Hongkongers now including pets in their family portraits

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 June, 2013, 8:26am

Family portraits may never be the same - there's old granny Gracie, great-uncle Billy and good old Spot the dog.

Award-winning photographer Gail Turner believes pets are an extension of their families. They share many years with them, offer companionship and at times a friendly ear.

"They don't answer back, and are usually overjoyed to see us," Turner said. "It's little wonder that we now like to celebrate our pets in photographs, the same way as we do our other family members,"

Hongkongers are passionate about their pets, and Turner thinks she has spotted a niche market for her skillsere. After owning a photography business in Britain for 10 years, she arrived in Hong Kong wondering what to do next, and decided to specialise in pet photography.

"I did some research with pet stores and pet owners. It was clear after a while that there was definitely a market for this," she said. "As a pet photographer, it is important that you not only have technical ability to take a photograph - you also have to be able to make an animal feel at ease and trust you."

Turner has also noticed how well Hong Kong's pets are groomed - and dressed in high-end regalia. She promises no shortage of styles, should the occasion call for it.

"For an extra-special treat for you and your pet, you can be picked up in a limousine with your pet and driven to a high-end studio location, where you and your pet will be well looked after and photographed," she said.

Turner's previous four-legged subjects include the Sheik of Abu Dhabi's Arabian horses.

On two legs, professional golfers Nick Faldo and Rory McIlroy, naturalist David Attenborough and Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones have all been photographed by her.

"To give someone a picture they will treasure for many years to come is always my goal," Turner said.