Kathy McMillan Photography » Fur Family Photographer | Lifestyle & Documentary | Home & Outdoors | Brisbane & surrounds | Kindness, Patience, Love.

Kathy McMillan Photography bio picture
  • Hello, my name is Kathy McMillan and I am a professional animal photographer based in Brisbane. My specialty is documenting connections between precious creatures and their kind-hearted people. I am an animal rights advocate and proudly vegan. Kindness is the guiding principle in everything that I do. x

If you follow me on social media, you may have noticed I have been having a play with different styles of processing my photos. For the past couple of years I would have described my editing style as clean, crisp, and bright. Colour correcting has been very important, and ensuring the photos accurately reflect what I saw on the day. That is, to emulate real life.

I have applied the same editing style across the board, and whilst clients seem to like it, for the most part it does nothing to add to the emotion or mood of the photo. I want the viewer to FEEL something when they look at my images. Not every photo will convey the mood with the same editing technique applied.

Indy before and after some subtle tweaks, viewed in Lightroom.

Moving forward, creating something beautiful that tells a bit more of a story, will be just as important as capturing life. Here’s a couple more examples:

Angel gracing us with her presence… a little timid, but she knows she’s beautiful.

The original edit is how I would usually process. Colours are accurate, nice contrast, but (to me) there’s not much mood. The second edit (to me) has more depth, would look absolutely beautiful in print on fine art paper, and tells a bit more of a story. Angel was peeking around the corner, wondering what I was getting up to and she seemed to instinctively know to pose even though she wasn’t quite ready to come out.

Abby – a tiny girl with a huge personality!

The original edit of Abby is quite soft, and is a nice representation of the pretty afternoon light on the day. However, (again, for me) it doesn’t have the punch to tell the story of Abby’s sassy personality, and the golden hour glow needed a bit more oomph to portray just what a gorgeous afternoon it was. Plus I didn’t touch up a couple of tiny blemishes (stray hairs on her cute little chin and some eye goop) that are quite distracting. You may not have even noticed, but this is something I am far more conscious of these days to make an image truly artwork-worthy.

It’s all subjective of course, and you may even like the original processing better. However, my promise to my clients is to be more mindful of telling the story of their session, and to process images in an equally considered way to create something that is still identifiable as “my style”, but unique enough to create the right mood and personality.

I want you to really FEEL something when you look at your images, not just think “oh, that’s nice…” AND I want you to want them up on your wall!

Post-processing is only one aspect of a photographer’s style though. There are many other elements that can make someone’s work identifiable. Choices such as the lens used (focal length/aperture), perspective, composition, lighting, intent to capture a story/personality/connection, and more all come into play.

I would also argue that the experience the photographer delivers to the client is also a component in developing an overall style. How the shoot is planned. What outcomes are identified to shoot for (a photo book, wall art, social media). How images will be presented to the client. All can influence how the photographer approaches the session, selects images, processes, and even the products on offer.

Any thoughts? I would truly love to hear your feedback! Please comment on what you like or don’t like about the edits above, and any other aspect on my ramblings about my evolving style!

Kathy x



With so many social media fur-stars rising, a special Social Media Butterfly package is now available! I have always supplied my clients social media files for any image ordered in print, and now it’s time to get even more social and give you the opportunity to receive all the edited files from your session in a format perfect to share online.

Social Media Butterfly

By the end of the year my services and packages will be far more outcome-driven. Before your session is even booked, I will work out with you exactly what you want to do with your images and recommend a package to suit. If you just want share-worthy images to wow your followers, that’s exactly what the Social Media Butterfly package is for!

Package includes a full 90 minute session for 1-2 animals and 1-2 people at home/outdoors. 50 edited images from your session are supplied as watermarked low-res social media files, in colour and black and white, and both standard and square crops. All inclusive for $375 for weekend sessions or $325 on weekdays.

