Kitty Close-up: Angel in The Netherlands

Angel volunteers at her local animal shelter in The Netherlands and takes beautiful pictures of the cats and kittens who are waiting for their forever homes. She takes several pictures of each cat and selects her favorite two or three shots. Angel then gives those pictures to the shelter and they can choose which one to use for their database and website. She photographs two to three times a week at the shelter.


A Conversation with Angel

What is the shelter like? 
The shelter helps a lot of different animals like cats, dogs, (pet) birds, rabbits, hamsters, etc. The animals can stay at the shelter as long as they need to find a forever home. There is no time limit and no animal will be put down unless it is a medical necessity. There is also the possibility for cats and dogs to stay with us when their owners go on holiday. This is one of the ways the shelter makes money to look after the shelter animals.


How did you become interested in photography?
I’ve been interested in photography for as long as I remember. I used to travel a lot and was mostly focused on travel photography before. I even applied to go to art college at one point, but that didn’t work out. Now that I volunteer at the shelter, I take photos of cats. I think it works best if you take photos of a subject you are passionate about. It shows in your work.


When did you start taking pictures at the shelter?
I started working there as a volunteer over four years ago. Taking photos wasn’t on my mind during the first couple of years. Then I occasionally started taking photos just for myself. The shelter uses photos of the cats for their database and their website, but someone else was already taking care of that. I think it was about six months ago that the other person moved on to do other things and the people at the shelter asked me if I wanted to help provide them with photos.

What inspired you to start taking pictures at the shelter?
Volunteering at the shelter, one of the things that I enjoy the most is to help socialize the more “difficult” cats. By that I mean the shy cats, cats that are scared, cats that aren’t very familiar with humans. It takes a lot of time and patience to get these cats to open up and the shelter employees don’t always have the time to do that. So I would have my little projects, as we would call it, and I would get really attached to them. It’s a bit like fostering but at the shelter. I did get emotionally attached to a lot of them and that’s why I started taking photos. Just so I would have some memories of them when they would go to their forever homes.


What is the hardest part about taking pictures?
It’s important to me that the cats have no stress when I take photos. I prefer to spend time playing and cuddling first before taking the camera out. The more time I have, the better the photos. I only use my phone so it is less intrusive than an SLR camera. It does limit the kind of photos I can take. I would love to get more actions shots, but that would require an SLR with a good lens.


Do you have any pets at home? 
I have one cat called Yukimarimo. She and her mama stayed with me last summer in foster care, and when it was time for her to find a forever home, I couldn’t let her go. I think you call it a foster fail? :-)

Yukimarimo – Angel’s foster fail

Is there a cat that you photographed that especially touched your heart?
There are definitely a few cats that have touched my heart in the time I have worked at the shelter. Most of these were my little projects helping them socialize, so it is not necessarily related to taking photos. Yukimarimo obviously touched my heart in a way that made me decide to overcome certain personal issues in order to adopt her. I do love all the cats at the shelter and I hope it shows in the pictures.

Anything else we should know about you? A fun fact?
Recently I joined Instagram to get some feedback on my photos and find inspiration in other people’s photos. I would just like to say how happy I am that the cat community on IG is such a positive one, especially since social media can be brutal sometimes. Cat photos break all language barriers. It doesn’t matter if we can’t read the captions that are in languages foreign to us. We all understand the language the photo speaks. I think that is something truly amazing. And I’m thankful for the interesting people I meet through IG, like Rachel and her beautiful blog. (Awww, thank you, Angel!)

A big thank you to Angel for volunteering at her local shelter and sharing her gorgeous photos with us! The cat community, like Angel said, is such a great one and I love meeting and hearing stories from all around the world. You can connect with Angel on Instagram (@yukimarimo_pics) and see more of her beautiful pictures!

More of Angel’s shelter photography

(click to enlarge and browse through)

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  1. Excellent post and photos. I am so impressed that a phone can take such great quality photos. Angel is truly an angel.

  2. Not only are the photos gorgeous, they really capture the personality of the cats and highlight how each one of them is special. Bravo!!! I love them!

  3. It’s so interesting to see what things are like in other countries. Look at how much stimulation those shelter kitties have! Far better than a cage.

  4. Thank you Angel! There’s no doubt that gorgeous photos like her’s help cats get adopted. My peeps fell in love with me through my PetFinder photos. PAWS does a great job with that too.

  5. Those are PHONE pics? Wow!! I can’t view Instragram at work … does she have info on what sort of phone/camera she’s using? I’m most impressed with how gorgeous the cats’ eyes appear!

    1. Thank you Leendadll. My phone is a LG G2 mini. It has 8mp camera. Eyes are the windows to the soul they say, so a lot of the time my focus is on the eyes when I take photos. The way the light falls in the eyes can help to make them shine more, I try to use that. Hope it helps. :)

  6. Angel’s photos are absolutely amazing. That she took them with her cell phone is awesome. That is so less traumatic for the kitties. Mom is going to go to Instagram right now and follow her. Thanks for intruding her to us. XOCK, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

  7. What a great story! Quality pictures really can make the difference – the bond she shares with these cats also shines through the camera. They seem to trust her, which is so important.

  8. What a wonderful talent! Great photos seem to help a lot of homeless pets these days. These kitties are so beautiful! I hope they all find homes soon. The rescue sounds wonderful.

  9. Great photos are everything in getting animals adopted quickly, and I love to hear about how people use their skills to help animals =) The shelter sounds good, especially the feature of boarding cats you’ve adopted when going on holiday. Fabulous photos, especially that first one — oh my!

  10. These photos are amazing, & so is Angel! This is such a helpful thing to do for shelters. A picture is worth a thousand words, but in the shelter world a picture is worth a million words! Shelter staff don’t have the time to take photos, the intake process has to be quick. Angel is a great Photographer, and no doubt is saving lives with her artistry.
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  11. With these pictures all the animals have a better chance to be adoptive. Beautiful pictures of beautiful kitties. Are you from Holland, Angel? Dutch Pawkisses for a Happy Day :) <3

  12. Great photos are so important in getting pets adopted. Angel does a fabulous job and I’m sure her shelter would appreciate it. I’m going to share this with my community as we have many volunteers & shelter staff who can learn from this article. Thanks so much, Annette

  13. Such a beautiful interview, great job!

    Such a kind, giving person Angel is to do this. Her photography is just amazing and with a phone camera, just wow!

    Will definitely be checking out her IG account ❤