Gone are the days when pets were just an accessory or a status symbol or kept to guard the house. More number of people nowadays are emphasizing on pets as members of the family. We have seen that in the last five years or so there has been a growing trend in people spending on their pets -- providing services like dog walking, pet grooming, training and now photography. Pet owners make sure they have the memories of their pets on print forever. While this trend has already been established in the West, in India it is slowly catching on.
Here is our pick of pet photographers in India who try to capture the best moments of your pets, and make them look good.
Aakanksha Tavag – Pet Photographer
A self-taught pet photographer, Aakanksha Tavag ventgured into this two years ago. “I've been photographing animals (wildlife) for more than 6 years. My own pets – my dog and my kitten – were my subjects for a long time and are of course, my sources of inspiration. Then, one day when someone asked for a pet photographer, I was recommended to them. That sparked off the idea to set up Pet Photographer, so it was a very natural progression into the field,” explains Tavag.
Tavag doesn’t find it that difficult to photograph pets as it is what she does. But she says, “It's definitely very different from human photography, so it's challenging at first - you need to truly understand animal behaviour to be able to predict what a pet will do. You also have to take into account their comfort, or they will never let loose and show their true colours in front of the camera. Like humans, there are shy pets and very active pets as well - the trick is to identify that and allow the pet to get comfortable with you and the camera first.”
And she adds, “Animals are delightful creatures and photogenic no matter what they do!”
She believes that at this point, pet photography is still niche, but picking up fast! “When I first started, there were barely any other pet photographers around, and now there are lots! Pets are family, so of course a pet gets featured in family portraits. Also, they are such joyful creatures, that people find it imperative to capture fun memories with them,” concludes the Bangalore-based photographer.
Operates From/In: Across the country
Price Range: Rs. 5,000 onwards
Reach Her At: www.petphotograper.in, Pet Photographer Facebook page
Ashok Chintala - Paws For A Picture
Ashok Chintala started pet photography by clicking pictures of rehabilitated shelter animals, and using their pictures to help them get a family. "During the heavy rainfall and floods in Chennai in November 2015, we took an initiative to raise funds by doing pet portraits. That gave me the idea of starting a 2016 calendar photo-shoot for pets and their family," he says. Chintala is not a trained photographer, but he has definitely learnt the basics of the art from reading books, websites, and blogs, and from photographers whose work he admires. And he says that he also shoots a lot, “which I think is the number one way to learn. The more you shoot, the better you’ll get, that’s all there to it!”
Talking about the challenges of shooting pets, Chintala says, It's much easier to capture pictures of pets outdoors in a location not familiar to them as there are so many emotions that can be clicked beautifully. The only times we face a problem is when for a certain picture we want the pet looking at us; we try a variety of methods and sounds and sometimes they just won't budge! Well, time and patience is very essential for these photo-shoot sessions.”
Chintala always believes that no interaction should be forced even if it is between a human and an animal. “I allow the pet to come to me rather than the other way round, allow them to make themselves comfortable around me and my cameras and other equipments,” he concludes.
Operates From/In: Chennai and Bangalore
Price Range: Each session at Rs. 5,000. He also gives the option of selecting extra pictures that catches the client’s fancy, at each picture priced at Rs. 350. All this is done online through Dropbox.
Reach Him At: +91 9381842030, firstname.lastname@example.org
Eshita Prasanna – Tailshots
A pet photographer by profession, Eshita Prasanna started Tailshots after completing her post-graduation from Light and Life Academy, Ooty. “It is so nice to hear that people give so much importance to their pets and I love the idea that we have these pet services in India. In the West, pet photography is a huge market, and I am glad that it has somewhat spread in India, too. I think it is essential to treasure memories of our pets through photographs,” says the Chennai-based photographer.
We all know that pets, be it any animal, constantly keep moving and photographers need to be on their toes to capture those perfect moments. “I think the biggest challenge would be to capture them on the move. I first become friends with the pet and get comfortable around him/her and also make the pet comfortable with me in their surroundings. I shoot in and around where the pet lives because the pet should feel at home. I think one just needs to have a lot of patience to get shots out of a pet,” she says.
She says, “It is very important to bond with the pet before taking pictures of them. They have to get comfortable around the me to be themselves. Sometimes I carry treats with me so I can bond with them better.”
