By Eshita Prasanna*
Hi! I’m Eshita Prasanna, a photographer by profession and a pet photographer out of passion and love for animals! Pet photography, I believe, is more of an art than a profession. I started Tailshots in 2013 to create, capture, and preserve memories of pets and their loved ones!
Here’s my perspective about the Art of Pet Photography:
Lifespan & Memory
Taking photos is about creating memories. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to go back in time to cherish those beautiful moments? Our little furry ones have a short life span, so it is important to frame the precious time that we share with them.
Pet & Owner
Each image is a story, and each image has so much to communicate! Pets also emote like us though they cannot communicate verbally. The quality time spent by the owner with their pet speaks out in the pictures. I try to capture the candid, playful, and lovely moments between the pet and the owner. Even if they’re not present in every frame, the pet owner is around during the shoot, which not only ensures that the pet cooperates for the shoot, but it also brings out the love and bond between them in the portrait.
Capturing the Uniqueness of Each Pet
The body language of a pet says a lot about their personality. Each mannerism of theirs, like the way they sit, the way they lie down, the way they yawn, the way they look up at their pet parent or the way they chase their tail and settle down is a factor of the photograph. Each pet has his/her own unique characteristics and all these speak through the picture. Their different expressions and various head tilts make the photos extra special. It is important to get to know the interesting little details about pets from pet parents like the pet’s favourite spot, loved toy, cozy corner, and funny habits, thereby making the photograph memorable for them.
The Art of Photography
While it is a natural tendency for pets to look smart and beautiful in every shot, it is important to capture their character, the spark in their eyes, and the magic in their souls. This is where professional photographers come in as they dive into the lives of the pet and the owner in a short span of time to capture the relationship and preserve it for eternity. I believe it is important to be thankful to photographers as they put their heart and soul to bring in Art into the frame in their own unique way as it is the artistic eye of the photographer that creates alchemy by combining the right moment, the angle, the lighting, the pose, the subject, the focus, the background, all together to create an everlasting memory.
The unconditional love for animals topped with lots (and lots) of patience! Masking fear before the pets wouldn’t make it possible to capture them as they sense the fear and discomfort. Each dog is different, with some being friendly, some aggressive, some agile, and not to forget a few hyper active ones. For their and our safety, gauging and understanding their boundaries while respecting their comfort zone is of utmost importance before we begin. It is therefore important to establish some level of friendship and trust before starting off the shoot.
Visualisation & Uniqueness
It is critical to visualise the images before the shoot, once the location has been decided. I do not look at reference images because I want each and every image to be of ‘my own’ with absolutely no outside influence or an involuntary nudge. While pets are usually great models, you do not have all day to work your way through. It is imperative to find the sweet spot between their initial excitement and them getting tired or bored to complete your shots.
Challenge & Comparison
Sometimes it’s interesting to get creative in our shots while we remain at a distance from the pet. It is important to constantly challenge ourselves to strive and get better with every photograph. How differently we capture those moments, from different angles, by limiting camera gear, adjusting the lighting, speaks through the pictures. It is important to strike a balance between creativity, originality, and the permutation and combination of framing to obtain the perfect photograph. While you cannot avoid comparison in this day and age, especially with the advent of social media, I believe that the best and most critical form of comparison should be with our own previous work.
Editing & Processing
For me, working and tweaking a little with the existing ambience is the best. I do most of my editing on the camera by constantly playing around with the parameters and settings as much as possible. If it is possible to remove an unnecessary object from the background, I would simply move with the camera to avoid the noise rather than taking the photo to edit it later on Photoshop. I like my images to be as authentic and raw as possible with only the most basic colour corrections and leash removals coming in through post production software edit. I limit my editing process as far as possible and constantly challenge myself to take pictures that require limited and minimal subsequent intervention.
Phone vs. Professional Camera
While phone cameras have developed to bring out supposedly ‘professional grade pictures’ over time, the difference between taking a picture on a phone camera and capturing a moment on a professional camera is still miles apart. I have nothing against phone camera as I myself take a lot of pictures on my iPhone. However, a shot on a professional camera is undoubtedly superior and brings about a certain depth, clarity, focus, and colour, which is simply unparalleled. Professional cameras are a significant investment, and the returns are the joy of capturing new, exciting, and joyful memories.
Here’s hoping to create more stories and memories through my photographs this year and in the times to come!
*Author is a photographer by profession and a pet photographer out of passion and love for animals! She has done masters in Photography and has been in this field for 12 years. She started Tailshots (www.tailshots.in) in 2013 to create, capture, and preserve memories of pets and their loved ones! Her Instagram profile is @tailshots_petphotography.