Injecting Whimsy into Pet Portraits

I love telling a story through photographs.  The story is born from a vision or idea that would be cute or fun to try.  I grab every opportunity to get creative especially when I get an opportunity to photograph a different species in the studio.   Injecting a dose of whimsy whenever I can.

Here’s a bit of insight into my creative process and how I planned these shots.

Hedgehog Babies!

Baby Hedgehog

With the baby hedgehog shoot, I had a plan to have the wee hedgehog floating on flowers in a  glass vase, and shoot thorough the glass sides at the serene hedgehog floating in clear sparkling water on a hydrangea bath.  Unfortunately, the hydrangea’s sank and baby hedgehogs can be kinda dirty, so my lovely clear water soon turned into hydrangea/dirt/not-serene-hedgehog  soup.  Not really whimsical.

I came up with this idea instead.  Not quite what I had pictured, but the basic idea is the same.  My lesson here was be adaptable.



Charlie the Australian Love Bird/Diva

With this image of Charlie the love bird, he was such a character.   His beautiful coloured feathers just popped against the white background & I selected monotone props.  Then, as an afterthought, I dropped the hydrangea flowers in to balance the image.

I realise there seems to be quite a trend for me to use hydrangea’s – I must defend them for their vintage-esque look and lovely muted colours which in this instance just happened to match perfectly with Charlie’s tail feathers.

My lesson here, was birds have bigger personalities than you expect.


kitten portrait with whimsy

Local Vet Clinic’s Rescue Kitten

This shot I constructed of the kitten and the flamingo puppet was the actual shot I had gone into the shoot wanting to achieve.

I had seen the flamingo stuffed toy while I was out browsing gift shops for inspirational props to use for the kitten shoot.  My intention was to pop him in a retro pot or vase and shoot that at ground level… I did in fact do that as well, but after purchasing the pots, I stumbled upon a baby pink flamingo soft toy that begged to be a prop.  Straight away I ‘saw’ the image I wanted to create with it.  So took it home and turned it into a puppet so the kitty could interact with it.

These three portraits are absolutely my favourite pictures.

Don’t get me wrong; there have been failures too.  Like the time I had a lop rabbit to photograph.  I was so excited! I created a giant  paper mâché egg, a rabbit themed bunting and a beautiful ‘nest’ from the most gorgeous red clover hay I have ever seen only to find the rabbit was actually deaf and not inclined to accommodate my vision for arts sake.  In addition to not wanting to be there, she ate the hay.

studio props and set

Bunny shoot props and set

Studio set and props

My giant paper mâché egg & rabbit themed bunting… Hello Easter!

This is was an occasion when what I pictured and what I got didn’t match up

pet portraits with whimsy

Fleur the deaf lop

Not really in the same realm as the other pictures.

My lesson here was deaf rabbits are hard to wave the whimsy wand over.



About Carol

I am a Pet Photographer based in Cambridge, New Zealand. I work with dogs and cats, but am available for work with horses, birds, reptiles & rocks. Contact me for all your pet photography needs