It’s difficult enough to coax a puppy or a kitten to sit still and pose for a professional portrait. Add a guinea pig and a squirrel to the mix, and it seems logical that chaos would follow.
Enter Mark Taylor.
The British pet photographer, who runs a studio in the U.K. called Warren Photographic, is delighting animals lovers worldwide with his “brother from another mother” pics showing matching bunnies, cats, dogs, guinea pigs, hamsters, squirrels and deer posing together in harmony.
With his snapshots now getting thousands of views on his website and Facebook, Taylor says he has been approached about doing a coffee table book and possibly a calendar. But for now, he’s too busy patiently waiting for just the right moment to snap pics of lookalike pets in his studio to worry about that.
Patience is key when trying to encourage a yellow Labrador puppy to cuddle up with a matching (and somewhat skittish) guinea pig or rabbit.
“The animals don’t always get along,” Taylor, 31, tells PEOPLE, “so if they have not met before, it’s important to first introduce them with a barrier so one can judge if there is likely to be any arguing. I had a cat once who suddenly decided that she didn’t like the rabbit I was using. Nothing could persuade her to sit with that rabbit.”
A former landscape photographer, Taylor decided to follow his mother’s example several years ago and focus on pet portraits. Jane Burton, a former wildlife photographer, convinced her son that he should photograph animals with similar markings when she noticed that a friend’s gray dwarf rabbit was an exact match to her Birman kitten.
“So the idea was hers,” Taylor says, “and now most of my animals (for the photos) come from a breeder who goes out of her way to find matching animals for me. It’s a challenge, but it’s rewarding when you get two animals that cuddle up nicely, particularly when cats rub up against another animal. That always looks cute.”
Other moments are not so camera-friendly. A certain photo shoot with a chicken that defecated all over the studio — then took out a few studio lights — comes to mind. And on more than one occasion, says Taylor, frisky male rabbits have attempted to become “overly amorous” with their matching models.
Thankfully, a studio assistant has perfected the art of dangling feather wands and squeezing a squeaky toy at just the right time to create necessary diversions.
“She is essential to this type of photography — I couldn’t work without her,” Taylor tells PEOPLE.
And when everything goes wrong?
“If the animals are unhappy, you’re not going to get good photos,” he says. “It’s important to know when to give up.”