All copyright belongs to Panna-Cotta http://panna-cotta.deviantart.com
Today I am interviewing an incredible young photographer, Panna-Cotta, Ania, is only 22 but her photos of the natural world as spellbinding. Especially her cat photography. There are so many photos of cats in the world that are so cute, but her photos also go beyond cute, to express all sorts of emotions and character. Each photo is like a story, a guide into the character and life of that cat all captured in gorgeous colour, light and magic. And so it is true for every animal and plant she captures. Check out her stunning gallery here and her interview.
What first promoted your interest in photography and how old were you?
I always enjoyed taking photos and when my older cousins were praised for their skills I felt that it’s something amazing and natural to take photos and that I can tell bad composition from good one etc. I only needed someone to let me try.
Once, during holidays when I was 18, I took many photos of cats. I uploaded them on deviantart and looking at them together in one place made me realize that taking photos is what I would love to do for the rest of my life.
Aw that’s so nice. I want to take photos for the rest of my life too. So where did you learn your craft, was it instinctive, progressive or did you take a photography course?
After I got my DSLR camera I read the manual, many free tutorials in the internet and two books.
It was mostly trial and error.
It certainly has paid off. Your work is gorgeous. Would you, or have you, made photography your career?
Absolutely. I would have to get much better to become a professional but I love getting better and seeing the progress I’ve made.
Do you have a favourite subject to shoot such as landscape, macro eg?
I love shooting animals and plants.
We have a lot in common 😀 What was your first camera and your camera now?
My first camera was Sony Cybershot S80 and now my camera is Canon EOS 550D.
Wow, nice. What are your tools of the trade? Do you have a favourite lens?
I use Canon EF-S 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 II
Canon EF 50 mm f/1.8 II
Tamron AF 55-200 mm f/4-5.6 Di II LD Macro
My favourite is the 50mm one.
What camera accessories do you use, filters, tripod etc?
I use a tripod and extension tubes. Sometimes, when I need to use the in-built flash I use a homemade diffuser.
How do you cope with the conglomeration of equipment?
What’s you dream piece of camera equipment?
That would be either a full frame body (or at least a better one, with a vari-angle LCD) or one of the L Canon lenses
In your opinion what do you think is the best camera?
It depends. I know a full frame camera is meant to be better than mine and it gives better results with the expensive lenses but for me one of the most important factors was the weight. I want to be able to take my camera with me even when I have many other heavy things to carry or when I’m very tired.
Apart from your camera what do you always take with you?
I try to remember to always have some cat food because some cats are too shy to come close.
I also need something to clean my glasses with because the rubber part of the viewfinder tends to leave spots on the glass.
Haha and I bet that makes a lot of cats follow you around 😉
What settings do you use? I love wide apertures. Do you shoot on auto, manual, programme, av, tv etc?
I love wide apertures too. Sometimes even too much.
What photography would you like to try?
I really want to try shooting humans, street life and also take some conceptual, almost abstract photos of people.
So quite a jump from nature photography. It’s good trying all categories. How does your photography stand out, what’s your personal style and how have you developed this?
My style is: vivid colours, wide aperture, bokeh, usually pretty subjects, easy to look at.
I think that I take photos this way to make the world look nicer than it is in reality. I try to find beauty in every little thing.
Aw I love that, you certainly bring it across to the viewer. How do you go about shooting? Talk me through composition, lighting set up etc (if appropriate.)
Rule of thirds is always with me but I’m not afraid to break it when I feel the need. I prefer going out when it is sunny, so that the light and colours were prettier, but generally I prefer to work with what I get rather than changing it.
The biggest challenge is working with cats because they usually don’t know me and I have to gain their trust and change my position rather than theirs.
So you learn the rules then improvise,that’s good. How do you use colour?
I try to keep it natural and I never change them. The fact that I usually choose to shoot during sunny days helps me a lot with making the colours vibrant, plus I enhance them a bit in the editing process, if needed.
What is your goal to achieve when you take a photo?
I want it to be technically good but I also want it to present the essence of the subject on the photo. I want people to see my passion and that there is something special in every plant, every animal, every place.
Do you try and achieve a story or a mood?
I try to capture the magic in everyday life. And when I take photos of cats I don’t want them to be just cute. I prefer these photos which show cats as curious, angry or melancholic.
I agree, I have two cats and they have a different character for every situation. Usually impatient 😛 What would be your ultimate dream shoot, money and place no object?
That would probably be a very rare and touching moment in somebody’s life. A photo which would have a big impact on the viewer.
That’s really nice. I saw a series of photos where the photograph took photos of families members in a nursing home. They were really touched with the images.
What unusual photos do you like, abstract etc?
I like abstract photos with humans and creative macro which involves a lot of preparation and arranging.
It certainly makes us remember and think. Some can have a really big impact on people because for many the technique is not as important as in case of traditional/digital art and they focus on the history and emotions, believing that what is on the photo is real.
Photography changes the world every day.
What are your worst photography disasters?
Most of my attempts at self portraits and when I lost a lens cap and was terrified until I found it on the ground.
Ah, I still haven’t found mine! Have you ever had any funny moments shooting?
Pigeons and horses can be very funny and sometimes I take funny photos of them by accident.
Do you use Photoshop, or any other editing software, extensively?
Sometimes I need to use Photoshop to add sharpness, light and shadows, or erase a disturbing branch, but otherwise I keep it simple.
Do you have any personal tricks or tips you’d be willing to share about photography?
Don’t be afraid to try new things and be patient. And if you want to get better then forget about “auto” settings.
Agreed, I used to live on the auto setting, now I can’t do anything without av. Which photographers have inspired you and who do you admire?
I don’t have a specific person I admire, there are many. And I get inspired by everything end everyone.
Usually I focus on focus on photos taken by people which are slightly better than I am. It allows me to take one step at a time.
That’s a great answer. Do you have a favourite photography quote?
“Your first 10.000 photographs are your worst” by Henri Cartier-Bresson. It’s the only photography quote I know and at the same time I like it a lot because firstly, I see how I get better with time and secondly, it gives something to look forward.
Can you recommend any good photography books?
Not really. I like some but there are only small parts in them which I would recommend.
Where do you see yourself in ten years time?
Absolutely no idea.
Where do you see photography in ten years?
I hope to see a greater variety of advanced and cheaper tools so that more talented people could try photography. I don’t have a specific idea about changes for the better, I only fear that in the era of selfies and facebook some people may not value photography as art.
What does photography mean to you?
It helps me relax and express my feelings and need for freedom without being too specific about it. I also love the fact that once a photo is taken you can’t change it so you either like it or not. If not you can do better next time but you don’t spend hours trying to make something perfect.
A fantastic interview, thank you Ania.