By Prathima Pingali*
I speak from experience when I say this, not everyone understands Indies. A lot of them come with past trauma & it takes someone who either has an indie themselves or who really understands the meaning of patience to deal with them.
In the 4 years I’ve been doing this, I have learnt so much about Indies, how to work around their fears & get them comfortable, that now it’s like second nature.
Whether its aggression, fear, shyness, anything & everything can we dealt with, with a little bit of time & a whole lot of love.
If you relate to what I said above, then in your photoshoot, the easiest way to get them comfortable when in new surroundings / uncomfortable situations is to…CUDDLE!
Whether your dog is scared of a camera, a new person or place, this trick works for all of those situations!
It’s doesn’t matter if you’re shooting professionally or just with your phone.
This TRIED & TESTED trick works SO WELL when I’m shooting, especially with Indies!
Wrap your arms around your pup, shower them with loads of kisses, pick them up & tell them how much they mean to you, how much you love them…
Theresult? Some of the most beautiful, candid photos capturing the relationship you share with them! ♥
Take a look at some behind the scenes stories from some of my Indie dog shoots!
The Toughest Family Photo Ever
I wanted to start with this photo, because it was the toughest photo I have ever had to take.
See the indie on the right? Her name is Ella, and she is terrified of everything (to no fault of her own ofcourse)
Having had multiple traumatic experiences in her past, everything scares her, including me & my camera!
She wouldn’t enter the room that I was in.
Baby girl would pace around the house, super uneasy with the fact that I was in her space.
So, I buried myself under the hundreds of pillows that Feriel (her hooman) had on her sofa & covered myself with a blanket so that nothing but my camera lens was ever so slightly sticking out.
Told her hoomans to pick her up, get onto the sofa opposite me, & cuddle for a while. They gave her treats, love & then, I started making the weirdest noises! Pig snorts, Meows, Cow Moos. The snorting like a pig got her attention & I finally got her to look into my direction, but not get scared by seeing me.
FINALLY, A BEAUTIFUL FAMILY PHOTO!
Data – The Skittish Little House Mouse
This cutie pie was terrified of having someone new in his home. It took him 30 minutes to get comfortable with me (but not enough for me to pet him or walk too close to him).
Nothing worked when it came to bribing him, none of his favourite treats or toys. Luckily, his parents hadn’t fed him breakfast yet, so they suggested that I hold his food bowl & wait for him to eat out of it.
We needed him to push out of his comfort zone to get him to try to be cordial with me.
Finally, he ate his whole breakfast while I was holding it!
Since my camera is heavy & big, to him it looked like a black blob, he was still a little unsure about it. So I placed treats on & around the camera for him to come sniff around & take the treat as a reward. He got a bit more comfortable & then I told his parents to jump in & smother him with all the love!
Result? This below photo below, where he’s smiling, at ease & enjoying all the attention!
Milo – As Sweet As The Chocolate Milk!
When his mom told me she wanted to get a shoot done of him, she said “He’s an indie mix, we THINK he has a bit of beagle in him, but we don’t know!”
So ofcourse, when I turned up at their house to shoot Milo, I walked upto the door expecting an Indie, probably smaller than the size of a lab, but oh my god!
First off, he had the LOUDEST bark ever, and that was the moments I knew he was going to be a big dog. But, you will not believe, Milo was the biggest indie I had EVER SEEN!
He had the absolute best temperament. All he wanted to do was walk up & sniff you for the first 5 minutes, then he would place his huge paw on your lap & give you puppy eyes & beg you for treats hahaha.
Whether he looked like a beagle or not, he definitely had their stubborn nature hahaha. Towards the end of the shoot he was so done with us. He just plopped into the floor, ready to pass out. We hadn’t gotten a family photo with him till then & this was the perfect opportunity, so I told his sisters to lie down with him!
Check out some of the cuddly photos we got with him during our shoot!
Mowgli – Our Little Jungle Boy!
Honestly, I have no idea what breeds Mowgli is a mix of. It was one of the first questions I asked his parents & even they don’t know! But what I definitely know is that he’s got some rowdy indie traits in him 😂
From the moment I rang the doorbell, the guard dog in him awoke & he started barking at me & the door but was terrified to step outside & actually fight!
Then once I entered the house, he was scared of my camera & the sound of the shutter that it made.
So I decorated my camera in all types of treats to get him to get closer to it & comfortable with being around it. That helped a bit, but he still didn’t like the shutter sound, so I had to put the camera on silent shooting mode!
Once we did a few test shots, Mowgli got the hang of it & was posing like he was made for the camera! This shoot was a very special one, as it wasn’t only a shoot of Mowgli & his adoptive parents but ALSO his godparents!
People who helped raise him ever since he came home! Everyone got an individual photo with Mowgli & he was showered with love & treats all the way!
*Author is the owner & photographer at ‘Pawparazzi’. She has a bachelor’s degree in filmmaking with a specialization in Photography. She started Pawparazzi in 2017, in her last year of college & in July 2020, she was voted as one of the TOP 25 PET PHOTOGRAPHERS IN THE WORLD!
Prathima started her journey in photography and entrepreneurship in class 10 and after that she went on to win the WES Biennial Photography Competition in 2013 and won First Prize in the Under 18 category, with a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh. You can visit her websitehttps://www.pawparazzi.in/ and Instagram handle @pawparazzi.petphotography.