Photographer Daniel Stiles has carved a niche for himself as Chattanooga's most well-known dog photographer and is using his camera to help shelters.
While there is no shortage of dog lovers in the Scenic City, few of them seem to care about our furry friends on the same level as Daniel Stiles. This local photographer is combining his skill with the camera and love of canines to tell the story of man’s best friend and find homes for shelter dogs.
While Daniel has always had a passion for dogs, he had an epiphany one day while looking into the eyes of his black lab mix. He could see a unique individual life behind those eyes and wanted to find a way to show it and the unique personality of other dogs.
“I looked into her eyes like I’m sure I had done several times before, but I just felt something,” Daniel said. “I felt that she was alive. She’s a living being just like me. It rocked my world.”
A big inspiration for Daniel is professional dog trainer Cesar Millan. Watching Millan taught Daniel the idea that people can actually learn a lot from dogs. This idea helped guide Daniel to the mission of his photography: to show the lessons that dogs can teach their owners.
There are three main lessons that Daniel says he has seen owners learn from their dogs. The first is the idea of being present and living in the moment. Daniel says that the dogs he sees are almost always so excited and clearly living to the fullest in whatever situation they are in. This plays into the second lesson of finding joy in simpler and smaller things. He says that one of the big appeals of dogs is how they are able to find so much enjoyment in something as simple as chasing a ball and that if people had a similar mentality they would be much happier. The final lesson owners often tell him is how dogs are always there for their owners and willing to just listen and comfort, and having someone there for them can make all of the difference.
“It blows my mind how dogs are often thought of more fondly than any other person in their owners live,” Daniel said. “All without ever saying a word.”
Daniel makes a special effort to utilize his photography to help find homes for shelter dogs and support local shelters. He often works with Humane Educational Society and just recently did a project with East Brainerd Animal Hospital where he took photos of their shelter dogs and turned them into Christmas ornaments. It was a huge success for the shelter and Daniel himself contributed several gifts to it and other local shelters during the holidays.
“I love photographing shelter dogs and spreading the word that they’re great dogs. It’s so rewarding to adopt a shelter dog!”
Make sure to follow Daniel’s main dog photography page on Instagram,