Pet Portrait Photographer: Lana Kim

Pet Portrait Photographer: Lana Kim

Gregory Han
Jul 31, 2006

For many of us, animals are not just "pets", but beloved family members whom we treat just like fellow humans companions (sometimes better). We play together, eat together, takes naps together, and grow old together. Visit most any proud pet owner's home and it's very likely they've got an assortment of personal photos of their pet pal prominently displayed throughout their home. Our pets say as much about us and our lifestyle as our homes themselves.

But as charming as personal photos are, most of us are not adept photographers...unfocused, ill composed and poorly framed photos that fail to capture that certain je ne sais quoi of our tailed or feathered friend is the norm, rather than the exception. Sometimes, its best to bring in someone with the right eye and the right equipment: a pet portrait photographer.

As a conclusion to our pet month, we've contacted friend and local animal portrait photographer, Lana Kim, to tell us a little bit about her experience working with animals, alongside share a few of the portraits of pets she's worked with.

How did you get started taking photos of animals?
My dad gave me his Canon A-1 when I showed some interest in photography when I was 12. I started with taking photos of shadows and brick walls, then moved up to animals. So I started to take photos of my chihuhua Chiquita when I was around 14. I moved on to people, bands, and film sets later on, but there was always something more special about the animals.

Do you have a specific technique or approach to photographing animals, opposed to say, a human?
My approach to photographing both animals & humans are quite similar - I tie a steak to my face, but it's hard to see through the camera like that, so I rely more on making everyone feel comfortable, so we can all have some fun. Most people feel uncomfortable in front of a camera, so I try to at least to make everything else as comfortable as it can be. That is why I like to photograph dogs in their homes. I get to know them, play with them, then I just follow them around (usually on my elbows and knees crawling) with my camera.

Any good stories you can share about a notable shoot?
I think every shoot is notable, but the stories would probably only really interest the specific dog owners and myself, so I won't bore you with all of the cute details....

Do you photograph other animals besides canines?
I have photographed cats, birds, and a fish. Just one fish.

Lana Kim can be contacted at

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