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Feathers and Fur: Meet Your Indianapolis Dog Photographer

Indianapolis Dog Photographer, Amy Hodson, sitting on a trail with her binoculars
Indianapolis Dog Photographer, Amy Hodson, with her binoculars

Hi! I’m Amy Hodson - the hands behind the lens of Wander Pet Photography.

My clients know me as the crazy Indianapolis dog photographer, who loves crawling along the Indiana trails to capture gorgeous images for their best friends. Without a doubt, I end up covered in dirt after every session (usually with a leaf or two attached to me somewhere)!  I’m known for being “bubbly” and outgoing, with a heart that pumps pure passion for our pets. I thought it would be fun to dig a little deeper with you guys - to peel back a few layers of the onion - to share a little more about what makes your favorite Indianapolis dog photographer tick.

Without further ado - Let me re-introduce myself!

Fun Fact # 1: I am a bird nerd!

I’m not kidding you guys - A TOTAL bird nerd.

A pair of binoculars sitting on a kitchen island.
My first pair of binoculars! I was SO excited, that I actually took a photo of them before I went out birding for the first time.

Whenever I’m not talking about dogs, I’m usually talking about birds. Here is how my love for the avian world all came to be:

On a rainy Sunday afternoon in 2012, I was watching a movie called “The Big Year” while folding some laundry. I had no idea what it was about, but it starred Jack Black (funny), Owen Wilson (funnier), and one of my all-time favorites - Steve Martin (“The Jerk” has a special place of honor in our home theater collection). About 30 minutes into the movie, I had stopped folding laundry and was in a complete trance while watching the television. 

The movie post for "The Big Year"
"The Big Year" movie poster

My thoughts: “THIS IS A THING??? There are people who actually keep track of what species of birds they see? And then competitively try to see as many species as they can?” I was obsessed with the idea, and by the time I was halfway through the movie - I had ordered my first pair of binoculars online.

I jumped in HEAD FIRST. I learned as much as I could about the birds of Indiana. I wanted to see them all! To help me with identification, I purchased my first DSLR camera so I could document the birds I was seeing in the field. Although I was the photojournalist for my high school yearbooks, camera gear had come a LONG way since my original Canon AE-1.

By 2017, I decided to do my own “Big Year”, where I set out to become the first woman in the state of Indiana to see over 300 species of birds within the state during one calendar year.

A large list of bird species is hung on the wall above the photographer's desk space.
My "list" from 2017 in my old office! My partner printed this life-sized list for me on Christmas in 2016. It was a daily reminder of my goal!

I succeeded - seeing 302 species that year, and made countless memories that I’ll cherish for the rest of my days. That was one AWESOME year. I was lucky enough to find my partner-in-crime, best friend for life, and assistant photographer for Wander Pet Photography while birding. If you think I’m crazy about birds… you should hear him talk about his lists! (I’d be happy to dive into the plethora of “lists” of birds that we keep - but that would take up way too much ink for this post!) Today, you can still find me out “birding” on the weekends and during my lunch breaks. It centers me in so many ways, and I’m eternally grateful for that silly movie coming across the airwaves to me in 2012.

FUN FACT # 2: I am an addict - of the travel variety

To carry-on from the previous fun fact - My obsession with seeing new birds was harmless enough at first. I traveled mostly across the state of Indiana, then the midwest on the quest to see new birds. Then my scope opened up to the rest of the United States… and once I had been to most of the “birdiest” regions of the US, I stepped outside of our borders and into Costa Rica for the first time. My partner and I both fell in love with traveling internationally. Since that trip, just a few years ago, we have been to Costa Rica two times (soon to be three), Ecuador, Colombia and South Africa. We are in the early stages of planning our travel for 2025 AND 2026. I’m obsessed with planning trips, and almost enjoy the planning stages as much as the actual travel!

A Hermit Wren sings on a branch in Santa Marta, Colombia.
Hermit Wren - San Lorenzo Ridge in Santa Marta, Colombia

We set a life goal for ourselves to see 5000 species of birds in the world. The idea is that the goal will help us get out and experience the world. We want to see the landscapes, learn about the cultures, eat the food, meet amazing people - and of course…. see ALL the birds!

