IN the four corners of a square she keeps cats, dogs and rabbits. They are the silent witnesses to one woman's love for her craft and all things furry.
The animals become still once Gia Lara captures them; immortalized with all the available light and background nuances of the moment. They are then processed and stored in the deep recesses of her hard disk as intangible picture files that somehow snap back to life in every viewing.
Gia is a professional pet photographer. Six years ago, she started a blog called Petograpiya to showcase her love for pets and photography.
She says her pet rabbit Booni led her to photography by being her constant subject and primary tutor. Later, nine persuasive cats came into the picture and completely nudged her to give pet photography a shot.
“I never imagined I'd become a photographer,” says Gia who took Computer Science in De La Salle University. “Pet photography comes naturally to me. It really is what I love doing. It was inevitable as I am a pet magnet and I just really had to, or I would have a nagging voice in my head forever.”
For pet parties and other types of pet events, Gia recommends the Celebrate Package worth P14,000 for a five-hour photo shoot. Clients who choose this get a 10”x10” 40-page picture book and a soft copy of edited pictures on a USB drive.
“Three hours (Appreciate Package) is already a long time and quite tiring for both pets and pet owners. They do not realize this until they're on the shoot. Celebrate Package includes preparations and lots of socializing and interacting with guests. With that said, I also don't mind having a five-hour photo shoot with a single pet, if the fur parent wants it even without an event. I will happily stalk any pet for hours,” Gia tells MetroPets.
Pets are not the easiest subjects to photograph, so unless they are trained to pose for the camera directing them is almost futile. This suits Gia fine as she prefers to take pet photos that are not staged.
“I'm really into candid photos so witnessing an adoption event where people hugged their new pet for the first time is one for the books. For me, preserving these memories is priceless,” Gia adds.
In fact, of the thousands of pet photos she has taken, her all-time favorite remains to be the “lucky shot” of her rabbit and a cat back in 2007 when she hardly knew anything about camera settings.
“It was a lucky shot. Booni was exploring the space under our car and there was a sleeping cat in the middle. The moment only happened for a split second. It was a simple photo, barely technical, but it reflected that moment, and that's what makes it the best for me,” says Gia.
Since then, Gia says she has not stopped taking pictures of pets and sharing them through Petograpiya.
Gia is a one-woman team, but she hires another photographer for big projects and an editor if the photos must be published in real time. Today, Petograpiya is the pet photographer of choice of CARA Welfare Philippines, Cat Cafe Manila and other pet lovers groups.
*All photos by Gia Lara of: