Christmas Cards

A belated happy Christmas and happy new year to all! I do hope you and your furry companions had a great Christmas. My cats were even more spoiled than usual, which is how it should be. I really just wanted to share some of the Christmas pics that I did for clients. I wasn’t able to post them before as they were to be used for Christmas cards but they can now be revealed.  If you fancy making your own feline or canine friend the star of next year’s Christmas card then I offer these as mini sessions with one or two images. Get in touch in plenty of time though as the slots fill up fast!

Three cavalier king charles spaniels with a small Christmas tree. Christmas card.
The Three Cavaliers

Oh my goodness how cute are these three? I can’t believe how good they were at posing too. Applause to Biscuit, Tilly and Ruby.

cute small dog wearing a bow tie sitting next to a Christmas tree. Christmas card.
Warrington

As for this little chap. That bow tie and the little tuft on his ear kills me.

cavalier king charles spaniel sitting next to a small Christmas tree. Christmas card.
Biscuit

Biscuit then went on to star on his own card…

black and white cat sitting next to a small Christmas tree. Christmas card.
Ralph

…and it wouldn’t be right to exlude the kitties.

Cats on Tuesday

Cats on Tuesday? What’s that about then? Long ago I had a blog and every week posted an update about my cats, usually something funny that they’d been up to although not always. I’ve missed writing those posts and the cats have been resentful that they no longer get their fifteen minutes of fame each week so I thought I’d resurrect it here.


Pepper

This week I’m concentrating on Pepper as it was her 17th birthday on Sunday.

What to say about my girl? Well she’s the only one of our cats that we’ve had from kitten-hood, she’s a naughty tortie who has mellowed with age, although she’s still not above smacking her brothers Ralph and Charlie (although she’s quite a bit smaller than they are).  She’s also a Buddhist and her favourite book is The Dalai Lama’s Cat by David Michie.

She’s something of a super-model and the camera loves her, and she loves it.  She’s always ready to strike a pose and look cute and appealing, or dramatic, or menacing… she is a cat of infinite variety.  Because she is so good at modelling she is hyper-critical of any models that come here for a shoot.  She likes to watch them, but will also intervene if she feels they’re not quite up to standard and will show them how it’s done.

She eats mainly dry food as she considers wet food to be ‘vulgar’.  She’s a very dainty eater and will pull biscuits from the dish one at a time to eat, she’s always a lady.

For her birthday photo she willingly posed with some pale coloured tulle I had lying around, alongside some silk flowers.  She allowed me to light her by bouncing the flash off the wall behind me, this gave a lovely soft light all the better to show off her beautiful colouring luminous eyes.

Happy birthday Pepper, we love you xx

Cats on Tuesday
Pepper’s 17th birthday portrait

Mowgli’s Photo Shoot

I had the absolute pleasure of doing a photo shoot for a gorgeous fluffy black cat called Mowgli on Saturday.  Mowgli’s story is a somewhat sad one: he was dumped in a box outside the place where his current owner works.  It makes me so angry when I hear things like this; how could anyone do that to another living creature? But then again, if he hadn’t been abandoned then he wouldn’t have the wonderful home he now shares with his older cat sister and human slaves.

Personally, I love black cats, but do you know they are the hardest colour cats to rehome and that they stay in shelters longer than any other cats? I find this so hard to understand. (Don’t get me started on how idiotic people are who think of them as being ‘unlucky’. In fact don’t get me started on how idiotic people are to be superstitious about anything! We could be here for a very long time otherwise…).

Apologies for the digression; back to Mowgli…  He really is a gorgeous boy, with the brightest, shiniest eyes and softest fur.  He’s also full of life and loves playing with toys, getting treats and generally being adored.

He was sitting under a bench in the garden in the rain when I arrived, but was soon enticed inside when he heard the rattle of a bag containing Dreamies.  (What is it about those treats? I’ve not yet met a cat that doesn’t find them irresistible!). I then spent a very happy half an hour or so sprawled on the floor taking photos as Mowgli jumped and ran and generally enjoyed himself. I love my job 🙂

Mowgli the black, fluffy cat's photo shoot
Mowgli ‘hiding’ (not very well) 🙂
Mowgli the black, fluffy cat's photo shoot
Isn’t he gorgeous? Look at those eyes…

 

Are you looking for a kitty to make your life complete? Rescue centres are full of cats as gorgeous as Mowgli, many of whom have been abandoned or lost and are looking for their forever home.

Try LAA if you’re in the Leicestershire area.

Cats Protection have a branch in Warwickshire – click here for more info.