If you are interested in seeing some of our wildlife and bird photography, be sure to check out our brand new website and social media pages - Wander Nature Photography. Facebook: Wander Nature Photography

We don’t have a ton of content up there yet - but stay tuned for travel stories, travel tips, lots of birds, and some pretty awesome photography.

If you have some favorite locations around the world - I’d love to hear them! Pop in a comment below!

FUN FACT # 3: I don’t drink alcohol

This Indianapolis dog photographer likes to have a LOT of fun. However, that fun doesn’t involve alcohol. I spent my younger years as a beer aficionado, but realized that it wasn’t doing me any favors. I decided to quit drinking just over 3 years ago, and it is by FAR the best decision I have ever made. If we ever meet out “for a drink” (which I still love to do with our friends and family), you can find me drinking a tonic with lime on the rocks, or a non-alcoholic beer. It is AMAZING how many non-alcoholic beer options there are these days! It’s pretty awesome how inclusive restaurants and bars are becoming. What a time to be alive!

FUN FACT # 4: I have an extensive hoodie collection

Does anyone know of a “hoodies anonymous” group? *hides under hood* I could definitely qualify to be a member. Not to brag - but I just went into my closet and counted… My hoodie collection is up to 23! 

Fashion, hair styles, pretty nails… I never really connected with any of those things. I much prefer wearing a hoodie and having my hair pulled back in a bun. I do love to get a manicure every once in a while… but the frequency is usually once per year. 

So just a fair warning - when you have your session planning call for an Indianapolis dog photography session, you know what I’ll be wearing!

FUN FACT # 5: I didn’t have a dog at home growing up

Brace yourselves… I had CATS while I was growing up! Typically only one cat at any given time (Except for that one time our cat disappeared for two weeks - so we went out and adopted a new kitty. Just to have our cat return home a few days after the kitty was home!), but cats nonetheless. 

Cat people - I see you and I hear you!

Over the course of my childhood I made some pretty good arguments for getting a dog, including a slide show presentation when I was in middle school about how I would help to pay for the dog’s needs and take care of it myself. Alas, my parents weren’t budging. We were a busy family and a dog just didn’t fit into the picture.

A black and white terrier looks at the camera amidst the fall leaves. The foliage is bright orange and yellow, giving the feel ing of a warm fall evening.
My adorable soul dog, Mr. Mickey Moo!

Fast forward to me getting my first apartment: I got my first dog. Her name was Marley, and I have had dogs ever since. Our current pup, Mr. Mickey Moo, is a rescue dog from Indy Humane. I was volunteering as an intake photographer at the shelter, and I instantly fell in love with his little cute noggin. Mickey is mostly blind, and doesn’t have a good sense of smell - but man-oh-man do I love him. Of all the dogs I’ve had the pleasure of sharing life with… Mickey is without a doubt my “soul dog”.

SPOILER ALERT: Mickey just might be getting a “little” four-legged brother this year!


Just a little peek into what makes this dog photographer tick. Have any questions about what birds you’re seeing in your yard? Or what hoodie best pairs with your skinny jeans? Or perhaps you even want to know about booking a dog photography session in Indianapolis - head on over to the contact page and shoot me a note! I’d love to chat with you. 

PS - 

A little extra something for those who have read this far…. I am a firm believer that high fives make the world a better place. Message me on social media, or through my contact form with the words “High Fives!” for a special offer on spring sessions!

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DID WE JUST BECOME BEST FRIENDS?! 🤣 I loved learning more about you with this post, Amy! I am also a huge bird nerd, and I love The Big Year! Congrats on 302 in 2017, that is a serious commitment! I can't wait to watch the nature side of your photography grow! *high five*


*high fives* Ok, are we going to become BFFs? I am just starting to get in to birds, like, very mildly and I am sure that I am on the edge of becoming obsessed! Do you have a favorite bird book or bird newbie resource?


Amy, I'm also a non-drinking hoodie addict. It's great to find a kindred spirit! Your wildlife and pet photography is incredible! Can't wait to see more :)


It's so magical how something as random as a movie popping up while folding laundry can change the whole course of one's life - so cool! Good luck with the new wildlife side of your business, I can't wait to see more.


I find your story of how you got into birding fascinatingly funny. I would’ve never guessed!

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