It’s a Zoo! Photographing Kids and Pets in Fun, Whimsical Portraits with Andrea Martin

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Andrea Martin is known for photographing kids and pets together in gorgeous, intimate, and whimsical portraits. Today she reveals how she sources animals, creates portraits safely, and also how she supports community over competition.

Introduction (4:30)

How did you get started photographing with kids and pets? (5:02)

I was never allowed any pets other than a cat as a child. Since we now have animals, I started adding them into my own family photos, and then expanded that to my clients.

Do you live on a farm with tons of animals (6:45)

No! I live in the suburbs, but I have a big yard. I have 5 ducks, a pig, 4 dogs, 2 bunnies, 2 guinea pigs, 2 geckos and 2 turtles right now! And 4 kids, so it’s a zoo all the time!

What advice do you have to keep everyone safe when photographing kids and pets? (7:32)

I first make sure the kids have been around animals before. I also make sure that the animals I photograph can not be hurt easily by kids, and they won’t hurt kids (they are often the clients’ own pets). I use my son as my assistant to be able to control the animals and help pose them.

What are your favourite animals to work with? (10:15)

Always the ducks! But it’s often seasonal, like when there are lambs around.

Where do find animals if you don’t have your own? (11:12)

Just typical networking! Someone I know through daycare had a petting zoo. And one of their babysitters own a bunch of exotic animals. I also do casting calls for specific animals to use in sessions. Sometime I also take website adoption pictures for the humane society in exchange for using an animal in a shoot.

As a busy mom of 4, how do you get it all done? (12:53)

You can’t! My husband has been able to help, but overall, you have to just prioritize. I schedule as much as I can, but usually just wing it! The house can wait!

What is the number one question you get asked about your photography? (14:38)

It’s always “Where do you get your animals?”! And “Are these animals all yours”, and “Do you live on a farm”.

What would you say would be your dream session? (15:33)

I would love to travel and photograph kids and pets in all different countries around the world.

Advice on building friendships with other photographers (16:20)

When I started, there were no workshops around, so I would reach out to a few photographers asking for advice. Some were incredibly rude and hateful and made me feel awful about contacting them. But some people were amazing, and one person even mentored me. I’m not saying you should give everything away for free, but you can always be kind in your response. There are enough clients for everyone.

What do you wish you knew just starting out? (20:33)

I spent a lot of time comparing my work to established and experienced photographers. It was making me depressed because I didn’t have to skills to compete yet. I wish I knew to compare myself to myself, not to others.

Speed Round! (22:26)

What are you artistically curious about? (24:08)

I want to learn studio lighting.

Discover more about Andrea Martin:


Facebook: @andreaMphotography

Instagram: @andreamartinphoto

Bio: Andrea is a child and family photographer In WV who specializes in shooting children with animals. She has 4 children and I’ve been married for 17 years.
Andrea’s accolades include
* Looks like film children photographer of the year 2019
* Nacap 1st and 2nd place children’s category winner
* Featured on Bored Panda, My modern Met, and Good housekeeping

Resources shared in this episode:

2021 {online} Family Retreat

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