We're Amber, Joe, Koa, and Gus Krowiarz (sounds like "crowbars," but without the "b")—or as we like to say, the Krowiarz(es).
Amber, born and raised in the South (mostly in Louisiana), spent the bulk of the last twenty years as a web developer, launch strategist, and writer. She also worked two stints as a flight attendant, which is how she ended up in Chicago where she met Joe.
Joe, born and raised in Northwest Indiana, spent the bulk of the last twenty years as a firefighter and paramedic, tinkerer, woodworker, photographer, and general enthusiast of all things (if there's a hobby to be had, he's had it).
Koa, also born in the South, was basically a rescue from Amber's sister's family (or maybe it was the other way around). He's a challenging guy—hyper, anxious, easily over-stimulated—but, even with all that, he's a fun addition to the group. He loves people, is a little unsure of other dogs, and would be absolutely ecstatic if he were someday able to catch a squirrel (we let him believe it's possible, even though we're 100% against it).
Gus, born in Northwest Indiana, was a shelter pet we photographed at the Humane Society of Hobart. He was a sweet little guy, and we thought he might make a good match for Koa (who hasn't always been a "dog dog"). He's made himself right at home!
Joe and I met in 2014—Koa joined us in 2017—and we were married in 2019 (in Rome, if you can believe it, and thankfully before the pandemic or we would have missed it!).
This is my favorite picture from our wedding day.
First, I love the old man. In the picture just before this one, our photographer captured him capturing a picture of us, then in this one, he's smiling. We brought him a little joy that day (even though we didn't notice him in the moment), and he's brought me a thousand moments of joy since then (and he's probably forgotten all about us, except maybe when he comes across that picture he took of us).
But the second reason I love this photo is because it feels like we're heading off into something, the next adventure. And that's really who and what we are at heart, adventurers (at least when we can get up the nerve—even getting married took us a while!).
Bougie Pet Pawtography is our next one. Who knows where it'll take us, how long it'll last, and who we might meet (and become) along the way. Whatever the case, it should be fun.
We hope you and your favorite pet (or pets!) will be a part of it.
Joe and I considered starting a photography business the year we got married (2019). He'd been doing photography as a hobby until then, but we both thought it'd be fun to travel and provide others with the experience we had for our wedding. We began working on the idea in earnest in September of that year.
Then the pandemic hit. Zero traveling. Zero non-essential-working. Zero in-person anything. Thankfully we weren't too far into the process (and had other jobs and businesses still going!), so we set the idea aside and were forced to wait it out.
By the time things opened up again, we were going full-throttle in other directions—at least, until I got sick with some fun combination of autoimmune stuff that made me stop and reevaluate.
I started slowing down on my solo business ventures, and at about that time, Joe started showing interest in pursuing the photography again. We made a commitment to go to the Humane Society once a week to take shelter pet photos. And it was a blast! We loved working with the animals. Koa had been an involuntary photography model for six years by that point, but this was different.
Within a few months, Joe pitched me the idea of a pet photography business. It was the best of all worlds—photography, pets, pet-loving people, and a business we could tag-team for times I wasn't feeling the best.
And that's the story.
From there, everything went to the dogs.❤️