Cat Photography

I am a cat person, I don’t particularly object to dogs, I just prefer cats. And for some time now I have owned pedigree Birman cats. Cats seem to be a fascinating subject for photographers, to judge by the number of photos of them up on places like Flickr, cats sleeping, and running, and playing and looking cute or regal or just plain fluffy.

I have spent many hours taking photos of my cats and here is what I have learned:

– its important to have the cat in the right mood for the particular shot you are after – a sleepy cat doesn’t want to play, and a playful cat won’t sit still and an awake cat will have its nose up against your lens faster than you can say catnip!

– cats are totally unpredictable and also move very quickly

– cats are extremely curious and investigate most things with their nose

– cats are easily distractable (if in the right frame of mind)

One hand is shooting, the other one is pulling a piece of string off the edge of the chair

– more than one cat in a shot can be extremely challenging

– an assistant cat distracter is a necessity ( I like to have mine stand slightly behind my left shoulder.

Ollie - a red birman being tempted by my cat assistant

– if shooting other peoples cats, get the owners to go somewhere else, otherwise they are very distracting, both to you and the cats

– get down at eye level if at all possible to get the intimate shot

– use a zoom to shoot from further away so the cat doesn’t instantly see you and come running over

– be prepared for them to see you and come running over, and try and get some good shots in LOL

– if possible use a neutral background to showcase the cat

Using carpet as the background

Neutral outside background

– try macro face/eye shots on a sleepy just woken up cat

Sleepy kitten allows the camera up close

– be patient

– if it isn’t your cat, spend time letting them get to know you before shooting so they are comfortable and relaxed

– don’t use flash

Cat eyes react spectacularly to flash with their large pupils

– have the camera handy because sometimes you will get only one opportunity for that special shot

Just checking!

Big Yawn

– if it really isn’t working, give up and try again another day, sometimes it just doesn’t happen 🙂


About lensaddiction

Mad keen photographer figuring it out as she goes!
This entry was posted in Cats, For Beginners, Waffle and Burbling and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Cat Photography

  1. forkboy says:

    I find it funny that you posted this. One of the reasons I offered my wife for the need to upgrade to a dSLR from a compact point-n-shoot digi was that our cats, who I enjoy photographing, move too quickly and the p&s camera just didn’t snap photos quickly enough!

    A great reason to spend USD1,500, eh?

    By the time I purchased my Canon 40D I had learned that getting on the floor was a much better way to photograph them and you’re spot on with the advice.

    I find I actually take a lot of pictures of the cats with my cell phone. It’s hard to have the Canon handy at all times, but the cell phone is always in my pocket. While the quality of the image is markedly lower, I have a lot of great, everyday candids I wouldn’t otherwise have, which I feel is just as important.

  2. Miserere says:

    I wouldn’t say “no flash”, just “no direct flash”. Bouncing the flash, or firing the flash towards the cat from off-camera should take care of the devil eyes 🙂

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