You are a new cat owner and want to do cat photography?> Do you want to capture all her purrs and meows in a click, you have reached the correct spot.
You only need to take one look at every social media feed ever and you will realize cats are the unofficial rulers on the internet. Cats are the original social media stars. People have whole Instagram accounts dedicated to their cats alone! In fact, there are over 47.1 million families in the United States who own cats. These felines play, sleep, inhabit and eat the same spaces as the humans do, so it’s a no-brainer that they have become an important part of your household and are regarded as a family member.
But it doesn’t matter if you want to do the same or not; if you want to take cat photos, you have come to the right place.
“Cat photography is straight-out reactive photojournalism. To get that one cool photo of kitty, work just like a Sports Illustrated photographer capturing the key play that wins the game. Being prepared includes never putting your camera away.”
Cats are very single-minded, so they are a bit different to capture than dogs. They tend to not follow instructions or get very self-conscious if they realize all your attention is on them, or if you are following them with a big camera in hand, they may just bolt. So, here are some useful tips to capture your fickle feline friend—
Table of Contents
- Patience Is Everything
- Always Have Your Camera Ready
- Seeking Attention
- Be On Their Level
- Frame Your Cat
- Lighting Is Key
- White Cats, Black Cats
- Capture All That Cattitude
- Relax With Them In Their Habitat
- Take Some Dramatic Profiles
- Flaunt Their Stunning Details
- Freeze Playtime Forever
- Hide Them In Plain Sight
- Highlight Their Eyes
- Be Lazy
- Capture The Zzz’s
- In Action
- Go On An Exploration
- Purr-fectly Content
- Get Into Some Tight Spots
- Find The Right Light
- Stealthy Like a Predator
- Capture The Mundane
- Surround Them With The Ones They Love
Patience Is Everything
Firstly, when taking photos of cats, a high rate of failure is expected. The more perceptive you are as a photographer, the more this happens. Cats are not the best subjects for you if you are impatient since they don’t stick to a pose for long enough. Just when you frame a shot, they are more likely than any other pet to walk up to you and start snuffing the lens. If they are not curious about the strange item you have in your hands, they will change their pose the exact moment you release the shutter. Wondering what the cat will do next is, however, still part of the chaotic fun in shooting them.
Always Have Your Camera Ready
Cats also are likely to strike random silly poses, especially when they are rolling about almost asleep. To capture such hilarious moments, always be prepared, even if your mobile phone is the closest thing to you. If you have to go get your camera before taking the photo, the cat will surely hear you and shift. Similarly, if you are outside with them, be ready for some outdoor shots.
You should be aware by now how much your beloved cat enjoys thwarting you at every moment and ruin your attempts at photography. However, there are ways you can get the photos you want. When you are alone, learn to wield the camera with one hand, even if this is not a textbook technique. Set everything on auto to cut down on fiddling before a shot. With your other hand, you need to attract your cat’s attention, and clicking your fingers will usually work until they realize what you are up to.
Cats are captivated by noises—specially rustling—so you can scrunch a paper to make your cat look at you. Use a toy to get a more animated picture, but the rate of success is lower.
Be On Their Level
A common rookie mistake by new photographers is that they take cat portrait photos from a height suitable for humans. This hardly works. Animal photos taken on their levels are more likely to be impactful and show their personality better. For instance, if you want to photograph your cat in hunting mode, get down on the ground to give a feeling of being the prey and this adds drama to the image.
Frame Your Cat
Use surroundings like shrubs, tree foliage or long grass to frame your cat in a shot. This gives depth and the sensation of peeking into the natural habitat or world of your cat. This technique is more commonly found in wildlife photography. You can frame your cat indoors by including their favorite hiding places or cubby holes. Cozy towel cupboards are a common favorite.
Lighting Is Key
Cats and most animals have a special layer of reflection in the back of their eyes that heighten night vision. This leads to many colors to be reflected back when you aim a flash at them, but it is usually blue for kittens and greens for adult cats. Humans too have the same issue but with the color red and they are both undesirable. By holding or mounting a flashgun away from your camera, you can take nighttime cat photography without this diabolical eye effect.
