This photographer is conducting photoshoots with our furry friends. The result is pawsome!

We speak to Deborah Philip, a 27-year-old Chennai-based pet photographer, whose customised photoshoots are all the rage
Pic: Deborah Philip
Pic: Deborah Philip

When she moved to Chennai for work, Deborah Philip began to miss her dalmatian, Twinglee, terribly. She knew she wanted to stay close to her pet, but that wouldn't be possible in the hostel she was residing at. "At that point, I decided that I wanted to be close to pets and the only way to do that was to interact with other pets," says the 27-year-old. 

After dabbling with a DSLR for a year, she finally decided what she wanted to do with it — become a pet photographer, making her among the very few in Chennai. And in 2018, she launched her initiative — Petography, which now creates customised photoshoots for pets and their parents. 

Pic: Deborah Philip

There are very few e female pet photographers in Chennai, says Deborah. "Initially, I began by taking photos of my friends with their pets. Eventually, after working for a year, I started getting calls from other pet parents to do photoshoots. Currently, I also work on events and competitions that include pets," says Deborah. "Chennai is slowly developing in terms of people having pets and giving them importance, treating them like their own babies," says the avid dog lover, adding, "Nowadays, pet parents have parties and celebrate birthdays for their pets and I love covering such events."

Since most of her clients are free on weekends, that is when Deborah does most of her shoots, because she also has a regular day job. "I am a Network Engineer at a corporate firm in the city and weekends are when I'm also free to do the shoots," she says. She studied engineering at Jaya Engineering College, Chennai.  

Pic: Deborah Philip

Deborah's favourite place to shoot is the beach. "One great problem that I repeatedly face is the lack of pet-friendly places to shoot. Beaches and only some parks don't have such restrictions and I love to shoot there during sunrise or sunset. That is when I get the best shots," says Deborah. A photoshoot with Deborah, who works solo, will cost you Rs 5,000. "The sessions last at least for three hours and the client will get at least 50 shots (a combination of close-ups, action shots and photos of the pets playing with their parent) of their pets. Most of the clients want to create moments with the pets and I shoot candid shots of them playing," explains Deborah, who has done over 70 photoshoots till date, about her process.

But pet photography is indeed a challenging feat. Getting the pet to sit in one place and pose is something Deborah has almost mastered now. "I ask the pet parents to keep their pets on a leash. In order to get their attention, I have to make noises. The pet parents also bring along with them their pet's favourite toys and treats. Those really help," says Deborah, amid gales of laughter. "Sometimes, that's the way I get my morning exercises done, running behind the pets," she jokingly adds. "It requires a tremendous amount of patience with the pets but it is something I really love to do," she says. 

Deborah Philip

While she uses a Canon 6D Mark II camera currently, Deborah says her love for photography began five years ago when her father gifted her an iPhone as a graduation present. "The camera was great and I began clicking pictures of everything around me. When I got a professional camera, I knew that I had so much to learn," says the self-taught photographer. "My friends helped me a lot and I learned via trial and error," she adds.

Deborah is now seeking to work with builders of apartment complexes to conduct a pet carnival of sorts to let people know about pet-friendly residences. She has also worked on pet calendars. "Last year, the photoshoots I did, I gave my clients a customised pet calendar. However, now I give a large framed photo of the pets and their parents from the shoot as a gift," signs off Deborah.  

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