Photographer Spotlight: Elke Vogelsang



Elke came from a dog loving family where her dog Noodles, made the perfect muse for developing her photography skills as she worked at capturing Noodle’s endearing character and beauty. During her photography journey though, Elke found herself in the position of becoming a caregiver to both her beloved mother-in-law and husband, who was recovering from a health scare himself. During that time, Elke decided she needed a creative outlet to help balance the stress and demands of being a caregiver with some space for creativity and respite. Her first attempt at finding that space through photography was by starting a one-picture-a-day project in 2010. Elke found that photography provided her, not only with moments of peace but also allowed her to create something like a visual diary of those difficult times.  

Of those early days Elke said, “My dogs found themselves in front of my camera very often. I had to take them for walks, which was my only spare-time. More and more people asked me if I could photograph their dogs too. Finally, I decided to try to do more of what I love and registered a business as a photographer.”

So with that, in May 2011, Elke made it official and became a professional photographer. Elke has worked tirelessly over the years at improving her photography skills, as well as developing successful marketing and business skills. And while the process can be slow it’s been very rewarding.

“After a few years I was able to leave behind my job as a technical translator and work full time as a professional photographer specializing in pet portraiture. I guess this is my silver lining story,” Elke considered. And that silver lining is full of images that bring not just the pet owners joy, but anyone who is lucky enough to scroll through her portfolio. 

Miley and the floating thingy 1
A dream in pink


What Elke loves most about photography is the opportunity it provides to be creative. While that creativity shows itself in many different styles and forms, she’s found that having a specialization professionally has been the best approach for her. 

Elke explained further, “I think it’s very important to be the expert for one genre and one particular style or topic. Ideally, you want to be the first that comes to a potential client’s mind when thinking about that particular subject. I started out as an outdoor photographer. I loved being outdoors, in nature, with dogs. I decided to get some very basic studio equipment. In those days I found studio photography with dogs boring, therefore, I tried to come up with something I found interesting, which was dogs pulling funny faces while chewing, licking or catching treats.” This approach resulted in more interesting, quirky and unique shots which led to her photos gaining more attention. 

That attention eventually led to Elke focusing on studio photography, specifically commercial and editorial pet photography. Even with her professional focus on this style of photography Elke continues experimenting with other techniques and approaches. She said, ” In my opinion, it’s vital to keep on working on your skills and not be stagnant in what you do.”

Jumper smile
Valentine Ioli


As for gear, Elke is a Fujifilm X photographer and shoots with Fujifilm X cameras. Her go-to camera is the X-T4, which she finds to be reliable and fast. “If you want your equipment to be as versatile as possible, make sure you have a wide-angle zoom and a telephoto zoom, both offering a large aperture of at least f/2.8. That’s what I have in my bag when I’m outdoors with dogs I don’t know, as I want to be as flexible as possible,” Elke explained. 

“Personally, I prefer prime lenses, as they are often more lightweight and offer very high quality at a lower price. My two favorites are the Fujinon XF16mm f/1.4 and the Fujinon XF90mm f/2. My lens of choice in the studio is the Fuji 16-55mm, as I can shoot quirky close-up shots at 16mm and more elegant portraits at 55mm. I also use a strobe capable of high-speed synchronization in the studio; as that’s very handy when working with animals and a bit of action in the studio”

Photography gear isn’t the only equipment she has on hand during her photo shoots. Her clients also enjoy a variety of treats, toys and noisemakers, all which help Elke achieve a variety of expressions, head tilts and that signature quirkiness that make her clients’ personalities shine. 

Scrolling through her Photostream on Flickr, it is difficult to choose a favorite. Here are a few of Elke’s favorites with a little background on each photo. 

“All three images are not particularly in the style I’m known for. It’s difficult for me to find a favorite image among my portraits in the studio, as there are so many images in total and it’s always more about the expressions of the dogs than about techniques or ideas. And I just absolutely adore my models. They are so very different and still so alike. I love grumpy looks as much as I love the happy face. I know that the dogs were happy and enjoyed the treats in my studio. The interaction with the dogs while taking the images is the most rewarding result,” Elke explained.

52 weeks of Wieselblitz - Black and White

52 weeks of Wieselblitz – Black and White”

“This is an image of my dog Noodles. I’m known for my more cheerful and colorful studio shots, but I absolutely adore black and white images and shoot in black and white often when I pursue photography as a hobby. 

When you are a photographer by profession, you feel the need to present to the world those images you think might stand for your style and which you think might sell. This excludes, in my case, dark, moody, grainy, black and white shots like this. This image breaks a lot of rules. I used a wide-angle lens for a more elegant portrait, I added grain in camera and underexposed. I like the image, because it is different and moody. Alright, it also shows my lovely Noodles, which makes me biased. With images like these I don’t expect many people to like it and certainly not to be able to sell it for advertisement. Nevertheless, I decided to send it in via the submission page of a British black and white photographer magazine. They have a section called “The last frame“. To my huge surprise and joy they chose it for the cover of the magazine.”

Harbour reflections

“Harbour reflections”

Another favorite is the shot of Elke’s dog Scout. “This is a very old image which shows my elegant Scout. As I said, I love outdoor photography and reflections are also my favorites. There are very few images which withstand time and I still like this one.”



“This is also a few years old. I shot it as part of a 52 weeks project where you challenge yourself every week with a different photographic topic. Here I challenged myself to only use a prime lens with 50mm (or 35mm on a 1.5 crop camera in this case),” explained Elke. “I tried to find compositions which are a bit different. The image also shows that my dog is a very keen and patient model. I can make her sit in front of a bush and ask her to back up and she will back up into the bush, like Homer Simpson, if you like. The legs and paws were still visible, but I composed the image to try to make it look like only her head is sticking out.”


Say No to chores

Along with photography, Elke has a passion for languages. Before becoming a photographer,  she worked as a translator, focusing on translations for English and Spanish into German. While she no longer works as a translator, she is currently brushing up on her Spanish again. Elke explained, “Learning a language can be a tediously slow process. You have to have lots of motivation to persevere. That’s something I learned by tackling the one-picture-a-day project. If you do something every day, you will inevitably succeed.”

As for her time as part of the Flickr community, Elke said, “ I joined Flickr in January 2011, which was the start of another year of the one-picture-a-day project. The Flickr community is very encouraging and the different groups are inspiring. The features Flickr offers are much better than on other sites. You have many possibilities to sort your images in folders and galleries, which I also use for my clients and licensing archive.” 

To enjoy more of Elke’s photography, make sure to check out her official website and also, give her a follow on Flickr and Instagram!

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