Photography for our loved ones - OUR PETS!


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 prefer to be more "relaxed" about my photography, and those dogs that are not as active (maybe elderly, or just not that into in diving into water chasing a ball) - they are the ones I like to work with! So if you have a rescue as a companion, an elderly animal, or any dog that needs a "portrait" - then lets talk!

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!

As you would with any important member of the family, capturing the real personality of your pet is just as important with them as it is with a person. You have a cat that loves to chew on flowers or chilli peppers (yes we have one of those cats as well) - then it will be important that capture them gong from sizing up the plant to the first dainty nibbles. Because in years to come, that is what you will want to be reminded about them.

Early photo from the 1980's (when I was 17) of my favourite show cat - a "Colourpoint Persian", in the U.S. they are referred to as "Himalayan"

This is an Early photo from the 1980's (when I was 17) of my favourite show cat - a "Colourpoint Persian", in the U.S. they are referred to as "Himalayan"

So what does a Pet Photoshoot involve?


Well that of course is the fun part, because photography for your pet is going to be much more time consuming and involved than taking a family photo - simply because pets (especially cats) are not that good at following directions and prone to walking away totally bored and/or hungry.

  1. Where would a Photoshoot be?
    For much of my work I do not use studios, preferring instead a clients house or some other location that a client likes. For pet photography this is even more true, for a relaxed animal and getting those natural poses (I know, cats do not pose), I would rather stay in the environment that the animal is familiar and comfortable with. We want to keep the stress down for the animal (and probably all of us).
  2. What is involved in a Photoshoot?
    Well first of all, we would need to get together first for a consultation - which is No Cost and No obligation, so that I can meet the subject.
    While for most of my work, I do prefer for there to be a face to face consultation meeting - it is a preference as opposed to a requirement. BUT for a pet photography shoot, I do really need to meet your animal companion, so that we can work the challenges involved.
  3. WHY do you need to meet them first before agreeing to schedule a shoot?
    Very simple really, I need to know that your pet is comfortable with me and that I am comfortable with them. Over the years, there have been one or two cats that were totally immune to my charms and have hissed and snarled at me, while normally they are apparently nice social animals. If they just do not like me, I would rather respect their feelings here, because it could be a difficult shoot.
    Also it allows me to check out the location and we can discuss ideas about how best to capture them.
  4. Do you photograph Snakes?
    I would love to have the opportunity to photograph a snake. I would love to get a wide aperture/soft focus headshot of a snake closeup looking right at the camera, tongue flickering at the camera. That would be so awesome! 
  5. OK, so I keep talking about CATS, what about DOGS?
    This is a complex answer - it depends! There is so much potential with dog photography and there are many people to do such amazing work with them that I just could not match them. But if we are talking about an older animal, or a photoshoot featuring young children draped around and having fun with the family German Shephard, then that is more my line. BUT I would need to meet everyone first to determine the comfort level for everyone.
    Here is a photoset to show you that, yes I do photograph dogs - this rescue dog was just a sweetie and just loved her mommy..
  6. How long would an Animal Photoshoot last?
    For normal photography work, there is a small amount of "Setup" done, then we get everyone together (tell Grandma to leave Grandpa's hair alone) takes lots of Photographs, and when done just take everything down.
    For a pet photoshoot, patience is going to be required, lots and lots of patience. And so I would double the estimated time spent taking the photos, but not the price. i.e. For each hour booked at my hourly rate, you would get an extra hour "free" - simply because we would need that extra time due to their unpredictable nature, plus time for them to settle etc. and I love photographing animals..

Perhaps I should explain how this all happened.


I had a need for a cat photographer several years back, when I nearly lost my beloved kitty 'Phoebe' who at the time 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 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. But the big challenge was not just getting a good photograph of her - it had to be more than just a good picture, it had to BE HER in character as well as appearance...


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.

Altho I grew up with cats and helped get them ready for showing, Phoebe was my real first cat that I picked and adopted, and so was surprised by how much it hurt when I lost her.

And that is the main message for anyone looking to Photograph their beloved companion. 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.

But I have much more to show you, than my crazy (but loving) Tortieshell. Cats are just fun to Photograph! They have such interesting personalities and their curiosity when I point a camera towards them is what makes cat photography so gratifying for me.

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 to the right 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...




Below is a shoot I did for a lady (almost 90) and her 14 year old adopted tabby. A quiet, but patient cat who is very attentive to the needs and frailty of his owner, and takes his role as companion very seriously. It was such a joy watching him be so gentle and caring towards her - he truly is her guardian, and like wise she is his. It really was a privilege to see these two together and this is why I do this!

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 for all, lets create that long lasting memory while we still can...