MILTON — A local pet photographer has recently been honored with acceptance into the General Collection of Professional Photographers of America's 2017 International Photographic Competition.

Diana Bunch of Pet Pawtography in Milton will have her work on display at the Gaylord Opryland Convention Center in Nashville from Jan. 14-16, 2018. Aside from her photo shoots with local pets, Bunch regularly visits the Santa Rosa County Animal Services shelter to take photographs of the animals to help them get adopted.

Here, we catch up with Diana and learn about her accomplishments and her art.

How long have you been involved in photography?

I’ve been photographing for about 10 years. I started out as a hobbyist photographer and over time I started a photography business. 

Is this your full-time job?

I’m retired from the US Air Force as an E-9 (Chief Master Sergeant) and served over 24 years. When I retired, I pursued my photography business. My husband and I moved to Milton about a year ago. We built a photography studio on our property but I haven’t pursued the business side of my photography in this area yet.

What made you want to do pet photography?

I have always worked with animals in some capacity throughout my life. In 2011, I was taking a photography course and one of the homework assignments was to tell a story using images only. I decided I would tell the story of a shelter dog. I approached my local shelter and was able to follow the progress of a dog who had just came in as a stray. Her name was Marsha. I photographed Marsha throughout her stay at the shelter to include her getting vaccinated, spayed, and later in the adoption area. I have been volunteering my photography services to animal shelters and rescues ever since that time. While I do photograph families, people, events, etc., I do specialize in animal portraits.

Have you won any other awards?

I’m a Certified Professional Photographer and a member of Professional Photographers of America. Last year was the first time I entered PPA Annual International Print Competition and two of my images were selected for a merit and one of the images was also selected as a loan image — considered the best of the best. The loan images are published in the “Loan Collection” book. 

Are you involved with any other organizations?

I’ve also been a member and one of the volunteer team members for HeARTs Speak since 2012.  HeARTs Speak is a community of artists helping animals by providing pro-bono services to save and support animals. I recently joined the KlaasKIDs team as a K9 handler. I’m training my two German Shepherd dogs in Human Remains Detection. Finally, I’m an active volunteer with the Helping Shepherds of Every Color Rescue (located in Montgomery, Alabama) by fostering adoptable dogs and puppies. Right now, I have a mamma dog and three puppies. I currently provide photography services to the Santa Rosa County Animal Services and a couple of local animal rescues.  I am available to any animal shelter or 501c3 approved animal rescue organization who need photographs of their adoptable animals.