Sergio A. Parrella: Cat and Dog Portraits


Sergio A. Parrella: Cat and Dog Portraits


Animals look at you.

You come home and your pet (dog, cat) looks upwards, saying hi. When he (or she) wants something from you (food, cuddles, etc.), he looks at you, from down there, where he normally is. Not a casual look, like looking at your hand in search for something… It’s a fixed look in your eye.

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We are so used to that simple gesture that we don’t always realise how incredible is the fact that a dog or cat can try to communicate with us human beings that way, without knowing that’s how we do it from the day we are born. Or maybe they do know. Curiously, they don’t tend to look at each other that way. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why we “humanize” them so much.

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This collection of portraits is based on the idea of capturing those looks. I believe that one of the photographer’s main objectives is to show everyday life in a different way.
A picture of what you see everyday when you look down at your pet can hardly call for anybody’s attention.

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To make animal portraits aesthetically similar to those you would make to a human being, you have to change the perspective. That often means that the camera must be, for example, just a few inches from the ground, thus preventing the subject to look upwards.

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For those who enjoy making candid photography portraits, it’s a good exercise. Some animals are attracted by that strange object pointing at them. Others can ignore it completely. In that case you can capture a simple everyday life scene, like when they’re eating, playing, or sleeping.

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You can’t ask your pet to pose… not even to stay still, so make sure there’s enough light to expose, especially if they’re puppies: if they’re not sleeping, they’re moving.

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Most of the time, to achieve a good, natural looking portrait, you have to wait. I used to stay lying on the ground a long time waiting for my cat to look at the camera. Normally, a simple gesture with a free hand or a sound is enough to call their attention. The important thing is to show your pet like the subject whose beauty is worth
to be photographed trough the best technique and sensibility you can have,  and to capture that “human” expression we like to see in them.

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Guest blogger: Sergio A. Parrella



The name of the article is “Animal looks”, and my website is www.sergioparrellaphoto.com

© 2013 Sergio A. Parrella under a Creative Commons Licence – http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0


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