White Cats, Black Cats
When you leave your camera to its own settings, the exposure meter will often overexpose if your cat is black and underexpose if your cat is white, specifically if they are taking up a considerable portion of the portrait or are placed against the same tone of the background. White cats will look grey and black cats lose the deep sheen of their fur and appear kind of grey too. You can fix this by using the compensation feature of your exposure and dialing in one or two overexposure (for white cats) or underexposure (for black cats).
Once you think the guidelines have been helpful, you can start implementing them. So, now, here are some poses you can try with your cat:
Capture All That Cattitude
Is your cat generally grouchy, inquisitive or shy? Let their personality through by taking photos of them in the midst of a moment. Observe closely when they show the traits you adore and be prepared with your camera to take cat photos instantly.
Relax With Them In Their Habitat
When you cat explored every nook and cranny in your home every day, he basically owns the place. Take photos of them in their chosen areas: being naughty as they scrounge for leftovers or when they are lounging majestically on your chair.
Take Some Dramatic Profiles
You should take some side profile cat portraits from photos when they peacefully zone out. Show their outline off from their perky ears to the elegant arch of their back with either in a natural surrounding or using dramatic lighting.
Flaunt Their Stunning Details
Fiddle with the settings on your camera and try out the macro-shooting abilities with your cat. Get close—as much as you can—and put the focus on some of your favorite features, whether it is their sharp fangs, piercing eyes or fascinating stripes.
Freeze Playtime Forever
Do some Cat Photography at their most playful moments. You can ask someone else to attract the cats’ attention by using their favorite toy and remains within the range to photograph his reactions.
Hide Them In Plain Sight
If your cat really enjoys blending with their surrounding, take photos of them as quickly as you can when they are trying to play hide and seek. Find sets or props that match their fur color and observe how they interact with it.
Highlight Their Eyes
If you ever come across a backdrop or natural setting that reminds you of your cat’s eye color, then take advantage of it to highlight their eyes. Have fun applying different angles to find how the tints in their surroundings reflect in their eyes.
Your cat has much to teach you with their laidback approach to life. Enjoy taking portraits of them when they are sunning in the shade or lazily stretching every single vertebra of their body. Surprisingly, you may find yourself mimicking their deliberately unhurried movements.
Capture The Zzz’s
Cats can sleep up to 16 hours a day, so it should be easy for you to fill up your entire memory card with countless versions of them napping in various poses and in interesting spots (read: falling asleep inside washing machines). Tread carefully and quietly when you take such cat photos.
Capture your cat when they climb trees, run across lawns, leap off cabinets—there are many ways to show the dynamic side of your cat.
Go On An Exploration
The popular saying goes “curiosity killed the cat” but in your cat’s case, let their inquisitiveness make way for the most fascinating photographic moments. Go on and capture them in the middle of a backyard stroll or admiring the flora in your neighborhood.
Cat photography of a contented cat get more comments and likes on every social media site. Being rubbed and petter by their favorite human can change the gloomiest cat into the happiest kitty. It all depends on knowing when they are up for a face rub or a warm hug, and capturing his content as he laps up the attention.
Get Into Some Tight Spots
Cats love curling up into balls in tight spaces. Document this affinity by capturing them in shoes, boxes, baskets and more.
Find The Right Light
No matter how much light you have or not, just pay attention to how your cat interacts with the natural light throughout the day. You can take a warm portrait when the sun sets or capture a dark silhouette when the sun rises.
Stealthy Like a Predator
Play with cool, fun ways to capture your cat when they go into their ninja mode. Cats are natural predators, so they sometimes sneak about. Get on their levels and be slow and careful so to not disturb their stealth mode.
Capture The Mundane
Cats are creatures of habit and are pretty loyal to their routine, so it makes them predictable enough to capture them. Be prepared whenever you are expecting such moments, whether it happens when they come across a mirror or are judging the neighborhood dogs through the window.
Surround Them With The Ones They Love
Domesticated cats enjoy spending their time with humans; even go as far as invading your personal space or meowing loud enough to make you answer back. Capture some photos of such moments as much as you can. Also, the more agreeable and relaxed they are, the easier it is for cat photography.
Cats have so much personality and are such mindful little individuals. They are loving even if they get distracted by the odd bird outside the window every now and then but they are soft and warm and make amazing pets. They are also such beautiful creatures that you just want to take countless pictures of them. So, if you have a special feline friend in your life, why not immortalize them forever.