The Pet Collective 2016: a year in pet photos

Simon and I (Carly) have been portrait photographers for many years, but having launched The Pet Collective as a specialist pet photography service in December 2015 we have been overwhelmed with how well it’s been received!

When we launched we immediately garnered much interest and intrigue, which ultimately led to over 100 new clients choosing us for portraits of their dogs and cats during 2016.

This will be a slightly longer post than usual, but is still only a tiny snippet of the work we’ve done this year so it was hard to narrow down.

One thing we definitely loved this year was photographing happy smiley dogs.

…and there is only one thing better than a happy dog…

A happy dog with his family!

Of course cats may not always make their happiness as evident on the outside, but they sure do have bucket-loads of attitude.

One particular cat who made an impression on me this year was a blind cat who I photographed during my voluntary work at Holly Hedge Animal Sanctuary

I immediately felt sorry for her, but after a few minutes of being in her presence realised that my sympathy was completely misplaced. She was fiercely independent, playful and bright, and had a best friend to look out for her. All they needed was a forever home.

Having written a blog post as a rehoming plea it was a delight to later on have a message out of the blue via our website from her new owners to say how well they were both getting on. Yay!

This year we’ve been to loads of great places across the extended Bristol / Bath area, including some gorgeous places to walk your dog after the photoshoot, such as Portishead sea front, Cheddar Gorge, Castle Combe and Westonbirt Arboretum.

That’s not to say that we only visited lush green spaces in the countryside, the city provided some colourful graffiti for a few cool urban pups.

One of those pups who chose to pose with graffiti belonged to Maisie Williams, pictured below (if you don’t know her, she’s one of the main characters in Game of Thrones). 

Upon request I photographed Maisie at the RSPCA in Bristol in support of the #adoptdontshop message.

This photoshoot (our first celebrity shoot) was so well received, but it certainly wasn’t the only “first” this year. So here’s a few more.

Our first time shooting dogs as if they were human celebrities: 

Introducing The Houndsley Brothers, a couple of well trained cocker spaniel model dogs imitating The Hemsley Sisters. 

This was an advert that we created as part of Devon-based Forthglade natural pet food’s Clean Eating For Dogs campaign this summer, to get the nation’s dogs eating more healthily.

Click the picture below to watch a short “behind the scenes” video of the shoot.

Our first photoshoot with kittens at a wedding:

Simon and I photographed a lot of weddings in 2016 (check ‘em out here) but never have we seen so many feline friends appearing during the day. Perhaps being a festival style wedding on a farm we should have expected it?

Wanna see ALL THE KITTENS? We blogged about it > here.

Our first time listening to Music for cats: 

In 2016 that became a reality…music designed especially for feline ears. Shortly after a crowdfunding success on Kickstarter the Music for cats album was signed to Universal Music. 

We were asked to create some imagery and host their competition ahead of the UK release, an honour which was gladly accepted by Louie (one of 3 resident cats at Pet Collective HQ).

Our first photos of a Devon Rex cat:

Incidentally this cat was also at a wedding, later this summer. 

Is that a thing now? Cats at weddings? 

If it is, long may it continue!

Our first commemorative photo following the loss of a pet:

Death is a inevitable part of life, but when it comes to pets it’s all the more likely we’ll experience the loss of a pet during our lifetime. This was all too true for dog trainer Gemma of Daybreak Dogs, who had a photoshoot with us shortly after losing her beloved boy Kai. 

We placed his collar in between his 4 sister’s paws as a lasting memory.

It was, however, an unexpected joy to be invited to photograph this family again during the winter months with an exciting new addition, Toddy!

In addition to these “firsts” we were featured by some really great pet businesses. 

Our boys did a bit of posing for Lily’s Kitchen in aid of their tasty new menu for cats. See all the photos here.

We created some promotional photos for a fabulous Bristol-based pet business The Natural Pet Toy Company (who make luxury pet blankets and fashionable pet attire such as cat collars and dog leads, alongside beautifully hand made cat & dog toys).

And we helped pet behaviourist Rosie Bescoby refresh some of her website imagery.

We’ve been out with you in all seasons, from the bitingly cold winter with a stunning dalmatian…

…to dodging the heatwave your poor doggies had to endure for a couple of weeks this summer.

Even though we have cats we could sympathise with worries over the heat as our precious tabby boy Charlie went missing for 6 days during the heatwave. He eventually returned home very skinny and distressed (but not before becoming ever so slightly famous with the #findcharliecat campaign)

We don’t just deal in extremes of temperature, we’re out photographing your pets in all weathers (except rain!)

Not forgetting those super-stylish cats (and a handful of dogs) who opted to have their portraits taken in the comfort of their own home.

One thing’s for sure if you’re an animal lover then a house only becomes a home when you’ve got a pet or two to share it with. 

Perhaps you’ve even got the magically complementary combination that these families have got sussed: a cat AND a dog!

We hope you enjoyed this post and thank you for your support in 2016. Whether you had a photoshoot or just enjoyed our social media / newsletter content. 

We look forward to welcoming many new clients to The Pet Collective in 2017.

If you’ve got a cat or a dog who you’d like photographed or if you own a pet-related business that could benefit from some professional imagery, please get in touch. 

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The Pet Collective is a Bristol-based luxury & lifestyle animal portraiture service brought to you by creative photographers Carly Wong and Simon Withyman. 

For people who recognise that pets are family members too. 


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