SHARING THE TRICKS OF THE TRADE
Kristal Abbott has photographed enough dogs to know she gets her best shots in the first minutes – before they get bored with her tricks.
She specialises in studio photography and says her handiest tools of the trade are squeaky toys.
“But they’ll only work for a minute or so then they get used to the sound,” she says.
“That’s when I start making my own sounds. I do lots of strange noises.”
Kristal started Pawposed Pet Photography six years ago after studying photojournalism at university.
It was her mother, a dog breeder, who suggested she combine her love of animals with her passion for photography.
“I have all types of clients – older people, people without kids whose pets are like their children, sometimes people whose pets might have a terminal illness,” she says.
“One lady rang me beside herself that her old dog was dying. I went straight away and we did an emergency photo session.”
The woman phoned the next day to say her dog had died.
“I got the photos to her as soon as I could and she rang again two weeks later, still upset but just so grateful that she had the pictures.”
Her subjects are not always so stationary. Kristal often takes photographs of litters of puppies for breeders.
“To get them all in line and looking at the camera at once, you can imagine what that’s like,” she laughs. “That can be chaos.”
She’s been nipped by a dog before but has mostly happy stories.
“For the last few years, I’ve been taking Santa photos with pets at a big pet store,” she says.
“I bring Santa along and the pets sit in his lap, just like Santa photos with kids.
“I also have a lot of props so I’ve had a few sessions where the pets dress up.
“95 per cent of my work is with dogs but I’ve also photographed cats and birds before. Cats can be tricky out of their home environment.
“Dogs don’t seem to mind the studio and the flashes going off. I let them have a good sniff around first, then I spend a bit of time patting them and talking to them and giving them treats so they get to know me.
“I’ve photographed a lot of really good dogs. That’s what most people seem to want to get pictures of – they are man’s best friend, after all.”