Prasanna also does documentaries.
Operates From/In: Chennai and Bangalore
Price Range: Rs. 4,000 per package
Reach Her At: email@example.com, www.eshitaprasanna.com
Nandith Jaisimha - Pet Project Photography
Nandith Jaisimha was always interested in photography since he was a child. So he went ahead and did a formal training in photography at Mind Screen Film Institute in Chennai. When asked about how he ventured into pet photography, he says, “Pet photography started out of pure love for pets. I find the inspiration from the pet itself, as every pet has his/her unique little character and I tend to use that a lot.” Though it’s really tricky working with a pet and to get them to a comfort zone and to make them work, he adds, “This really needs some animal instinct skill. Again their space is very important, some pets don't like bright flashes and some don't like the photographer.”
Talking about the rise in pet photography in India, Jaisimha says that when it comes to pets he knows a lot of people personally, who think their world is just their pet and they don't compromise on them. “From the start of Pet project photography, I have met some interesting pet parents. They want to make their ever loving pet stand out in the crowd and they want to cherish that memory forever, and therefore they love to get their pets professional photo shoot done! It’s now that pet photography is making some news, but I have been doing this for the last 6 years,” he states.
Operates From/In: Bangalore
Price Range: Startes from Rs. 10,000 per package
Reach Him At: +91 9845005533, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.studio080.com
Sairaam Rai and Leena Nair – Red Max Images
For Sairaam Rai and Leena Nair, photography started as a hobby and soon shifted into a profession. “We started out with photographing our pets Max and Cocoa (Red Max Images is named after Max, our boxer who has passed on). Being parents to two 4-legged sons and one 2-legged daughter and having had Max (Boxer) and Tiny (German Shepard) and fostered at least 12-15 pups and doggies, we completely understand people wanting to do everything for their canine kids as for their human kids,” they say. For them, photographing a pet is like photographing child. They say, “You need patience and timing. And you need to build a relationship with them. They need to trust you and then it's all great. You can capture the best moments.”
At Red Max Images, they believe that the best moments are the candid ones. “We usually do not ask for much preparation. The requisite ones would be to feed the pet. Getting his favourite toys, a snack and grooming him/her would be great,” they say, adding, “One thing we have noticed is to keep the fuss to a minimum. Treat the shoot as much as possible as a normal day at the park or home. We like to meet the pet a little before starting to shoot to get them used to us and the cameras.”
Though Rai and Nair have lost Max and Tiny, they say, "Their photos will stay with us forever and give us memories to smile about always." And, this is what we think makes pet photography all the more important.
Operates From/In: Bangalore
Price Range: Charge on an hourly basis – Rs. 6,000
Reach Them At: Sai: +91 9845201346 and Leena: +91 9886716360
Ritika Nandoskar – Paws And Whiskers Pet Photographer
Based in Mumbai, Ritika Nandoskar is a pet photographer and a wedding photographer by profession. She has a formally training in Photo Journalism from Udaan School of Photography, post which her subject were her pets - Fish Golu, late dog Tiara & Rofle, and her baby boy Roger. “My Photography is always based on candid moments, hence no one can be more candid than animals. I obviously find my inspiration in my own pets. The latest Inspiration is my 8-month old baby with by 1.8 years Rotwiller,” she says.
Since pets live for max 10 to 14 human years, and we know they are a bundle of joy for a short span of human life, Nandoskar says, “Hence pet owner have realized they need to spend and capture the best times with their pets. Not just photography but also other services like Camps, Picnics, etc. Many couples with no kids or who have kids and have pets, treat them like their own babies.”
Nandoskar makes sure she always discusess about the clients’ pet and the kind of pictures needed of the pet. “We always ask about the breed, behaviour and personality and what kind of treats the owner offers to his pet. This helps us prepare ourself with the kind of shots expected by,” she says, adding, “But I am blessed may be with the personal pet history that I have had, I never found it difficult to get close to a pet or make a pet comfortable my hat.”
Operates From/In: Mumbai
Price Range: She charges as per the resolution needed. Each picture with highest resolution would be charged from a range of Rs. 1,500 to Rs. 6,000.
