For me, like many people, my cats are like my children. As soon as they arrive in the house, I can’t wait to start taking pictures and sharing them with friends and family. And who can blame anyone for taking lots of pictures of their cute cats?
After all, the more photos and videos we have of our furry friends in the world, the more we can distract ourselves from depressing news! But, while cats make great subjects for our cameras, they aren’t natural models as sitting still isn’t always their priority.
As for action shots, well, getting your favoured feline to run perfectly across your camera sight doesn’t happen by chance. It takes perseverance and these tips will ensure you’re getting the best action shots of them.
Getting your cat to pose for the perfect action shot isn’t an easy task, in fact, some might even argue it’s impossible. That means you might not have a tonne of control over where they decide to go while you’re taking pictures of them.
The unbridled fun they have is important to ensure you get an authentic shot but beware of elements that might detract viewers from your image. Items like overhanging branches, clutter from your home or even other home sharing pets can obscure parts of your cat. This can become a distraction but there are a few options.
One is to simply wait it out until your cat gets themselves in a better position while walking, running or playing. Another is to use your camera’s zoom to make those obstructions disappear.
If you don’t have adequate zooming power, and your cat simply won’t remove themselves from a cluttered area, begin to take your pictures with cropping in mind. Consider which elements can be edited out when you’re finalising your pictures later and avoid anything too big to crop.
Perspective is important in all pet photography as taking pictures from too high an angle creates a distance between the viewer and the animal. Getting down to their level draws those looking at the image into their world as we can see things the way they do. Successful photography helps to create intimacy with effective levelling, ensuring that we put ourselves in their paws.
[Image source: Deposit photos]
You may need to add some lenses, filters or even a tripod to your gear for the best action shots. For that reason, let’s begin by stating that any camera gear you may need to add to your collection doesn’t need to break the bank. There is a thriving circular economy for cameras and camera gear which allows photographers to buy used equipment rather than brand new.
It makes equipment more affordable for all, including those experimenting with cat action photography. This concept of a circular camera economy also helps reduce waste as it makes use of perfectly good equipment and gives it a second chance.
Focusing on a shallow depth of field helps to create three-dimensional images of your cats while in action outdoors. Lowering the aperture number alters where the focus point is, and the lower it is the closer the focus becomes.
This also increases the light passing through the lens which can make it seem like your cat is leaping out from the frame. That shallow depth of field helps to create a clear distinction between the background and foreground, making sure common colours and tones your cat shares with the environment are not a distraction.
One of the most important elements of capturing action shots of any pet is to create sharp images. With your cat buzzing around at high speed, the likelihood of image blur is increased. A faster shutter speed is ideal for freezing them in motion, but how fast your settings need to be will always depend on the cat in question..
For cats on the go, a shutter speed of 1/500th of a second is a great starting point, which should be increased to 1/1000th of a second if they are running. If your camera doesn’t allow for the manual changing of shutter speed, the automatic settings will accommodate your needs. For example, a good option is the sports setting as it will ensure the shutter speed is increased to freeze the action.
Long lenses are commonly used by wildlife photographers as their images can seem like they are taken from just a few yards away while in truth they may be a great distance from the action. This is commonly done for safety reasons to ensure they don’t get too close to a wild animal while also ensuring they aren’t encroaching on the natural habitat.
While you don’t need to be a million miles away from your cat for safety, putting some distance between you while snapping can be a useful exercise. It allows your cat more freedom to do their thing while you can play around with the focal length to get the perfect image.
We have alluded to the fact that our cats don’t commonly play ball when it comes to photography. In fact, they seem to have a sixth sense for knowing you are about to take a great picture of them and moving a second before you get it. Whether you are taking still or action photos of them, patience is key.
It’s easy to get frustrated about the shot that you missed by a couple of seconds but it’s important to let it go and be ready to strike. If you have the storage space, don’t be afraid to take multiple pictures as you might strike lucky and get an unintentionally great shot!
[Image source: Deposit photos]
Whether you’re struggling to capture your own fast feline or are worried about how to best photograph a neighbour’s timid cat, capturing any animal on camera can be challenging, so keep it fun.
Planning is important for getting amusing action shots of your cats, from getting them used to the camera sound to coming armed with toys to keep them entertained, it all counts. Try snapping in short bursts to ensure that your pets don’t get bored of posing, and it may be taxing for them to be kept in focus for too long. Rewarding them with treats is a great way to win them over and keep them interested the next time you bring out the camera equipment for a photo shoot. It’s amazing how something as simple as a feather can be a great attention grabber.
Avoid thrusting the camera in your cat’s face. While you might want to get a close-up of them, it’s better to get them to come to you. One of the easiest ways to do so is to place a treat on top of your camera which will make you incredibly popular.
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