dismal results, yet I remain undeterred. I proudly harvested two fistfuls of jalapeño peppers, so that’s a start! I love hiking, biking, and battling my landscaping around the home that I share with my ever-supportive partner.

I like to set sail in my kayak, trusty camera in hand, in search of birds to photograph because they make dogs seem so docile and predictable by comparison. I like fast cars (even though I currently drive a hybrid,) and I’m a bit of a daredevil (but reluctantly gave up skydiving after 10 adrenaline pumping years.)  I’m also an admitted beer snob, so the dog-friendly local breweries in Hampton Roads give me two very *refreshing* reasons to get out on the town.

Pet photography takes me places I may have never gone on my own, and affords me an opportunity to meet some of the most incredible and passionate people that I would otherwise never meet. Best of all, I get a whole lot of kisses from dogs who would probably never kiss me if I randomly walked up to them on the street. —Yes, I know exactly how to bribe your dog. 🙂

Let’s get your session scheduled!

“I saw a Windhound of the rarest kind, a sort of unicorn. Magic and Mystic, in its own world, misplaced somewhere between the heavens and earth, poised for a moment on its timeless journey. Blessed are the custodians of the Windhound, for they are guardsmen of an ancient treasure.”

-Unknown

Where does the name “Windhound” come from?

I met my first Afghan hound as a young girl and I’ve been enchanted with these whimsical and elegant sighthounds since that time. These high-speed athletes run like the wind. Thus, they are sometimes called Windhounds. I’ve adopted many Afghan hounds over the years, while also providing temporary foster care for numerous rescued Afghans and greyhounds as they awaited their new homes. I love all dogs, all mixes and purebreds, but my heart belongs to the mysterious and ancient breeds known as the Windhounds. It seems fitting to pay homage to these wonderful dogs who have given me so much joy to honor their lives and memories through my photography business.

Why choose me as your pet photographer?

I speak their language.

No matter how laid back, wild, unruly or cantankerous, I’ve interacted with all kinds of animals during my career in animal sheltering so there isn’t much they can conjure up that can surprise me. I understand unique personalities and behaviors better than most and I’ll work hard to bring out the very best in your pet using only positive reinforcement and a whole bunch of silly noises, toys and tasty treats.

There’s no pressure!

Our time together is meant to be fun for you and your pet. While we’ll have a general plan in mind, your dog will dictate how we go about each session. If your pup needs frequent breaks to burn off energy, I’ll bring out the tennis ball. If he or she is more of a low-key type, we’ll find a quiet spot and have a good ear-scratching session. This is their time to shine, so they’ll be the ultimate architect and we’ll adapt to them.

I’m a perfectionist!

I use only professional-quality camera equipment and post-processing software to make your pet look his or her best. I have many years of experience photographing animals and understand how to capture their individual charm. In the post-processing phase of our session, I will remove leashes, and other distractions from the images. I will make color corrections and tone balancing as I fine-tune each image individually. I offer only the highest quality wall art and albums, so your images will make your heart happy for decades to come.

I have years of experience.

I have a degree in Animal Science and a degree in Psychology/Animal Behavior. I know what makes animals tick and it certainly comes in handy with photography. I’ve also been lucky enough to photograph thousands of shelter animals over many years. There is nothing better than knowing a deserving animal found the next love of their life because of a high-quality image.

Quality matters.

This isn’t a weekend hobby or side gig for me; this is my full-time profession. I promise you’ll have a fun experience with the highest level of service from start to finish, and our session will result in amazing images from a dedicated professional.

I give back.

I will always be an advocate for homeless and unwanted animals that pass through our local shelters each year. A portion of each session is donated to an area animal shelter to assist the pets in their care.