There are only two people in this world that Keiko loves with all his heart – his mum and dad. Keiko is absolutely my baby. It does not matter that I am human and he is an animal. To him, I am his most constant companion, and he mine.
I consider myself a mum, it’s just not to children of the human variety. And I’m not alone in cherishing my pets in such a way. Our animals embody the best qualities we all seek in our lives - loyalty, companionship, they teach us, they grow with us, and they make us feel incredible joy and happiness, and all without conditions.
As a pet photographer, I am capturing those special bonds that people have with their fur-babies. I’ve witnessed women cuddle their pets, laugh with them, discipline them, and cry with them. Their pets are truly part of the family. They are a fun and important part of our lives or pet families. In an individual portrait, a dog becomes a stunning and stylish piece of photo wall art. Included in a family session, they allow for capturing another kind of love that exists in family. Wonderfully, pets have an uncanny nature to make people relax and this makes for even more amazing photos.
As a busy working woman and fur-mum, I have designed my business around time for my children. Keiko comes everywhere he possibly can with me. I work from home and this allows time to take breaks for “puppy cuddles”. My cat Kimba, who really is the ‘top dog’ in the house, sits on the desk with me while I edit, respond to emails and check up what’s happening online. If I go out to catch up with friends, Keiko comes too. He snuggles with me on the couch as I relax after a hard day.
We plan our holidays around the animals (and also where amazing photos can be taken!). We drive interstate rather than fly so they can both travel with us. Both Keiko and Kimba have such a beautiful little souls and make me feel special and blessed. While I don't firsthand know the bond that a mother has for her children, I believe the love I have for my fur-kids is as meaningful. I know many people with both human and fur children and they express the same sentiment. They consider their pets absolutely to be part of the family.
For some, it’s not just the immediate family who want to be in the photo! More recently, I’ve been asked to include the extended family in photo shoots. Pets in an extended family often spend a great deal of time together, on play dates at each other’s houses, or heading out all together for walks at the local park. Capturing them all together is meaningful to their people and a fabulous challenge for me! Photographing a group of 5 or 6 pets can be crazy fun. Like humans, every animal will have their own personality - what they respond to, what they enjoy and don't enjoy. Understanding how to relate to animals while letting them be animals is essential to working with them. Being calm and patient is equally important. I don't have expectations of an animal doing what it is I want them to but to let them be themselves and figure out how to work with that to deliver what their humans want.
It is an honour to memorialise that deep connection through the art of photography. It’s the most amazing fun and it’s so beautiful to capture and share the love people have for their pets. And what mum wouldn’t want a gorgeous photo of their children to take pride of place in their home?