Many amateur as well as professional photographers find it hard to get good cat pictures or pet photos. Perhaps cats are much harder to photograph because they are very active and less able to be trained compared to other pets, such as dogs. This makes taking photos of cats and kittens very challenging, especially when you try to shoot the cat in action.
If you think that you are missing many amazing shots and pictures of your cat, do not worry, you can still catch some great moments. All you need to do is to follow the cat photography tips and tricks below.
Understand the Personality of Your Cat or Pet
Similar to human beings, each pet has its own characteristics as well. This special character is very important because it is reflected in the cat pictures, and this is what gives your cat or pet its very unique identity.
Additionally, understanding the pet’s character can help you choose the best shooting environment and moment for taking cat pictures. Some pets are very quiet and leave a long time for you to experiment with the different angles and digital camera settings, while other very active cats and pets require you to be very quick and click the camera button exactly at the right moment.
If you are a professional photographer and would like to take cat pictures of a cute furry friend, you should ask the owner about the cat’s characteristics, the toys it loves, the best poses and how to make the cat comfortable during shooting session.
Sometimes you may need to start by treating the cat or dog to its favorite meal or dessert to start building a relationship that will enable you to create warm and friendly cat pictures.
Plan the Composition
Although the pet’s character is the main element in cat pictures, the scene around it also plays a very important role in creating a great shot. Each cat picture should tell a story, or focus on a special moment of the pet or cat, such as a special position, playing with a toy, or looking out a window.
When you set up the shooting location for cat pictures, you should think about the best location to appear in the background. And since these little creatures are small and near the ground, you need to choose a background that contrasts well with the cat’s fur color so that it appears very clear in the shot.
You can also give the cat a toy, small ball, a piece of fruit, or a thread ball to play with during the shooting session. This doses not only give you time to experience different poses and angles, but also gives you the chance to try different poses for the cat pictures while it is playing with the object.
Freeze the Action
With very active and fast creatures such as cats, it is very challenging to take clear and steady shots. Therefore, the best solution is to freeze the action by using a fast shutter speed to allow the exact amount of light to get into the camera for better and clearer photos. Some experienced photographers mix the different values of shutter speed and aperture in order to get the best results.
Shutter priority mode is another method that some photographers like to use, which means giving the shutter speed high priority and letting the digital camera set up the rest of the values for the best cat pictures.
If you do not have much experience with mixing the different values, you can simply use the sports mode that allows you to take shots of speedy actions. In this mode, the camera sets the shutter speed automatically, based on the action in the cat picture scene.
Freezing the action requires you to have plenty of experience and take different shots to try out different values. You can also consider the continuous mode so you can take a number of shots and choose the best ones from them.
Lower Your Shooting Level
The best way to shoot amazing cat pictures is to get down to the same level as the cat. This angle can change the look of your shot, especially as it allows you to take close-up shots of the cat’s face. In order to get steady shots, you may need to use a small tripod or a book to put your camera on for more stability. When you click the shutter button, try to hold your breath to avoid shaky hands and a blurry photograph.
A shallow depth of field or low F value, such as f2-f4, can give your cat pictures a blurry background, but make sure to use a fast shutter speed, especially when you are doing outdoor pet photography.
Experiment with Poses and Angles
Experimenting with different poses, angles and camera settings are very useful to practice and get great and unexpected results, especially with pet and cat photography. For example, try focusing on the eyes for more impressive results of the small creature’s face. These cat portrait pictures can result in great shots.
Also, besides lower angle photography, you can try to take cat pictures from a top viewpoint to give the impression that the viewer is playing with the cat in the real world.
No Flash Please!
There are three main reasons why I would recommend avoiding Flash when you are shooting cat pictures and animal photos in general, especially when you are shooting indoor photos. The first reason is that the flash disturbs the pet and makes it scared or nervous, which can spoil your cat pictures completely.
The second reason is that the flashlight is too sharp and you need to avoid it when you are shooting soft light pictures of cats and other pets. The third reason is that the animation eyes can produce red-eye effect, which is something you want to avoid.
Finally, shooting cat pictures and pet photos in general is very interesting and can turn into a unique experience with the fascinating expressions and reactions of your pets. Try to experiment with different camera settings and depth of field values to get better results. You can shoot as many photos as you want and filter them to get the best pictures of your amazing furry friend.