Happy Easter!

A very happy Easter to you all, I hope you’re enjoying the long weekend and having lots of pet (and chocolate) filled fun.  The weather here in not-so-sunny Leicestershire is down to its usual Bank Holiday weekend levels, so I decided to have some studio time with my little gang. My kitties would never be interested in chocolate, what they are interested in changes from day to day, and their level of perverseness.  Ralph and Pepper were very interested in the little Easter eggs that I brought home, mainly because they were shiny and rolled around in an egg-citing (sorry!) way.  I took advantage of this by putting the eggs on a table in the studio and playing with them until the cats HAD to come see what was going on.  As is the way with cats Charlie took one look and left, he obviously knew I wanted something from him and wasn’t about to play ball.  Ralph and Pepper were in egg-cellent (really, really sorry!) form though, and I got a few shots of each of them looking ridiculously cute (and in the case of one of Ralph’s pics, quite threatening).

Cats & Easter Eggs-3919

Cats & Easter Eggs-3905

So how did I shoot this? It was a simple lighting set up of one Elinchrom studio light in a BIG (I’m talking 120cm here) octabox which gives a lovely soft, natural looking light.  This was to my right, aimed down at the table and kitty (they’re so used to being photographed that I don’t think they even notice it). Then I used my new, absolutely gorgeous lens at the wider end (it’s a Canon 16-35mm) and get very close to the table and furry models, and that was it really.

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Cats & Easter Eggs-3887-Edit

Have a lovely weekend (and please don’t let your pooches near the chocolate, you can buy special doggy-friendly Easter treats like this one at various pet retailers) xx

On the Topic of Photographing Cats

Warning: this post contains one of my favourite topics – photographing cats.  Don’t get me wrong, I love photographing dogs, I love their happy little faces and waggy tails, and their crazy enthusiasm for everything. And the way that they’re always SO pleased to see you.  Cats are completely different, and yet I adore them. Trying to photograph them is a passion of mine (note the emphasis on the word ‘trying’). It can be next to impossible to get a cat to do what you want it to, or to even sit where you want. You have to just sort of make things appealing to them and hope that they’ll play along.

Take my three cats for instance: Pepper is a bit of a super-model when it comes to posing.  She sees the camera and immediately goes into ‘Vogue’ mode, turning her head toward the light, moving a paw slightly, rolling on her back in an appealing manner…she’s a complete pro.  Ralph is a young male who is completely ruled by his stomach, so the easiest thing to do is wave a piece of turkey in his direction to get his attention. The downside of this technique is that I have an awful lot of images of him licking his lips.  As for Charlie…Charlie is a bit of a law unto himself. I’ve found the best way to photograph him is either a)when he’s asleep, or b)he’s thinking about going to sleep. He’s a bit of a character.

Pepper strikes a pose
Photographing Cats – Find a super-model type like Pepper and make it easy.
Ralph in the sunshine. I actually lit this with a softbox and speedlght. It amazed me that he sat where I wanted him to!
Photographing Cats – Ralph in the sunshine.
How to photograph cats - wait until they're asleep.
Photographing Cats – Charlie asleep is the easiest option!

Other cats I’ve photographed can be even more challenging, because first I have to gain their trust (cats tend to like me which helps), then I have to get them used to the camera being pointed at them, and then I have to try and photograph them somewhere I want them to be, whilst letting them think it was their idea to be there in the first place. It’s a minefield I tell you!

Photographing Cats - Parsley finds the best light.
Photographing Cats – Parsley finds the best light.

And yet, I love them! I love their aloof ways, their sudden moments of craziness, their independence, and their beauty.  They really are the most beguiling of creatures, and if I get a good shot of one I really feel I’ve achieved something. But next week I’m photographing dogs again.

All my cats are rescues.  If you’re considering getting your very own furry super-model then please adopt a rescue cat.  An excellent rescue near to me is Leicester and Leicestershire Animal Aid, and of course Cats Protection always have beautiful kitties looking for their forever home.

Giving Back…

Hello, and welcome to my first blog post for Happy Pets Photography! It’s actually called ‘Giving Back’ because I’m volunteering my services to any local rescues or animal charities that might need a photographer either for marketing materials or to take photos of any dogs or cats that are looking for a new home.  Please get in touch if you know of any! (I’ve done work for Leicester & Leicestershire Animal Aid before and shot their 2015 calendar).  If you’d like to see some more of my work please go to Happy Pets Photography and take a look.  Here’s a quick sample of my work from a recent shoot with gorgeous rescue dog Holly. HOLLY-4885-Edit-2

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