Hello wonderful cat lover! Since you have landed on our article, you must be interested on cat photography! You have come to the right place! By following these guidelines we promise you that you will up the quality of your cat photos! Especially if your cat has an Instagram account, these techniques will make your photos to appear more for the cat lovers out there!
Understand Your Cat's Personality
Each and every cat has their own personality. This is extremely important to understand when talking about cat photography. For example, some, furrier cats like Persians and Himalayans tend to be rather lazy. Therefore, it makes sense to keep them seated and lying-down during shoots. Furthermore, these cats are better to be photo shoot on the morning than in the late afternoon. This is because the eyes of these types of cats tend to droop when they're tired.
Then there are, Cornish Rexes, Abyssinians and Russian Blues, who are mostly hyper and super playful! It makes sense to do the photography later during the evening for these types of cats. In addition, they are extremely agile animals. This means that they like to hang off the tops of tall surface. Moreover, you can use this trait to your advantage by choosing companion props like baskets or cat condos.
Age does also play an important role. Kittens love to play with everything, but they are hard to manage. To deal with this challenge, you can take them while they are sill half-asleep and do the shooting before they fully wake up.
Finally, in cat photography, it has to be kept in mind that each cat is different. Some of them love food, which means a couple of treats might be a good way to get them into a mood of a photo session. On the other hand, some cats like to be petted and therefore can be tricked into a shoot by petting them. Each cat requires a different strategy for co-operation so learn by hard what suits for your Purrfriend! By the way, this tip is actually some what related on our other blog post's tip on creating your cat a story in order to make success on Instagram! Check it out here!
Patience is Gold in Cat Photography
One of the biggest things to realize in cat photography is that the failure rate of a photo is high. The better you become as a photographer, the more this is the case, since you start to pay attention to detail more. Cats really are not an ideal photo subject for impatient photographers since they do not hold poses for long. It can be only a matter of seconds, so take a deep breath before the shoot!
On the flip side, cats tend to make random funny poses surprisingly often. Therefore, cat photography is not always about the perfect pose. To capture the best moments, it’s important to always have a camera handy, even just a smartphone. Sometimes there is just no time for getting the camera gear out, before it is already too late! Furthermore, every time you’re outside with your cat, you really should have your camera ready for some awesome outdoor action!
Settle on Your Cat's Level
One of the most common rookie mistakes, made in cat photography, is that the photograph is taken from a human height. It is extremely difficult to get that working well. On the other hand, photos of cats taken on their own level tend to have much more impact. Furthermore, they show the cat’s personality way better.
Therefore, if you want to capture a cat in a true hunting pose, get down to ground level. It gives the feeling of being the cat’s prey. This adds a sense of drama to the photo. If it feels hard to adopt low positions, digital camera with a swivel screen does same thing trick! Finally, as you know, cats really love to climb to places and therefore, you won’t always have to stoop to be at eye level with them.
Simple Background Works the Best
This tip is simple, but it works. Try to keep the background clean and not too busy. For example, a blank wall or solid colors work extremely well! Furthermore, remember to focus on the cat in the image. However, try not to make it too sharp if possible.
It really varies from cat to cat but some of them really tend to photograph better against bright backgrounds, while others seem much better against a white or even a pit black canvas. Just try to experiment as much as possible by draping stools, sofas or other surfaces with variety of different fabrics to see what looks best with your beloved cat!
Lighting is Everything
First and foremost, avoid using a flash, if it is not a proper one in a proper set of conditions. Instead creating the lighting around the cat is a much better idea. Especially in the photos taken inside, creating an ideal lighting by yourself works the best. This can be achieved by using lamps designed for photo shoots, but some original led lights work also well. The idea is to highlight the features of the cat by exposing them with light. On the other hand, this might create weird shadows all over the place.
Then there is outside. Now this is another setting that is totally different from the inside. For outside cat photography, you need to make sure that the weather conditions are suitable for a photo shoot. We really do want to highlight that a proper lighting condition does make a huge difference. It can be as big of a difference as a night and a day! (Pun intended.)
Frame Your Cat Accordingly
Here is a tip that can make your cat pictures stand out from the others and take your cat photography skills on a whole new level! We suggest you to frame your cat in the shot with nice surroundings. For example, tree foliage, long grass, or shrubs can give the photo much more added depth. In addition, it creates the illusion of peeking into the cat’s own world. Furthermore, this technique is widely used in wildlife photography. If you’re indoors, you can frame your purrfriend by including some holes or even better, some hiding places that cats generally like!
Focus on the Eyes
Eyes are the most important thing when talking about close ups in cat photography. This thing might sound obvious, but it is surprisingly easy to get wrong, especially with cats! This is because it takes only a small carelessness to focus on the cat’s nose instead. In addition, the camera you use, and its sensor size, will most certainly have an impact how easy this is to perform. When talking about a phone camera, it will typically give you loads of depth of field. Therefore, it is surprisingly difficult to get the eyes out of the focus. On the other hand, an SLR with a larger sensor will give you a shallower depth of field and it also demands much more control over photography technique.
Moreover, if you happen to be taking the photo from an angle, you might want to try to have the nearest eye in focus. If not, it will look unnatural to have only the far eye sharp. Remember though, that these are only guidelines for “normal” photos, so you can go and ignore them if you’re going for a specific effect of your own!
Close Shots Work in Cat Photography
Photographing a cat can be tricky, especially if you’re too far away! This might cause the cat lose interest in the camera. However, if you’re too close, the cat likely will try to rub against you, swat your equipment, or try play with you. Therefore, generally, it is good to leave about 3 feet (or 1 meter) of distance between you and the cat. Moreover, if you are shooting a sleeping cat, or a feline that's naturally posed in position it makes sense to a bit move farther away and use a zoom lens instead!
Too Much Editing Can Be Bad!
This is one of the easy things to go wrong! It makes sense to clean your pictures with photoshop or some other photo editing software. However, do not use it to alter the appearance of your cat! Furthermore, too much playing with the lighting and adding some extra filters (especially Instagram filters can do more harm than good! Our rule of thumb is that more natural you are able to keep the picture, the better!
Take a Lot of Photos
Our last guide for you is to simply take a lot of photos! More you take the better! There will always be at least 9 bad photos against 1 decent one. You will safe yourself a lot of trouble if you just take a bunch at the one time.
We really hope that you learned something out of these guidelines! We know that you might be interested on doing cat photography and adding the results on Instagram! You might be even using your phone for the most part! If so we want to recommend the course on Skillshare displayed on the video below! This course is the best so far to teach you how to use your phone for professional photos! Click the link here or below the video and gain FREE Premium Access for Two Months on Skillshare and their Unlimited amount of different courses!
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Finally we want to thank you for reading and we would be really pleased to hear some comments from you! Maybe something you want to ask or you would like us to add on this article! In addition, if you are interested on understanding more about making successful Instagram account for your cat, check out our other article about that here!