Photographing Cats – Cognac Closeups

Cognac – check out those whiskers

For the last 20 years I have shared my life with Birman Cats, a pedigree breed that is particularly affectionate and quite photogenic.  Last Xmas I got myself a new kitten as a companion to my older cat Taz.  Cognac joined the household and bought his own special charm and abundance of energy into our lives.

He turned 1 in Sept and has matured into a handsome boy, still has another year to go before he is completely grown up and I wanted to capture some images in some nice afternoon light we had today.

This is his normal slightly confused look

I recently took advantage of an amazing 5Day Deal that had loads of ebooks and videos by a number of noteable professional photographers and have been spending much time reading and absorbing all the good stuff.

One book talked about the impact a subject has if you shoot with a really wide open aperture and go in close, so it seemed like a good opportunity to dust off my trusty 50mm F1.8 lens and have a play.  Something like this image or these BW images

All these images are shot handheld, with ISO200 as it was a little dim inside, utilising the afternoon light, and keeping at eye level (or slightly lower) and going in as close as I could, focussing on the eyes.

This is the style of shot I was trying to achieve – that really ‘there’ feeling (click to embiggen)

The shot above was the closest I got to that really ‘there’ feeling with the very narrow DOF and lots of softness around the edges.  Slightly enhanced in LR 🙂  There is a fine hair right under his eye but my PS skills are not good enough to remove it and I didn’t see it at the time which is a bit annoying.

These shots were taken as he sat on the arm of the sofa, in very even indirect light.  Then we moved to the floor for some quality bath time in a beam of sunlight and here I was hoping for a nice action shot, and this was the best capture.

Bath time!

I like how the warmer light picks up all the shades of brown in the fur around his face really nicely and also highlights his amazing whiskers and eyebrows 🙂

And finally a not very sharp image but makes up for it by being amusing – I caught this yawn at full stretch


Compare these images above taken with intent to aim for a particular style with this image I took of Taz below from several years ago.

Has my technique improved? While I am aiming for a particular style, do you like it?

Taz portrait taken outside in daulight



About lensaddiction

Mad keen photographer figuring it out as she goes!
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14 Responses to Photographing Cats – Cognac Closeups

  1. John says:

    Your style and technique has changed, well done! I admire your skills. Love that full stretch yawn photo, perfect timing!

  2. The blue eyes are so vivid..mine never turn out like that. I’m no expert or anything to comment on technique, but we think they’re great. Taking “Photography 101” here on wordpress starting Monday so hoping to get some good tip & tricks over the next couple weeks. Paw Paw for now! =^,,^=

    • lensaddiction says:

      Thanks, it helps to intensify the colour by taking the shot in the shade, I havent tweaked the blue colour or anything in post processing. Birmans just have amazing eye colour, its part of the breed standard.
      ith the Good luck with the Photography 101, they have some great people giving advice.

      Purr Purr right back at you 🙂

  3. KatrinaK says:

    Your style is definitely changing. I like the new style, but I like the older photo of Taz better. To me, the photo of Taz seems more like a portrait of Taz while the newer photos of Cognac are more arty – well maybe that’s not quite the word I want but I can’t think of a better one right now. They feel more like an attempt to get an ideal Cat photo rather than a Cognac photo.

    • lensaddiction says:

      *nods* yes I see what you are saying, I struggle to get good shots showing their real expressions and personalities so having *nice* images is the next best thing.

      Hopefully I will get better and manage to capture both parts of the image 🙂

  4. loisajay says:

    Cognac is one beautiful cat. Never have I seen such gorgeous blue eyes. That is a trait of Birman cats? The yawn is one fantastic shot! As if he is saying, “OK, that’s a wrap! I’m tired.”

    • lensaddiction says:

      Hi Lois, yes he is a lovely boy. The blue eyes are part of the Breed standard and they keep the colour. I havent intensified the colour in post pro to make it bluer, I only sharpened the details and texture a little bit, they really are quite blue 🙂 – has the details of the breed standard.

      Eye Colour: Decidedly blue, clear and bright the deeper the better.

  5. rhbblog says:

    Some lovely shots but I wonder if the vignetting is a touch heavy? You’ve got the eyes well sorted in both styles!

    • lensaddiction says:

      I like a slightly heavier vignette for this kind of style of shot plus the white fur on the bottom right corner was a little bright so was trying to tone that down.

      Good question tho 🙂

  6. I don’t know enough about photo stuff to comment on technique — I thought the yawn one was remarkably sharp! Love how the little whiskers all stand out around that carnivorous yawn! I love these — my Yuuta looks a lot like your Cognac, except he’s a short hair. I would love to get a nice picture of his blue eyes, and I bow to your skills. And blow a kiss to the kitty for being such a pretty one.

    • lensaddiction says:

      Thanks, if you look closely the yawn is a bit blurred but looks OK on the pic I posted. It was the whiskers that I was trying to capture, the yawn was an added bonus.

      Kitty will get extra scritches tonite, thanks for dropping by to comment 🙂

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