While everyone was looking at the wide-eyed, snow-coloured Scottish Fold x Ragdoll, Kyubi was looking at one thing — her pawrent and the eye of all Kyubi’s photos, Jane. The Temasek Polytechnic Graduate majored in Film and Television, and later refined her fundamentals in photography in part thanks to the influence of photography hobbyists among her friends and family.
Since adopting her in May of 2020, Jane and Kyubi have been sharing their photos ever since, amassing a huge following of 3.8k followers on Instagram. We thus invited her to share with us her photography techniques and tips for aspiring pet photographers
Jane’s 5 Essential Tools
- Camera and Lens
A good investment begins with a good camera. But as Jane states, a phone camera works just as well.
“Especially for indoor lighting,” Jane explains, “we use a few small, compact LED lights to illuminate the set, and a softbox to diffuse the light so that it doesn’t look too harsh on Kyubi.” In the case of animal photography, softboxes ensure that the light does not blind their eyes. As for how it looks in the frame, bright light constricts their pupils, causing them to appear small instead.
Jane recalled an incident where Kyubi’s eyes had become watery after one of their shoots. “I noticed that it was because the light was shining straight into her eyes. The glare was strong enough to make Kyubi uncomfortable.” It was through this trial-and-error and Jane understood the importance of a softbox.
Contrary to popular belief, Jane and Kyubi do not work with huge backdrops. “I just work with whatever I have, be it brown bag paper or cloth,” she said, holding up what looks like a pink sheet of mahjong paper. “It all depends on the angle of the camera and how big your subject is. Making sure that it all fits into the frame.”
Materials for backdrops can be found in Artfriend, Popular, or even Spotlight.
Jane advises against getting too many niche props, as they often end up as a one-use purchase. Instead, she recommends more generic props (e.g. flowers, fake candy, small figurines, etc.) to add value to the scene.
Accessories, wardrobe, and costume, to be exact. Beyond the usual accessories like bandana and bows, it is okay to purchase clothes specifically for thematic photoshoots.
Behind the Mind
When asked what goes into the conceptualisation of her shoots, Jane states that her shoots are usually to commemorate special days, or otherwise inspired by the food she ate.
Spur of the moment
“One time I saw a sushi conveyor belt toy while browsing online and I was like, “I’ve got to get it. I have to do an Omakase-style photoshoot.””
Jane : For our National Day photoshoot, we brought Kyubi to the iconic Dragon Playground at Toa Payoh just to take photos.
Jane : We had a lottery themed photoshoot recently. For the scene, we collected a lot of lottery tickets from my grandmother and put it in a pile at the backdrop. For props, I made origami ribbons out of some tickets for Kyubi to wear. Sometimes you can just make do with everyday items from home.
Working with animals
When asked how Kyubi learned to be so well-behaved, Jane laughed. “From the first shoot to perhaps the fifth or sixth one, Kyubi’s attention span was rather short. After 2-3 mins of shooting, you can see that her temper would start to show. She will become very restless, and will want to escape or lie down.”
Jane then emphasised that it’s only natural that these things happen when photographing pets. “Be patient with them and reward them with treats for behaving. I give Kyubi treats once she sits for the shoot. After a while, we would notice that Kyubi would automatically walk up to the backdrop whenever she sees us setting up for a shoot.”
Jane continues the interview with a warm smile as she talks about the support she feels brimming from Singapore’s pet owner and pet influencer community. “Everyone in the community is very close. I appreciate that pet owners share their daily stories… their experiences… sometimes just seeking help or giving recommendations about what’s out there in the market through their reviews. It’s through these social interactions that we can learn how to be better pet owners.”
Follow Jane and Kyubi on Instagram to see their latest shoots!
* This blog is designed to be a community where pet owners can learn and share. The views expressed in each post are the opinion of the author and not necessarily endorsed by Pawjourr. Always consult your veterinarian for professional advice.