An American mum who hosts photoshoots of her three guinea pigs, turning them into witches for Halloween and riding Santa’s sleigh for Christmas has found thousands of like-minded followers on social media.
Nancy Ho Foster, 47, a mother of two teenagers, has an Instagram page for her “Royal Furtatoes” Leo, Polly and Maisie, and has amassed just under 11,000 followers.
Nancy was previously a family photographer, and since quitting her job to become a full-time mother and consultant for arts education and hunger relief nonprofits, she has pursued her passion for photography. , his pets becoming his models.
With her iPhone, Nancy posts funny snaps of her guinea pigs as characters from films such as Harry Potter or James Bond, as well as fairies and queens.
She also posts pictures of her pets with mini props, such as construction tools, a bar, a canvas, and paints.
During the holidays, Nancy does themed photo shoots for Halloween and Christmas, featuring cauldrons and pumpkins or Santa hats and reindeer.
Nancy is from upstate New York but has lived in Virginia since 2001 with her husband Brian, 52, and their two teenage boys, and the family has two American Shorthairs, Leo, who is four, and Maisie, who has three years. years old, and Polly, a two-year-old Peruvian.
Nancy was a family photographer from 2009 to 2016, taking photos of families and their children, especially for the holidays.
She said: “But as my kids got older I decided I didn’t want to spend my weekends doing photo shoots, I’d rather spend them with my family.
“So I stopped doing that, but I never stopped taking pictures.”
She added: “And so when we had guinea pigs, they became my new role models.
“Then, especially when I got a better phone with a better camera, it became much easier to take pictures and share them.”
The Royal Furtatoes Instagram page has gained just under 11,000 followers since Nancy launched the page in December 2019.
The page reads “Guinea pigs (fur potatoes or furtatoes) are royalty in our house” and features hundreds of posts, each earning hundreds, if not thousands, of likes.
“I’m proud to be as round as these pumpkins!” – Leo” reads a seasonal post showing Leo among a cart of miniature pumpkins.
Nancy explained how it all started by saying, “I was talking to a friend who has a rabbit and telling her that I liked sharing the pictures of the pig on Facebook, but I didn’t feel like my Facebook friends really cared.
“So she mentioned that she actually had an Instagram page for her bunny.
“People there were more of an Instagram pet community. So we decided to try this.
“We posted photos on Instagram and the page just took off.”
The whole process usually takes 10 to 15 minutes, Nancy explained: “I always have a treat for the pig. I give them a vegetarian treat like cucumbers or parsley while I take pictures.
“I have to set up the area for the shoot, whether it’s a chair outside or another area outside, to get the best natural light, and then I have to get the prop .
“I have to collect the pigs and I take the photos in minutes, but I can take over 100 photos to get a favourite. And then I’ll do some editing.
She laughed: “Pretty Polly is a diva but she can be a very messy eater so sometimes we like to point out how messy she is, we don’t even need a prop.
“Maisie is sweet and shy – she’s a great role model because she just sits there.
“Leo is also a great role model, he is a funny and stocky boy, but also very nice.”
She added: “These are fantastic designs and we like to incorporate lots of colors and accessories.
“And with having kids, we just have a lot of fun stuff at home.
“We have lots of toys and props that we can use as props to make those photos a little more fun.”
She said, “I’m always looking for inspiration. So sometimes if I’m in a store and see something that might look like a good accessory, I can’t resist and buy it.
“Or if I see something on the shelf that the kids don’t play with anymore, I could use it.”
Nancy also does Christmas-themed photoshoots, such as incorporating presents, Santa’s sleigh, or a cup of hot chocolate.
In the Instagram pet community, there are often photo ideas for each day before the actual day, and Nancy often uses these themes as inspiration.
She said: ‘I take pictures with things like a cute little reindeer or a letter to Santa’s mailbox and I wanted to put them inside.
“And even just a simple big red bow that we had as a gift – I stuck it on Leo’s head once.”
She added: “I try not to put clothes on them. It’s restrictive because they’re uncomfortable. I don’t mind little hats or bows. They just shake their heads and they fall.
Nancy explained how it feels to have such a large following, saying, “I’m still so surprised that we have such a following but very grateful for the interest and support.
“My main goal is really to share these images and try to entertain people.”
She added, “We try to make the pictures fun or entertaining, whether it’s funny facial expressions or funny captions.
“And I really appreciate when followers comment and tell me that our photos made them smile for the day. So that feels good.”