Pet photography, be it outdoors or in studio, is an art and profound love and respect for animals. Period.
All professional photographers have to invest time and put down the effort to improve their craft. As a pet photographer, there is always room to grow, either in handling the animal’s behaviors during the shoot, in such a restrictive environment like the photography studios is, or in mastering better editing. I should probably start this article saying that photographs in this blog post are straight out the camera, no edits other than applying my photography logo. (Edited photos at the end of the article or press here to go directly to my entire collection of studio pet photographs).
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You probably know already that while I love doing pet photography, I am too a dog lover and owner of a Yorkshire Terrier that has been traveling for quite a bit before eventually arriving in Tokyo on Haneda Airport. Of course, after completing the whole procedure demanded by Japanese authorities to prove that he is rabies-free, he received his shots on time, all about eight months in length. So, what comes along goes along.
About the owner and her love for pets
After Facebook messenger talks, today, I have traveled from Yokohama to Chiba Peninsula via Tokyo Wan Aqua Tunnel and visited Mina, to photograph some of her rescued animals she currently owns and who takes great care of them. She is a certified dog trainer and animal rescuer from whom I learned a lot about how to work with animals during future pet photography sessions for my clients.
Mina is a beautiful human with a great heart and love for any pets. Her passion and dedication push her to rescue all kinds of animals. From Kevin Bacon ( as the name suggests he’s a PIG, yes, the real deal and not at all just a convenient Surname but very funny after all 😉 ), Pit Bulls, snakes, chickens, Sugar Glider and the list can go on forever as she will keep doing this. Of course, all these come at a cost, as the animals need food, occasional veterinarian visits, and she could use some love and support from you. Here’s Mina’s Instagram, where you can contact her to find a way to support her animals.
I have been planning this pet studio shoot for a while now. I’m saying for a while because the weather had a different plan and got in my way. As you probably already know, in Japan was typhoon season, which hopefully has come to an end, now that’s the end of October.
Chiba Peninsula was one of the places that have been hit very strong, and people have suffered much, so please, if you can help, there are various English speaking channels you can use to do good. If you are concerned about me, my family is one of the lucky ones living in Japan that haven’t been affected by the typhoons.
So, returning to the pet photography shoot, the main subject of my article, I have bagged all my studio lighting equipment, stands, backdrops, camera, and lenses, and I drove to Chiba to meet Mina’s animals (and Mina of course). As a bonus, I got to meet her mother too, who’s an artist that does wonders with broken pottery (similar to Kintsugi) and other art-related crafts.
From the beginning, I have been welcomed in by Kevin Bacon, of whom I wish I had taken a photo, but I chickened out in front of the rain. There was Ella too, an eight-year-old rescued Pit Bull, a beautiful dog if you get to know her. Because I didn’t want to make any of Mina’s animals suffer during the photoshoot, I kept the session as short as humanly possible. Mina was kind enough to help me almost as an assistant photographer with “poses” of her animals, so the rainy day became a little more bearable and happier.
Pet photography portraits for Hendrix, the Snake
First time I had photographed the snake Hendrix because Mina told me it is better for our safety (her safety to be precise) that the snake wouldn’t feel any other animal’s smell; otherwise, the risk of biting could have been an issue. For those reptilian lovers, this is a beautiful snake. I’m very proud as a photographer to have had such an exotic model, not to mention it will have a spot in my pet portfolio.
Kaipo, The Parrot
Second, the little parrot Kaipo, from the family of Budgerigars, was nicknamed budgie by the loving parrot community. Although I have a phobia towards feathers (or anything covered in feathers, with a bird so little it seems that I have no problems), I did enjoy photographing it and even got it to stay on my fingers. It’s amazing to see how my love for pet photography is helping me to conquer some of my phobias.
Ella, a beautiful Pit Bull, very well trained dog
The third pet I had in front of my Nikon camera in the impromptu pet studio was the Pit Bull Ella. I had felt intimidated at the beginning because, indeed, Pit Bulls are very muscular dogs. Like all dogs, Ella would manifest precisely like my little Yorkshire Terrier, except with an extra weight of 20 to 30 kilograms that comes packed together with a tone of force. Mina had trained Ella very well, and she listens to everything her master says. I wish my little dog Yorkie would obey half of the commands this Pit Bull does.
Next level of pet photography, the first time for me to photograph a rabbit
Fourth “client” was a fluffy white rabbit with red eyes. I could see during the photo session that the rabbit was a little bit scared being surrounded all of a sudden by all black cloth on a table. Even though challenging, I have managed to get a few “poses.” During the shots, I was also thinking inside myself about “how to pose a rabbit.” The rabbit is an animal that doesn’t respond to sounds and, to my knowledge, reacts only to fresh hay and water. 🙂
Do you live in Tokyo or Yokohama? Are you a pet owner? I would be more than happy to schedule a pet photography session for your beloved animal in my little home studio.
Press the contact button down bellow and let’s Frame Your Life Stories.