INTERVIEW WITH famed CAT PHOTOGRAPHER, ANDREW MARTTILA

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It’s no surprise that cat pictures still reign supreme on the internet. Simply take a quick look on Instagram and also the hashtag “#cats” and you’ll uncover over 28 million cat photos. And also that’s just one hashtag.

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Andrew Marttila, also known through his social media handles together “I am The great Went,” is a cat photographer, particularly famous in the cat world. His pictures are breathtaking and also he has actually the uncanny capacity to catch his feline subject’s purrsonalities purrfectly.

We interviewed Andrew to discover out how he go it and any advice he could have because that the amateur photographer…which contains those of us who are constantly at the ready, snapping images of our cats at your cutest moments… and also many times unsatisfied v the result.

The Interview

TCT: Tell us around your elevator in photography. Did you always know this was your calling?

Andrew: i guess I began taking photos once I to be a kid. I started out prefer most human being using throwaway cheapish


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Andrew’s Bengal cat, Haroun enjoying catnip


cameras and eventually supplied some allude and shoot cameras in mine teens. I never ever took photography seriously. I was commonly documenting teenage mischief an ext than noþeles else. Then I quit taking pictures for a great period of time.

Around 4 1/2 year ago, ns picked increase photography again as soon as I started taking picture of cats. I obtained my roommate’s Pentax D-SLR

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camera to take photos that our brand-new kittens. My roommate had acquired a Siamese the very same week I acquired my cat, a Bengal. I’ve constantly loved taking photos, but began to genuinely love it once I sharp the lens at animals.

“I’ve always loved acquisition photos, but began to genuinely love it when I sharp the lens in ~ animals.”

TCT: Did girlfriend have any professional cultivate in photography?

Andrew: No. As well as watching a couple of basic tutorials top top YouTube explaining the various camera settings, I’ve had no officially training. And I only possess a fairly loosened intellectual expertise of this things. Everything I’ve learned has actually been a result of trial and error, of which I’m a large advocate. I think trying is command to formulating one’s own an individual style.

“I think trial and also error is command to formulating one’s own an individual style.”

TCT: What’s her favorite tools when photographing animals?

Andrew: Catnip and crinkle toys, of course! Oh, you typical camera equipment?

TCT: LOL. The course!

Andrew: I currently use a Nikon D810

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. My lens of selection is a 1.4 35mm as result of the quantity of irradiate it’s able to collect. Ns prefer organic light end flashes at any time possible, therefore it help a many in that aspect. I have actually a Nikon speedlight
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for extremely dimly lit atmospheres or if I’m trying to catch a freeze framework of a easily moving animal/object.

TCT: What are few of your favourite or memorable engagements?

Andrew: ns absolutely love walk into houses of those that have adhered to my photography and are so i stopped to have shots the their pets taken through me. I’m infinitely flattered every time I’m hired. It’s exceptionally satisfying to it is in able to provide such a unique service to human being who adore their animals.

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I’ve never turned under an assignment, aside from the occasional request from throughout the nation or elsewhere. I may just have to do a people tour at part point.

Two assignments come to mind instantly as much as mine favorites go, both of i m sorry were surprised anniversary gifts purchased through the husband because that the wife. One lady opened the door to find me there, fully unaware that her guy had hired me. I think she said, “Hey, I recognize you…” prior to it registered.

“I’m infinitely flattered every time I’m hired.”

The other was a 6-hour drive to Virginia to surprised the mother of a pair that squishface ginger cats, Seamus and Angus. She had asked me come come photograph them. Her husband wanted to surprised her, so he said me come tell her that i was busy and couldn’t do it anytime in the near future. Needless come say, she to be elated once I showed up at their place. They’ve since become really great friends.

TCT: ns love Seamus & Angus. Ns follow castle on Instagram – they room too cute.

TCT: The internet is full of people who love to picture their cats. What tips perform you have for the amateur photographer, many who are using smartphones to record their kitties?

Andrew: prior to I gained my very first “real” camera, i was making use of my iphone to shoot. This was a number of years earlier and the modern technology in smartphones has come a lengthy way. Ns think one of the most important factors when it comes to any type of kind the photography is having actually an understanding of your light.

TCT: What’s the best lighting to use?

Andrew: An ideal setup would be as soon as it’s daylight and the topic is bathed in herbal light. If it’s night and also you have timeless lightbulbs, they’ll commonly produce a “warmer” photo, definition that the picture will have actually a yellowish tint. This is solved pretty easily in any smart phone app by tweaking the white-balance. Flicker on the phone have the right to be tricky/difficult. I’d introduce not using a flash unless you absolutely have actually to, or you know exactly how to bounce the light turn off of one more surface. Using the phone’s flash will blast the bright light in your cat’s eyes. Not just will over there be a reflective illuminating impact in your eyes (laser eyes), but it often washes out the photo if it’s as well strong.

TCT: What about scenery?


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Flaps the cat through tongue out


Andrew: Most of the time when I photograph animals, ns don’t collection up the scene. Instead I permit the animals to it is in themselves and also follow them around. This absolutely requires a modicum of patience, however the results of a comfortable, confident pet speaks because that itself. Whenever ns attempt to attain something really specific, the animal seems to be keenly aware and also thus avoids my plan completely. I think this is among the tricks to capturing your animal’s unique personality. Simply let them do their thing.

“Just allow them execute their thing.”

TCT: Any various other tricks?

Andrew: Photographing cats presents a unique an obstacle from many other animals. More often than not, lock don’t follow commands and frankly don’t care about what you’re up to. I carry out a fair little of bribery through catnip and treats once I fulfill a new cat come let them recognize I’m on their side. ~ that, it’s simply a matter of time before they acclimate to mine presence.

I also shot to achieve eye call with mine photos. Frequently I’ll take some type of toy that renders noise, and slide it on height of the camera lens so the it appears as though they’re looking straight at the viewer. Additionally, don’t be afraid to acquire down top top the ground to their level. Perspective is one integral part of what provides a picture stand out. Shot a lot of different things and whatever works and looks an excellent to you, perfect it.

TCT: What sort of camera would certainly you recommend for a beginner?Andrew: Honestly, I’m not super up-to-date through what’s the end there. I’ve seen exceptional results from point-and-shoot cameras, so ns would never ever write turn off a point-and-shoot together a challenger for a an excellent starter camera. Sony has a number of moderately priced cameras the end there. Users of the renowned brands like Canon and Nikon are very divided, but I don’t hold much share in the arguments. You have the right to squeeze a many performance and value out of fairly cheap cameras if you learn exactly how to use the devices well.

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TCT: deserve to you share several of your favorite cat photos?


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Andrew through his Bengal cat Haroun


About Andrew Marttila, aka The great WentAndrew Marttila is 30 year old and lives in Philadelphia, PA. He prospered up incredibly allergic to all kinds that animals and didn’t overcome his legitimately life-threatening allergy till his beforehand 20’s. He quiet carries one inhaler v him where he goes, however his tolerance has actually been developed to the allude that that rarely requirements it when encountering animals. Andrew is additionally seriously smart. He has actually a degree in neuroscience, the in his native “is hilariously underused, however I shot to stay present with various journals and also articles in case I decide to go back to college in the future.” as soon as he’s not traveling for job-related or pleasure, he spends a most time at house snuggling and taking picture of his very own cats, Haroun and Grendel. Follow The an excellent Went top top Instagram at
iamthegreatwent or visit his website.