Are you often disappointed with your cat photos? Do they come out blurry, too dark or just disappointing? Do you want to take pictures to show off to your friends and family?
I am sharing a handful of easy ways to make your cat photos fabulous enough for you to confidently show them off on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook page. Whether you use a compact camera, a fancy DSLR or your handy smartphone, there are ways to make your cat photographs look fantastic.
First, let’s look at the camera you have.
Do I Need an Expensive Camera to Take Good Pictures?
No. Definitely not, and I can prove it too.
This is my battered little Samsung DV300F. These are often known as a ‘point and shoot’ or compact cameras. This one was bought in 2013 and looks a bit tatty but it works well.
I took the picture of Jack my ginger cat with the Samsung. The camera takes selfies, has a ‘sport’ mode and other features. Your compact will do similar things. The quality of Jack’s image proves that even the older camera you have hidden in a drawer can take good pictures.
Did I change the 2013 picture when I imported it to my computer? One thing. I ‘cropped’ (removed using a photo editor) some of the over bright skies. Apart from that, Jack’s fur is already clear and defined and his natural colour looks good. Not bad for a six-year-old digital camera.
I also use a starter model DSLR and a smartphone camera for taking pictures too and I have to admit that learning the DSLR is taking time. But as I learned I assembled a collection of great starter tips here. You will find that your smartphone camera or compact will get lots of use because they are constantly with you.
Now let’s look at some helpful beginner tips to make your pictures shine.
Compose Your Cat Picture
Take a moment to consciously ‘compose’ your photograph rather than point and hope. Frame your model with care and with good light. This picture of Phoebe, our long-haired youngster has her place to one side which looks a bit more interesting than a simple face shot.
The composition below of Harry from the Neko Ngeru Cat Cafe looks almost like an abstract painting. I noticed the light and the monochrome effect it created. It’s a lucky moment taken with a smartphone.
If you do an internet search you will find plenty of help on ‘composing photographs’ but I suggest trying one composition technique, the ‘Rule of Thirds’. Instead of placing your model in the middle of the picture, place them slightly off-centre.
The Rule of Thirds proposes that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally spaced vertical lines. Important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections – Wikipedia
Get Down At Cat Level For Feline Action
This is where you can really have fun with your cat photography.
Sit on the floor, lie down at whisker level, or go nose to nose with your cats to get a fun new perspective. This works in the house, or in your garden. You can find some lovely ideas for floor level pictures in Katzenworld’s report from the Seattle cat cafe.
Another idea. Instead of getting down, look up. Cat’s on branches or at a higher level on top of cat trees or on a shelf, can add a whole new perspective.
This picture of Jack was taken at eye level. He is perched in a box bed attached to a wall. Black cats can be hard to photograph but here, Jack is in bright light which helps his lustrous coat shine.
Have fun, experiment and don’t be afraid to get it wrong!
Do you have a burst or ‘sport’ mode on your camera?
This camera setting (mode) is great for capturing fast movement at ground level or leaping after a toy. The mode will adjust the speed of the camera shutter for you.
My picture of Daisy the black and white cat is not a success but it shows how you can begin to capture movement. I ‘tried’ to photography Daisy at the local cafe with my DSLR. The right shutter speed or use of sport mode makes a difference. I changed by settings and used sport mode for the picture below of Spot in action.
Get Close to Your Cat
You can achieve excellent results with cat close-up pictures even as a beginner.
Getting close to your cat lets them take centre stage and as a bonus, removes an untidy or busy background. There are some terrific close-ups of Street Cat Bob at Katzenworld that show how amazing cat close-ups can be.
A DSLR camera user can try A (Nikon) or Av mode (Canon) for the fuzzy depth of field effect. Take your time and, if you can, zoom with your feet, not the camera lens.
SOUND TIP: I use my smartphone to take lots of cat pictures and the cats are used to it, but my DSLR has a noisy shutter and I had to rebuild trust with lots of reassuring chat, treats and shutter noise before they settled down.
Be Patient with Your Cat
Every cat photographer, from an expert to the absolute beginner learns this simple and important rule.
Working with a feline model takes time and a dash of patience. If you are working to ‘pose’ your cat, have a few favourite treats ready. Make sure your cat knows that the camera means ‘reward time’, maybe over several sessions.
TIREDNESS TIP: Don’t try taking pictures when you are tired, or when it’s the time of day your cat is ready for sleep. Observe when your cat is in an active mood and try taking your pictures then.
Know What Your Camera Can Do
Finally, the one thing that will put you ahead of many cat photographers is knowing the kind of things your camera can do.
Each device has functions that will amaze you. Smartphones can autofocus, compacts can zoom and add filters, and DSLR’s have a world of functions to explore.
First steps to discover your camera or smartphone:
- Check to see if there is a downloadable manual for your model. Read it.
- Explore your camera functions and buttons, experiment. See what works and what doesn’t.
- Find tutorial videos on YouTube. There are lots of enthusiasts are happy to encourage you to make friends with your camera.
- Take lots and lots of pictures. For every brilliant photograph, a professional might take dozens of ordinary cat pictures you will never see, and as you are working with digital images you delete pictures you don’t need.
FINAL FUN FILTER TIP
If you have a picture you love but it’s not perfect try adding a filter. Smartphones have lots of options using filter and collage apps like Photo Lab and PiZap. Both iPhone and Android have a fantastic selection. My picture of Harvey the cat looked a bit bare, but I love his expression. Now I can share the image on social media because I feel it celebrates my favourite senior boy.
Cat Photo Summary
You can take pictures with whatever camera you have. Not all of them will be perfect but with practice, you will feel you are doing your cat friends justice and taking pictures you will be proud to show to your family and friends.
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