How to take a perfect tailshot! PART I
Clicking your pooch is an art. It is difficult to keep these furs of energy still to take a perfect shot. Here, pet photographers Parul Sardesai, Sonam Gandhi and Eshita Prasanna share the secret to perfect tailshot.
Animals surprise us, all the time. “It could be something they do, or the way they look, or just when they are being themselves. And now, with smart-phones, it has become very easy to capture those moments,” shares Sonam Gandhi.
“I love pooches’ expressions on camera, it’s so pure and so full of just love… every four-legged is photogenic! It is so amazing to capture those candid moments of the furry little ones,” shares Eshita Prasanna. But it’s not easy to have the perfect shot. “When it comes to shooting pets or animals in general, one needs a lot of ‘Power of Understanding’. Animals don’t have words as a medium of expression and as a result one has to depend on instincts. One needs a lot of patience to photograph them and even more to capture them at the right moment and there is no ‘Take 2’ here! All the same, it is little easier to work with trained pets accompanied by the pet parent,” shares Parul Sardesai.
Tips to take a perfect shot…
- Give space: “The main factor here is to give the pet a lot of space to become comfortable with the person taking the pictures as well as its surroundings. This will ensure that the pet is not stressed during and after the shoot. Most animals are actually great posers as long as we are patient with them,” shares Eshita.
- Lighting: “Try to use natural light as flash burst might frighten the pet and also cause a red eye effect,” says Parul. “Lighting should be soft, yet highlight the pet,” adds Eshita. While, Sonam adds, “The easiest and the most preferred way to photograph is to make use of the abundant natural light. Slide back the curtains, open the doors and let that beautiful streaming light come in. Since your pets are already accustomed to this kind of light, they won’t get distracted and you’ll be able to capture them in their element. Making them sit beside a window or in a balcony will give you good results.”
- Location: “With regards to the location, outdoors usually bring out the fun side of most pets, though this means that the pet should know and trust the location,” tells Eshita. “Best time for this is early morning or evening. It’s a great time to take them for a walk, and the light lends itself well to photographs,” adds Sonam.
- Background: Be aware of what you have in your frame. “If you want the focus to be on your pet then make sure your photograph is uncluttered. This is why most professional photographs look better. Try it out. It always works,” shares Sonam.
- Composition: “First try close-up shots to get the hang of light and composition. Once you’ve done that, explore the additions you can make to your image. The chair they are sitting on, or on their beds, or even of people they’re interacting with. Remember that you will look back to these photographs, so try photographing them in all possible angles, environments and moods,” tells Sonam.
- Capture the eyes: ”Focus on the eye so that the eyes are clear and sharp as animals have expressive eyes and sometimes unique,” shares Parul.
- Stoop to their level: “We photograph the world the way we see it. Adapt to shooting at different heights,” shares Sonam. “Always, go down to the pooch level instead of taking shots from above. i.e. Shoot from the pets eye level or below,” tells Parul.
- Engage: Your pets will surprise you the most during playtime. “This is when they are at their best and happiest. So, grab a ball, a feather, even a box or anything that engages them into play. Keep your camera close, pick a moment and click,” adds Sonam.
- Shooting in motion: “If shooting in motion make sure you have a constant setting most of the time, preferably with a high shutter speed, and try not to spend too much time changing or resetting the camera and be quick with it if it all you do,” tells Parul.
- Use zoom: “Try using a zoom lens so you don’t have to go very close to the pet making him uncomfortable or at times defensive,” tells Parul.
- Macro shots: Parul suggests to shoot some macro shots for details.
- Bring the surprise element: “Surprising them can also give you good shots of them. Like make some noises, say some commands, etc,” adds Parul.
- Experiment: ”Experiment while shooting. Try doing different things with your pets. Try different angles and compositions,” tells Parul.
- Add props: Use some fun props or their favourite toys, according to Parul.
- Bribe with treats: Parul says, ”Carrying some treats for them is a good idea. Giving them the treats once in a while can be helpful in making them do certain things they are trained for.”
- Patience is the keyword: “And last but not the least, be patient. Pet photography requires a lot of patience. So don’t give up easily. Take your time, give them their time and enjoy being around the pet,” advises Parul.
“The important thing to remember here is that photography is just another tool to engage with your pets. It’s sad that most of us are unable to devote more time to them. Their quality of life is in direct proportion to the amount of time you spend with them. So, click away and just have some fun,” concludes Sonam.
(To be continued in the next issue).
(With inputs from Sonam Gandhi, founder and photographer, Print My Paws, Mumbai; Eshita Prasanna, founder, Tailshots, Chennai; and Parul Sardesai, PDS Photography, Mumbai).