Photographer Kaylee Greer‘s version of “what came first, the chicken or the egg?” is a bit different. More than any other query, the question she gets asked is “what came first, photography or dogs?”

Without hesitating, she’ll tell you that the answer is dogs.

“I’ve been head over heels, ‘heart-explodes-into-butterflies’ crazy over dogs ever since I was a very little girl,” she told us when we caught up with the talented puppy portraitist recently. “At any age, at any point in my life, if I would see a dog walking by me on the street, I would (and still do) melt down into a puddle of impossible happiness and adoration.”

And it’s that puddle of happiness and adoration that she then pours into her photography.

High Five! by Kaylee Greer on

There are some amazing pet photographers on 500px, a few of which focus specifically on dogs and do an incredible job of it. Elke Vogelsang and Alicja Zmyslowska both come immediately to mind. But even with world-class competition from some of the best pet photographers on the planet, Kaylee’s work still stands out and stands out in a big way.

“I aim to capture those tiny moments—the ones in which dogs exist so well and through which they express their joy so effortlessly,” she explained. “My images are a reflection of exactly how I feel about dogs when I look at them—the vibrance, the color, the pure, unadulterated whimsy.”

There’s no doubt she’s captured that whimsy over and over and over again. Whether she’s shooting for commercial or private clients, the brand name “Dog Breath Photography” is practically synonymous with whimsy:

Winter Wonderland by Kaylee Greer on

Fuzzy Swimmer by Kaylee Greer on

To Dream by Kaylee Greer on

The whole journey began back in 2007, when she snapped a photo of her dog Toby, a Pit Bull rescue that changed her life.

“I remember that snapshot of my boy like it was yesterday. That’s what started it all,” she says. “The very moment that I snapped his perfect smile into my shutter—I just knew there was something there. There was some kind of magic that I needed to chase.”

She likes to say that Toby was the “breath” behind Dog Breath Photography, and her success since that first breath really can’t be understated: At the moment, between private clients, commercial shoots, and teaching workshops, she’s booked solid all the way through 2017!

Total Concentration by Kaylee Greer on

Tulip Kingdom by Kaylee Greer on

Kaylee will be spending 2016 on the road, traveling to gigs, teaching workshops overseas in Spain, teaching as a KelbyOne instructor, and, the work she considers “my absolute favorite and most rewarding,” helping to rescue dogs all over the world.

“I’m endlessly passionate about abandoned and forgotten animals and have worked at local shelters volunteering my pro photography services for the past 5 years of my career,” she explains. “These dogs all have stories of their own—and as they wait and sit patiently behind the bars of a cage for someone to come along and change their lives—someone has got to speak up for them.”

Kaylee, with her bubbly personality that overflows through her emoji-laden emails, loves being that voice.

“I’ve gone on rescue missions working with homeless and abandoned animals in Costa Rica (that’s where the shot of the three Pomeranians in my 500px gallery came from), in Australia, in St. Croix (the most recent underwater dog photo is from that rescue mission trip) and am excited to get to work this upcoming Spring with homeless dogs in Spain.”

Three Fuzzy Musketeers by Kaylee Greer on

Caribbean Dog by Kaylee Greer on

We did get into technical details with Kaylee, but after hearing all about the spirit behind her photography, the camera and lens details seemed… unimportant. Regardless, we know there are some gear heads out there who will want to know so, here you go, in Kaylee’s own words:

I shoot with a Canon 1Dx and a Canon 5D MkIII for bodies. My favorite and most used lenses are my 35 f/1.4, my 70-200mm f/2.8 and my 16-35mm f/2.8.

All my images are shot on-location—never photoshopped or composited. I get this question a lot. I seek out color, scale, and unbelievably vibrant, wide-open skies when searching for shoot locations.

Of course, in the end, our talk still managed to turn back to the crux of the issue—to the reason why her photos stand out—the person behind the pixels, as it were:

“Working with dogs has proven to be both the single most rewarding and most challenging thing I’ve ever done,” she said, wrapping up her email with yet another smile-inducing smiley face. “And I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Tulip Sniffer by Kaylee Greer on

Splash! by Kaylee Greer on

To see more from Kaylee, be sure to give her a follow on 500px. The community has become approximately 1,254% furrier and more joyful since she started sharing her photos here.

You can also find her on her website, blog, and Facebook.