Pet Connections

Kim Lenz – Behind the Lenz Photography

Spotlight is a recurring column that highlights Pittsburgh PetConnections artists and photographers that regularly give back to the animal welfare community. For more information on how to submit a person or business, please email with “spotlight” in the header. 

Kim Lenz – Behind the Lenz Photography

Yes, that’s her real name. Kim Lenz has felt a special connection to animals all her life, and spent the past four years contributing to their welfare as a volunteer photographer.  She visits local shelters to take pictures of the residents and help with web and social media postings, and also does portraits of owned animals, including their human families.

“Shelter animals are one of my biggest passions. I feel the need to give them the best photo they can get, so they can find the perfect home,” says Kim. Take a look on any shelter site, and feel the emotion from a great photograph, and you’ll see why her work is so important. Every animal has a story, but only a small chance of getting an opportunity to tell it. Kim’s photos grab people and make them wonder about the animals looking back at them.  

Do shelters animals like having their pictures taken? “Most of the time they don’t mind. The dogs, anyway. Cats sort of do their own thing.” Cat owners can relate to that. Kim says patience is the biggest part. “If an animal wants to wander around, I go with it. If they step away from the backdrop, so be it. I want them to feel comfortable.” And from the results that she gets, you really see their personalities. She says she usually does more dogs, because she relates to them better, but is willing to take on anything. “I’ve done chinchillas, those were fun. And a snake, which was one of my biggest fears. And horses. I’d love to get involved with a horse rescue. Owning my own horse makes me appreciate them on a personal level, and want to help.” 

Kim spends about 4 hours each week on location taking photos, and another 2-4 at home editing them. Most shelters like to have the animal names on the photos, as well as the organization and identifying information. Great photos get passed around and shared, and it’s important to know where the picture came from, in case someone is interested in adopting.

There are a variety of shoots Kim has worked on, including highlighting black animals on a black background, flower crowns, and a yearbook shoot that involved taking pictures of all 212 animals at one shelter. She joined forces with an online photography group and partnered with 3 other professionals for the day long shoot. Volunteers helped move animals, dress sets and make sure everyone’s hair was combed. The photos were then given to the marketing department to use in yearbook themed collages.

There is a very personal session she offers called “Before I Sleep.” She describes it this way: “When a pet is near the end of it’s life, I do a session to give the family one more memory.” And what a touching gift that would be. All of us that feel like our pets are family can appreciate what a cherished memory it would be to have a professional photograph to remember them by.

My dream is to photograph animals, so they can last forever.” – Kim Lenz

If you are interested in working with Kim, please contact her at or 412-983-0981


December 14, 2023
December 14, 2023


December 14, 2023