You can of course still order print products with this package, and I encourage you to do so. An image experienced in print is always far more special than viewed on a screen, but I get that some of my clients just want images to share online.

In my experience, the common print outcomes clients want:

  • A lovely little collection of prints, particularly ideal if the session is given as a gift.
  • Some framed prints to display on your desk or bookshelf to make you smile every day.
  • Tell a story with a high-quality photo book to be treasured for a lifetime.
  • Large wall art, images enhanced with some extra-special editing, to create a statement piece in your home.

My new packages will satisfy all these end goals and more. Exclusive new products will also be available that you cannot buy anywhere retail, hint: think beautiful and sustainable bamboo!

Some clients really don’t know what they want. And that’s OK too, I can help you. If you’re unsure, I am always happy to shout you a coffee, show you sample products, even visit you at home to recommend wall art options.

New print packages will be announced on my brand new website in the coming weeks. To receive updates and special offers direct to your inbox, subscribe here. Stay tuned…

Kathy x

PS – Clients can also purchase low-res social media files from previous sessions, just get in touch for details!

One of the biggest concerns people have about booking a photo session for their pet is that their best friend may not behave. In fact, MOST people worry about that to some degree. And you know what? They usually don’t behave perfectly! Most companion animals aren’t trained models. Nooooo! Seriously? 😉

Here’s an example. I went over to photograph kitty cat Ridley at home. Ridley was all set to model a Sweet Pea and Busy Bee cat harness, and had spent a couple of weeks getting used to the new style of harness, and her human Mummy was confident she was ready for her close up. The day of the shoot arrived, I set up my portable studio, and when I was ready, Ridley slipped into her harness without a hitch and even sniffed me on the way past. A vast improvement on running away the past couple of times I visited!

Then… she was placed oh so gently on the white backdrop. And she bolted! Anyway, Ridley has three fur-siblings, Poppy, Harley and Cosmo, so I took some photos of them whilst waiting to see if Ridley would reappear (she didn’t).

Poppy and I had already made firm friends on previous visits, so I decided to take some photos of her being adorable in HER spot on the dining table. Poppy willingly obliged. The boys weren’t so keen, but I stuck around to get a few photos of Harley, then one of Cosmo on his way to his food bowl, and he wasn’t particularly impressed!

cat photo shoot

Poppy had no problems with me taking photos of her doing her adorable thing!

cat photo sessioncat photo sessioncat photo sessioncat photo session

cat photo session

Harley was curious, so came over to investigate.

cat photo session

cat photo session

cat photo session

And that’s quite enough photos for you!

cat photo session

Cosmo on his way to his food bowl. Hey! I didn’t say you could take my photo.

cat photo session

Poppy was so relaxed she decided to have a little snooze… and our impromptu photo session was over.

I will be heading back another day to take some photos of Ridley in her harness, but the moral of the story is, sometimes animal photo sessions just don’t work out as planned. And that’s OK. You shouldn’t let the thought of your fur-baby not behaving or even running away deter you. I have patience, plenty of experience photographing even the most skittish rescue animals, and if it doesn’t work out on the day, I have been known to come back again… and again!

Kathy x

The past few months my second business, Sweet Pea and Busy Bee has taken up much of my time, including studio and outdoor sessions to create images for Sweet Pea and Busy Bee’s website, Facebook and Instagram. If you missed my previous post, you can see doggies modelling harnesses and leads here.

Photographing cats in the studio, and in general, is very different to photographing dogs. You simply cannot force anything with a cat, they generally don’t sit and stay on command (although some do!), and you really need to let them do their thing and try to forget about anything you pre-visualised because it probably isn’t going to happen! However, sometimes what the kitties decide to deliver is even better.

It did help that I had previously photographed two of the cats featured. Max and his guardian were part of my Rescued exhibition last year. You can check out more photos of Maxie from that session here. I photographed Zuko whilst he was still in foster care with Pets Without Partners looking his forever home, you can check out some of those photos here.

