The Pillay family reached out to me mainly to photograph Stella. Stella was the family dog (child) who had been with them for years. Unfortunately Stella was ageing and not doing so well. Since Stella had been a great source of joy for the family, they wanted to ensure they had some high quality images of her. And this is where I came in.
While busy planning the shoot date I found out that the rest of the Pillay family lives in KZN, but they would be visiting soon. Of course it made perfect sense to then plan the shoot on that weekend. That way we would be able to do pet portraits as well as family portraits all in one.
Looking out for Stella
Doing the shoot this way also meant that it wouldn’t be too stressful for Stella. I thought it would take her some time to warm up to me and I’d be able to photograph the family while she realised I was a friend and not a foe. But sweet Stella made a big effort to great me at the door, which clearly was a huge effort for her in her condition. She made her way back to her couch to rest, and instead of moving her or asking her to move, I made sure to just let her rest and capture a few photographs of her in her favourite spot. After some time we moved her outside for a few more photos, but as soon as she was looking too tired to continue we moved the focus of the shoot exclusively onto the family.
This whole time sweet Buddy was around too. And I can assure you, he wasn’t forgotten about. The focus was more on Stella, mainly just because I knew I had very short gaps of time to capture her looking alert and well before she would go back to her couch and nap. But Buddy was constantly around, often at my feet getting love from me. And once I knew I had some solid shots of Stella I could focus more on capturing Buddy.
During Stella’s big nap in the middle of our shoot, I moved the family a bit away and captured some lovely shots of the group of them all. And of course a bunch more where I mixed and matched everyone. And then even convince some to have individual portraits taken!
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