There are contests for just about anything you can name, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for another, especially if it’s different, easy to join and helps a good cause, not to mention involving some of our favorite creatures.
Photographer David Emberling of Weston has just such a contest in mind, the area’s first Pet Portrait Contest, planned for Feb. 14-28.
Mr. Emberling’s specialty is families and pets. So pet portraits are right in his sweet spot. Here is how the contest works: Just call him at his studio (203-226-1836) and make an appointment for him to take a picture of your pet. The only fee is 10 pounds of dog or cat food. All the food will be contributed to the Connecticut Humane Society in Westport.
The contest is open to all domestic animals that can be photographed in a studio. There is no geographic limitation as to where pets reside. The photos will be judged for a variety of categories: most creative, funniest, cutest and other classifications. The top 12 winners will be featured in a 2016 calendar to be distributed by the Humane Society as a fundraiser.
The contest is co-sponsored by 12 area pet-related businesses and vets: Earth Animal in Westport; Puppies of Westport in Norwalk; South Wilton Veterinary Group; Pet Pantry in Wilton; Natural Pet Outlet in Bridgeport; Best Friends Pet Care, Norwalk; Southport Veterinary Center; Cannondale Animal Clinic, Wilton ; Paw Radise Grooming, Wilton; Norwalk Animal Hospital; Pooch Hotel, Norwalk; Canine Company, Wilton.
After Mr. Emberling takes pictures of their pets, each owner comes back to pick a favorite photo. These are taken to the sponsors who each pick one for each month of the calendar and one for the calendar cover. Each sponsor will have a gift for the pet they’ve chosen (toys, a free exam). The grand prize winner, on the front of the calendar, will receive a family portrait session with Mr. Emberling and a framed wall portrait of the pet and the pet’s family.
This is a first for Mr. Emberling, though he’s made many donations to help animals in need. “I got the idea from Lori Craft, who’s been doing this successfully in the Midwest.” Appointments for the Feb. 14-28 contest can be scheduled now by calling Mr. Emberling’s studio at 203-226-1836. A special price list will be offered to those who want to purchase portraits of their pets.
All the dogs that are photographed will be somewhere in the calendar. “I’ve been photographing animals and pets for quite a few years. It’s one of my major specialties,” said Mr. Emberling, who has three golden retrievers and two rabbits. “Retrievers are high energy dogs!” he said.
“I’ve done a couple of things to help the Humane Society, but I wanted to do a big thing. All sessions will be in the Weston studio at 103 Weston Rd. I’ll welcome people and pets from all over, any animal that can be transported.”
“My wife Stapley and I have been in the business of pet pictures for years. Our first studio was in New York City in 1994. We had a studio in Stamford and moved to Weston in 2000,” he said.
“Priscilla Clark of the Humane Society will be selling the calendars and that will be additional help for these wonderful animals. I’ll be paying for the printing of the calendars. Everyone who enters will get a free calendar. Who knows? This may be the beginning of a modeling career for a pet. I’ve had my pet photos in movies,” said Mr. Emberling. There is a show of his photographs at the South Wilton Veterinary Group, 51 Danbury Road, Wilton (203-762-2002).