Photographing the forgotten members of the Family - Your Pets!!

January 16, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

There are times when something can be staring you in the face, but you just does realise it - and then it hits you like a brick! We always talk about photographing family, catching that natural look and personality, but it did not occur to me that we often overlook some members of our families. Family members that we often love just as much as we love the rest of our family, but are reluctant to admit to friends and strangers just how important they are to us and don't think about immortalising them with a photo.

Who am I talking about exactly? Well its our pets of course, and the love and affection we sometimes have for them is real, yet we may not be as open about it.

Yes I know, there are plenty of pet Photographers out there, and they do awesome work, but I did notice that the vast majority of them either specialise in, or very focused towards Dogs! Please don't get me wrong, there is some great Dog photography out there, and I especially love those under water photos of dogs diving after tennis balls - they indeed are very talented photographers and capture some awesome memories with that wow factor.

I do wish to stress, that I do admire those photographers that can do amazing work with dogs - but I'm not one of them! Unfortunately I have an issue with dogs (childhood trauma etc. etc.), BUT cats, now that is totally different. I grew up with cats, my parents raised show cats and so I not only was very comfortable with cats, I learnt how to read their moods and have found that cats instinctively trust me!

And that is what this blog post is all about. Their are so few CAT Photographers out there - I mean photographers of cats, not cats who are photographers (they don't have thumbs, and their paws aren't good at holding a camera - plus they tend to try and do everything with automatic settings).

I had a need for a cat photographer several years back, when I nearly lost my beloved kitty 'Phoebe' who was a grand dame at the age of 15 and I was devastated - she accidentally escaped when a door was left open and we live in an area with a lot of coyote activity. Fortunately we were able to get her back after a day of hiding, but the whole incident was a reminder that as she was at at the advanced age of 15, that while I was lucky to have gotten her home, she did not have that many years left to her and that while she looked in healthy condition - old age was starting to tell. I needed to make the most of the time I had.

So while she still looked in good health and still fiesty as anything, (but starting to show signs of some physical problems) I did not have many professional level quality photos of her - Now was the time, while she still looked strong and healthy to get those photos that captured her beauty, her fiesty personality and that she was my cat.

So I called in a Photographer friend of mine to help me out with this project...

Because I grew up caring for and showing cats, I knew how to get her (and in fact any cat) to settle down and show off for the camera.

My wife loves this photo of her, because it shows the affectionate relationship that Phoebe and I had for each other (the story of how we adopted Phoebe, and gave her her name are quite funny - but feel free to ask if you want to hear an amusing cat story).

Of the photos we took, this was the only one that spoke about her age, she does look 'fragile' and her advanced age is definitely apparent. But for a photo of Phoebe being held by her 'daddy' - it seemed appropriate.

And that is the main message of this blog post. We took these photos of Phoebe when she still quite healthy at 15, and while she was still with us for another two and a half years, her physical health and appearance did begin to deteriorate noticeable a few months later and we would not have gotten these brilliant photos of her still looking strong.

When the time finally came that we had to let her go, I was so grateful that we had these photos, because she was a shadow of her former self and any photo taken when she was 18 and frail - they would not have been able to capture the spirit that she was known for.

That first Photo of her, seated on the chair looking to the left, that is the photo I have above my desk and is what inspired me to do this blog post.

But I have much more to show you, than my crazy (but loving) Tortieshell.

Cats just seemed fascinated by me. It might seem like a joke, but it is true.

If I enter a house that has a cat, even if it is a very shy cat, they will be intrigued and decide that I can be trusted and need to be investigated. I'm used to folks saying "wow - normally they just hide when there's a stranger in the house!" Yeah that's my life.

And that is just how I caught his mischief lounging in a tree. She wanted to know what I was doing and before long she was posing for me.

And this is my sons cat, who once he realised I had a camera, sat in the window posing. Seriously posing!

First he showed me his left profile, then a nice three quarter pose, followed by a tilt of the head.

Did I forget to mention that I never met the cat before? But my son was just laughing at how the cat was showing off for me, wanting to make sure we got the perfect shot...

To finish up, another photo of my dear Phoebe - this was the one that we printed and gave to our vet as a Thank You for all the work she had done for my little girl when we finally had to bid her farewell at the age of 18! She loved it so much, she shed a tear and said that it was exactly how she wanted to remember Phoebe - a fiesty daddies girl who scarred the Vet techs!

If you have an aging Cat (or any pet of any kind), do not hesitate to talk to us about capturing those memories of your beloved furry family members. We understand the sadness you are facing as they get old - so let us help you to make it easier...


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