Annie Ballantine’s path to becoming a photographer began in high school. Like many photographers, she was drawn to the beauty of capturing memorable moments. Her career began in photography, including a stint with one of London’s top wedding photographers and a marketing position with a professional portrait company. However, she eventually drifted away from photography. For 17 years, she worked as an insurance agent and sales manager. Then, hassled by chronic back pain from constantly sitting at a computer, Annie became ready for a change.
Bogey, her rescued Redbone Coonhound and Beagle mix, became her inspiration. Annie explained: “Because of her, I started getting back into photography. Then it hit me that I needed to go back to doing what I really loved. I decided to combine photography with my love of animals.” Below, Annie is pictured with Bogey.
In the fall of 2014, Annie officially launched Artful Paws Photography. Annie believes that “every animal has a unique personality and it takes special skill and a lot of patience to truly capture that personality in photographs.” Her photographs speak to this mission.
Annie is an active volunteer at the Fairfax County Animal Shelter. Along with walking dogs and assisting interested adopters, she also contributes her talent. Annie and a team of other creatives work together to help find these animals a forever home. The team creates promotions that include everything from memes to creatively written biographies about the animals.
One of Annie’s favorite photos from her work at the shelter is of Ollie and Missy. Ollie was taken from his mother at a young age and was sold by a puppy mill. His owner surrendered him, covered in fleas, to the shelter. Missy was incredibly patient with the energetic puppy. Annie’s photograph of Ollie and Missy earned the duo media attention. Ollie appeared on a local television show — as soon as he was old enough, Ollie found his forever home immediately.
Annie explains: “Good photography can really help to bring people into the shelter. My photography style is focused on making a connection with each animal that I photograph and capturing their personality. My goal is to create images that will portray the wonderful animals that are available for adoption and make people want to come visit the shelter. It is very satisfying to be able to use my skills to help these animals find homes!”