When taking photos of cats, good, natural light is one of the most important factors. Avoid using the flash if possible, but if you have to use a flash, try and take the photo at a slight angle, to avoid the dreaded red-eye. I also like to take photos in bright light because the irises are constricted and therefore show off more of the cat’s eye colour. One thing I love is catchlights in the eyes. They really do give life to the cat.
- If you are taking photos of your cat outside, the best time is in the first or the last hour of sunlight, otherwise, the light can be too harsh.
- Hold the camera at your cat’s eye level. Make sure you don’t cut off ears, feet or tails.
- If you want professional-looking photos, use a backdrop. Use colours that contrast well with the cat’s coat and bring out the cat’s eye colour. I prefer to have a plain background but sometimes you can use the background to your advantage, as in the photos of the cat in the flowers below. Make sure your background is uncluttered, there really is nothing worse than taking a gorgeous photo of your cat only to find he has a tree branch coming out of the back of his head.
- Use toys and food treats to get the cat’s attention. I prefer toys as when I have used food treats the cat’s keep trying to come to me and won’t sit still. With a toy, I tend to dangle it just out of view of the camera. I like to take photos of my cat’s looking directly at the camera, but I also like photos where the cat’s head is slightly at an angle.
- Do what professional photographers do, take lots and lots of photos.
- Try to capture your cat’s personality and mood in the shot.
- Get in close, fill as much of the frame as possible with the cat.
- Remember that a cat is a beautiful and graceful animal, you want to capture shots of your cat being a cat and not in any way undignified, such as dressing him up, or making him pose in an un-cat like way.
Switch from auto mode
- Always have your camera close by and charged up! Try to experiment with your camera’s settings and switch from auto to a manual setting where you have more control over aperture and speed. I have found by doing this I am now able to take photos inside our quite dark house, without the use of a flash. For those of you who have only ever used auto mode, try switching to P (for programme) if your camera has this option. The camera is still doing most of the work but you are given a little more control.
- Your cat may just not be in the mood to have his/her photo taken. If this is the case, no matter how hard you try, you will not get good photos. Wait until your cat is in a more receptive mood. Photographing your cat has to be fun for both the cat and you. This is another reason I like to use toys when I am photographing the cats. It makes the session enjoyable for them and relatively easy for me to get nice shots of them.
- Photograph the cat when she has just woken up from a nap and isn’t overly active, or capture a photo of your cat while he sleeps.
- Be aware of your cat’s good and bad angles. My Siamese doesn’t look particularly pretty when he’s sitting, he has a very slouched posture, so I try to take photos of just his face and neck, he also looks very nice when he’s lying down.
- Your photograph doesn’t have to be a classic cat pose, interesting close-ups, angles, facial expressions all make for fantastic photos.
- Experiment with your camera’s settings. Black and white, sepia. If you are using a phone or app, check out the various filters. There are some really cool phone apps available these days which can help you bring out the best in your photography.