Reach Her At: +91 9833065507
Gaurav S Thombre – Gaurav Thombre Pet Photography
Pune-based photographer Gaurav S Thombre always wanted to be in the creative field – either painting or photography. He completed his studies in commercial arts and later specialized in photography. After this he freelanced as fashion and interior photographer. Few months later he got into automobile photography and started working for Overdrive magazine. And then came pet photography. He is also the photo & video editor for Evo India automobile magazine.
“My inspiration to get into pet photography was my own dog (Brio Labrador). When he was 3 months old, I used to take pictures of him and capture each and every moment, including his dramatic expressions. After research and talking to lot of pet owners I found that there are a lot of people who like to get their pets photographed, and are interested in doing a pet portfolio,” he explains. And Thombre decided to venture into pet photography.
Everyone knows that animals are definitely not the easiest subjects to capture. So Thombre says, “First thing you need to register in your mind is 'PATIENCE', which you really need to have when photographing any animal. Secondly, the shoots must be planned well in advance, including the shoot location and concept. It is good to know about the breed and behaviour of the pet from the owner. Thirdly, the pets need to warm up before any shoot, for instance taking them for a walk is a good practice. Also, always have lots of treats to keep them calm and happy during the shoot.”
“The journey from the beginning to the end of the photography session, and the times when you get those awesome clicks, will bring a huge smile on your face,” he adds.
Operates From/In: Across the country
Price Range: Rs. 10,000 onwards
Reach Him At: www.gauravthombre.com, Gaurav Thombre Pet Photography Facebook page
Meher Malhotra Kamath - IDIS: In-Depth Image Studio
After completing fine art in collage and photography, she went on get a training under Adarsh Anand, one of the masters of photography in India. After which Meher Malhotra Kamath started taking portraits of people and pets, editorial and fashion photography as her profession.
Talking about how she ventured into pet photography, Kamath says, “Animals have always been a part of my life. I have learned to love and respect them over the years, and got to see their unconditional side. Photography is another love of my life. So shooting and creating images of animals was the perfect synergy of both my passion, and that's how we came into pet photography.”
According to Kamath, there are always some challenges in anything you do and pet photography is no exception to it. “Whether it was convincing people that pet photography is serious work or getting the little darling to sit still, there were always some challenges, but the final image and the chance to spend time with these beautiful souls makes it worthwhile,” adds the Delhi-based photographer.
Though working with animals may not be an easy task, however it is very rewarding. “It requires a photographer to have a bond with the animals, to grow up with them, to love them, and yet respect them. One has to be able to understand their needs and to be patient. Every image we take is a moment captured in time; the only way to relive it is through that photograph that is something people need to understand,” she concludes.
Operates From/In: Delhi
Price Range: Starts from Rs. 20,000
Reach Her At: +91 8800371843, www.idis.in
Gauri and Vijendra Suryawanshi
Gauri and Vijendra Suryawanshi were fish hobbyists for a long time and always wanted to capture their Indian native fishes in a frame. Thus, they took their first step towards their photography journey. These self-taught photographers started pet sitting three and half years ago from their home and started getting pets (mainly dogs and cats) on a regular basis. “Clicking them at home came naturally, as we were already aware of all the sweet spots (best locations across the home, in terms of lighting). We started exploring places especially outdoors for our pet shoots and started undertaking photography assignments initially from our pet sitting clients who were keen on shooting with us after they admired our work involving their four-legged babies,” they say.
“Though it can be difficult to click animals, once you get familiar with a particular pet it is not at all a challenge to click them. Experience teaches you how to get the best of every personality. Since we are a team of two, it helps to grab the expressions of the pet while one person is behind the camera, the other handles the pet,” add the Pune-based photographers.
They say that they have seen a noticeable surge in pet related commercial activities over the past few years with the emergence of nuclear families and rise in disposable incomes across the country. They add, “People have started to realise that pets are not only a status symbol but part of their families. Pets nowadays are treated as own babies and pet parents want to capture each and every moment in the life of their fur babies, since we all know that their lives are short. These photographs are the memories to be cherished.”
Besides pet photography, the duo also run a pet-friendly café called Café Two’s and Four’s, where your pets eat, run and play around, while you enjoy a nice meal and relax.
Operates From/In: Pune
Price Range: Rs. 6,000 per session
Reach Them At: +91 8860637446
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What do you think of the brilliant work by these pet photographers? Which one is your favorite? Do tell us in the comments below!