Kathy McMillan Photography » Brisbane-based lifestyle and documentary animal photographer, specialising in capturing connections between precious creatures and their kind-hearted people.

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

The brief for Lily’s fine art dog portrait session at Shorncliffe Pier was to “capture joyfulness”. As a rescue from the greyhound racing industry, Lily deserves nothing but joy! Lily is not only a rescue, she is a working assistance dog too, so capturing some moments of pure joy off-duty was important for her guardian.

Lily was the winner of a competition I ran on my stall at the Brisbane Vegan Markets during January-March this year.

Fine Art sessions require a little more effort and planning, and finding the perfect location was top of the list. Lily had never been to the beach before, and her guardian thought that new experience may give us an opportunity to capture some joyfulness. After exploring a number of bayside locations, we settled on Shorncliffe Pier.

Lighting is also an important consideration in creating special images, so we met just after sunrise for beautiful soft light and were lucky there was some cloud cover to create nice colour in the sky.

Some careful editing and enhancements produced the collection shared below.





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greyhound photo session



Meet pretty Chiquita, a boisterous 18 month old Labrador x Kelpie pup, currently in foster care with Best Friends Rescue.  Cheeky by nature, Chicky by nickname! This happy girl has a LOT of energy and bounced around my tiny studio filling it with her big personality and making me and her foster carer laugh non-stop.

If you can provide Chicky a large yard so she can run (acreage would be even better) and can play with her a lot, she could be the girl of your dreams. Get in touch with BFR for more info. Please share this post too so she gets as much exposure as possible.





Beautiful Bailey is a 12 year old Alaskan Malamute, absolutely adored by his family, just as a loyal friend like him should be. His humans are foster carers as well, and I first met them when I visited to take some photos of a rescue kitty in their care (you can check out Tippy’s photos here, please get in touch with Pets Without Partners if you would like to adopt her!).

Bailey is advanced in age for his breed, and has some serious health issues to contend with, so his family thought a photo session of his own was in order. The photos were taken at home since Bailey’s mobility isn’t great and we wanted him to be as calm and relaxed as possible. We did venture to the park across the road for a change in scenery though!

I cannot stress enough how important it is to capture precious memories with your fur-babies. Like children, they grow up so quickly, and before you know it they’re not puppies anymore, as much as they will always will be in our eyes. Take a moment to record them chasing a ball, tilting their head in the adorable way they do, and make sure YOU are in some photos with them and not always behind the camera. In fact, need to take my own advice in that regard.



12 years old? Bailey looking more like a puppy!

Bailey posing so nicely with Trish.

I can’t stay still for much longer!!

Neighbour Cheryl loves Bailey so much, they made a hole in the fence between their yards for him!

I will follow you anywhere Sara-Jane.

This adorable, super-cuddly boy is Cooper, a Border Collie cross currently in foster care with Precious Paws Animal Rescue. Cooper loves to give people hugs. I mean, he jumps up, wraps his front legs firmly around you and holds on tight! He also loves to give kisses and nibble on your ear, and hug, hug, huuuuuuuuug some more!

If you are interested in adopting Cooper, contact PPAR now. Cooper is so affectionate and playful, he will be your best friend forever! Please share this post so Cooper has the best chance of being seen by his new best friend.


Good things come in small packages sums up my little home studio to a tee. We recently moved house, and finding a place that had room for a dedicated studio, in a central location, that didn’t come with exorbitant rent was a challenge. Compromises had to be made, and to be honest, I had my doubts the back room in our new abode in Chermside would suffice.

I had in the back of my mind that I would need the recommended “ideal” minimum space, which is around 3 x 6 metres, a little smaller than the size of my previous home studio, which was a garage. My new space is quite a bit smaller at 2 x 3.4 metres.

Anyone who knows anything about portrait photography will understand that you need minimum 6 metres depth so you can use a longer focal length (85mm is perfect) to ensure people’s features aren’t distorted… but what about animals? I photograph animals in the studio almost exclusively using my 35mm lens. Up close. I generally only use my long zoom for outdoor sessions. So why was I beating myself up thinking the new smaller space wouldn’t work?!

In reality, the only change the new space meant is that I will only photograph animals in there, no people. Which is fine, as I recommend that pets are photographed with their people at home or outdoors anyway.

The more I thought about it, and as I started setting up my new space, the advantages became clearer:

  • Sessions will be easier to manage, e.g. with the minimalist set up, there’s less places for animals to hide (kitties in particular) and less time spent coaxing the more timid subjects out of hidey holes;
  • A smaller backdrop is easier to switch over and allows for quicker changes if required; and
  • Since it is a dedicated space compared to multi-purpose (i.e. a garage that needed to be cleared out and set up for every session), it can be ready to go at short notice.

An easier to manage session, dedicated space, and only photographing animals, add up to getting much more done in less time, which in turn means I can now offer studio sessions at a lower price, which is great news for clients! You can view session pricing here.

To celebrate my new compact studio, I will be running a special promotion for studio sessions taking place from now until 31st May 2017, so keep an eye on your inbox/social media for more details. In the meantime, here’s some photos of my sweet little studio, and some test images of my less than enthusiastic pups taken today, demonstrating a few very different looks using the same space.




PS – If you have your heart set on being photographed with your pet studio-style, it is still possible if you have space at home for me to set up a portable studio (i.e. minimum 3m x 6m, the size of a garage).