My studio is itty bitty… but it is perfect for creating simple, clean images for a website or companion animal portrait.

Max is a charmer and knows how to pose for the camera!

Memphis liked being comfy during his session.

Zuko liked to walk around and play throughout his session.

Teddy’s eyes had me mesmerised.

Eric knew instinctively what to do, this was the very first capture from his session!

Yes, you are completely adorable Eric.

Prince William’s Mum was scratching him behind the ear to keep him still in this shot. Ahhh the magic of Photoshop.

Are we going to be done soon? I have important things to do!

Two of these sessions were actually done in the guardian’s homes using my portable studio set up. This is an option for any studio-style session, however an additional travel fee will apply.

If you live in Brisbane/surrounds, your kitty or doggy can strut their stuff in the studio too! All you need to do is purchase a Sweet Pea and Busy Bee harness in a fabric combo not previously photographed… all the details can be found here.

Kathy x



I started my second business earlier this year called Sweet Pea and Busy Bee making dog and cat harnesses out of reclaimed fabrics from op shops. It was something I’d had in the back of my mind for years. I have made harnesses for my own dogs for some time, and always get compliments on them when out and about walking Chloe and Webber. However, establishing my photography business has taken most of my time and energy since mid 2014.

Now that part of my work life is ticking over nicely, I finally had the time to launch my new venture. An exciting part is getting to do some more work in my teeny tiny home studio to create imagery for the Sweet Pea and Busy Bee website, Facebook and Instagram.

Yes, my studio is tiny… but it does the job!

Here are some of the images created showcasing my doggy harnesses. The approach is a little different for commercial work like this (for a business) compared to my usual domestic work (for animal guardians). My primary objective is to make the product look good. Don’t get me wrong, engagement with the doggy is important too, but my main goal is show the design, fit, and features of the harness, whilst making the pup look super cute in the process. For a domestic commission, my  focus is on bringing out the personality of the animal and creating images that their guardian will love.

Sweet Pea and Busy Bee | dog harness

My own pups, Webber and Chloe (a.k.a. Sweet Pea and Busy Bee). Yes, my other business is named after them.

Sweet Pea and Busy Bee | dog harnessSweet Pea and Busy Bee | dog harness

Sweet Pea and Busy Bee | dog harness

Puggy happily snorted his way through our session.

Sweet Pea and Busy Bee | dog harness

Spot the peanut butter!

Sweet Pea and Busy Bee | dog harness

Sweet Pea and Busy Bee | dog harness

Charlie is a natural poser!

Sweet Pea and Busy Bee | dog harnessSweet Pea and Busy Bee | dog harness

Sweet Pea and Busy Bee | dog harness

Dobby, those ears!

dog harnessSweet Pea and Busy Bee | dog harness

Sweet Pea and Busy Bee | dog harness

Lucy strutting her stuff on the dog walk!

Sweet Pea and Busy Bee | dog harnessSweet Pea and Busy Bee | dog harness

Sweet Pea and Busy Bee | dog harness

Crumpet was one of my happiest models ever!

Sweet Pea and Busy Bee | dog harnessSweet Pea and Busy Bee | dog harness

Sweet Pea and Busy Bee | dog harness

Samira knew exactly what she was doing, she was born to model!

Sweet Pea and Busy Bee | dog harnessSweet Pea and Busy Bee | dog harness

Sweet Pea and Busy Bee | dog harness

Pippi Long Sausage and family.

Sweet Pea and Busy Bee | dog harness

Mavis, Winston, Lulu, Ringo.

Sweet Pea and Busy Bee | dog harness

Ringo with his harness on properly (he was undressing himself in the group shot!)

Sweet Pea and Busy Bee is launching kitty harnesses next week, so my next post will feature images from cat studio sessions… which require quite a different approach. Cat sessions are more on the cat’s terms!

Kathy x