Deluxe Session ~ Poppy and Jazz the Cats in Brisbane
As a pet photographer, most of my client bookings are from dog owners. I am not quite sure why this is, as I know there are many devoted cat owners out there! Perhaps people aren’t sure what’s possible when photographing cats? Perhaps they think they’re too hard to work with? Having photographed many cats and kittens for rescue, mostly through Brisbane rescue organisation Pets Without Partners, I have lots of practice and experience.
When Roslyn booked a Deluxe Session for her two cats with the aim of creating an album, I was over the moon! Finally a chance to spend a good couple of hours photographing a pair of gorgeous, happy kitties.
One of the things I really enjoy about photographing cats is all the playing that goes along with it. By their nature, cats invite interaction. Unlike dogs, it’s rare to find one that just wants to hang out with you – there often needs to be something in it for them, too! I use a variety of toys – usually fluffy or feathery lures on a stick – to get their attention and invite the kind of interaction that provides opportunities for personality-filled shots.
Throughout most of this session, I was using my purple fluffy lure. The photo below is the only time in this session you’ll see it in the shot though – as most of the time it’s held out of the shot – dangled above or to the sides of the lens – to guide their gaze to where I want it.
Like in this shot. This often means shooting one-handed, with another had holding the toy and moving it around. It takes some practice and also some strength, so I also have a little help from the wrist strap fitted to my camera.
Anyway, enough about technique! I feel a cat photography e-book coming on.
Poppy and Jazz are actually litter sisters, with Jazz usually being the more friendly of the two. Perhaps a little too friendly! When I first arrived, Jazz was out visiting the neighbours so Poppy and I had some exclusive bonding time. Her calico colouring reminds me very much of my own kitty Araya!
After making her rounds with the neighbours, Jazz made an appearance and I managed to keep her sufficiently entertained for long enough to start photographing her.
The back garden of these lucky kitty’s home offered lots of shooting opportunities – green grass, hedges, garden beds and a selection of outdoor furniture. Jazz obligingly posed on a chair for me.
Before deciding that she’d probably rather just lie down and have a little rest.
Out in the front garden, Poppy decided to show off her pretty markings by stretching out on the pavers.
While Jazz selected an appropriate background to compliment her beautiful green eyes. Cats… vain? Never!
Jazz has a routine of greeting the neighbourhood kids as they walk past on their way home from school. She sits up on the letterbox and peers over the white picket fence.
Although keeping cats in the ideal spot for the best lighting isn’t always easy (no cheating and holding them there with a leash!) it can be very rewarding when they co-operate and stick around in that perfect patch of sunshine for some pretty backlighting.
Even if it does take some coaxing with the ever-handy purple fluffy lure.
Taking some time out ever now and then for more neighbourly visits, I felt like I worked really hard to get as many photos of Jazz, as I did of the ever-present and cooperative Poppy. Turns out though, I ended up with more shots of Jazz after all! She kept getting into interesting positions that while challenging, allowed some unique angles.
The next two images I used across a double page spread in their album. Same shot, just a shift of focus.
With the novelty of the toys quickly wearing off, we turned to yummy treats to keep Jazz interested. I just loved this old wrought iron bench seat, with the last light of day hitting the background.
And just like that, the sun went down and we were out of light. It barely felt like two hours, I’d had so much fun playing with these guys!
Oh okay Poppy, time for one last game with the purple fluffy toy.
Before Poppy and Jazz came along, the family had a very much loved 20 year old cat, who used to have her photo taken every year by Shannon, another pet photographer who has now moved away from Brisbane. She was kind enough to recommend me, so I hope that I get to meet up with these two regularly for future shoots to document their life together.
Here’s what Roslyn had to say about the session: