It’s been said that one of the main reasons for creating the Internet was to share adorable cat photos. Considering there are over 6 billion cat photos online, perhaps there’s some truth to the rumor. The web offers cat lovers a powerful means for sharing photos of their favorite felines. With great power, however, comes great responsibility…to take better pictures. To help, we’ve put together a list of tips for creating better, even more adorable cat photos. In fact, your cat pictures will look so good that they might just break the Internet.
Here are 10 simple tips for photographing your cat and a collection of adorable cat photos to inspire your next shoot:
- Exercise Patience
- Get to Know Their Routine
- Cover the Angles
- Tell a Story with Wide, Medium, and Close-up Portraits
- Focus on the Eyes
- Use Foreground Elements to Create Depth
- Bait Their Curiosity
- Feature Their Personality
- Adjust Your Exposure Settings as Needed
- Edit Your Photos
1. Exercise Patience
If you’ve ever tried photographing a cat, then you know that they exhibit selective hearing and often choose to ignore any sort of commands, including those meant to direct them into an intentional pose. Some might call them stubborn. Because of this, they can be difficult subjects to photograph. Patience will give you the best opportunities for interesting cat pictures. Expect a bit of failure and know that the number of images you take vs. the number you keep will likely be much, much higher.
2. Get to Know Their Routine
As cat owners know, cats are creatures of habit and they typically follow a routine. The more familiar you are with their routine and preferred hangout spots, the better your chances of capturing some Internet-breaking cat photos. You can plan your shots in advance and have your gear dialed in and ready to go when the cat arrives on set, aka lies down in his favorite spot in front of the window.
Sean Lewis – Dexter’s Routine
3. Cover the Angles
We all know what a cat looks like from our typical day-to-day perspective, looking down at the cat when she rubs against your leg as a reminder that it’s time to eat. Really, though, it’s time to borrow from the family photography book and get down to the kid’s level for better portraits, only this time the kid is a cat. Don’t be afraid to literally lie low and capture photos on your cat’s level.
4. Tell a Story with Wide, Medium, and Close-up Portraits
In addition to shooting from above or on the floor, use a variety of wide, medium, and close-up shots to tell more of a story when photographing your cat. Set the scene with wider shots and then move in to reveal more detail and capture your cat’s expressions, even if you can’t tell happy from confused, sad, or even offended. Chances are you’ll recognize angry, though.
5. Focus on the Eyes
Regardless of the angle you choose or whether you’re zoomed in or out, be sure to focus on the cat’s eyes. If you’re shooting with a wide aperture to get a blurry background or just looking to capture the sharpest photo possible while your cat is sitting still, keeping the eyes in focus will help make great images.
6. Use Foreground Elements to Create Depth
Try to use objects in the scene to add depth to your cat photos and level up the visual appeal. If you’re indoors, possible objects might include chairs, plants, or whatever you find nearby or between you and the cat. The best objects are those that you can also use to frame your shot and draw the viewer’s focus to your subject. This technique is used often in portrait photography and will translate perfectly for photographing your cat.
7. Bait Their Curiosity
This is one instant in which curiosity will not kill the cat so much as it will allow the cat to take better pictures! Cats are notoriously curious, and if you have a cord or better yet a cat toy (or is there even a difference) to dangle near your camera, it should be fairly easy to keep the cat’s gaze facing your direction. You can also make noises by crumpling paper or some other noisy material. My cat is especially fond of the sound of potato chip bags.
8. Feature Their Character
Every cat has a different personality and photos that feature the unique aspects of your cat will help make your photos stand out. They’ll also provide more meaning and value for both you and your cat.
Cat Yawning – by Timothy Meinberg (via Unsplash)
Sean Lewis – Dexter Around the Corner
9. Adjust Your Camera Settings as Needed
Depending on the spot cat chooses to have his or her photo taken, as well as the time of day, you’re going to need to adjust your exposure accordingly. If the room is dim and your cat is on the move, perhaps bathing himself, then you’ll need to consider increasing your shutter speed to freeze the action and compensating with a wider aperture or higher ISO. Try to avoid using flash, if possible, especially when photographing kittens. The bright light can be harmful to their eyes.
10. Edit Your Photos
Capturing a great shot in-camera is ideal, but even the best shots can benefit from some basic editing, such as adjusting the exposure, white balance, contrast, and highlights & shadows, or even converting the photo to a black & white image. If you shoot with the edit in mind, you can take advantage of today’s editing software and really transform your image. To save time, you might consider looking into presets that can quickly be applied, even if you’re using your phone to capture and edit the photos.
If you’d like to dive deeper into pet photography, be sure to check out these helpful tips!