So, you know your cat is the cutest, right? And you really want to be able to show people how cute it is, but then you take a picture and it ends up looking like this:
What gives? Five seconds ago Fluffy was posing perfectly for his photo and now it looks like things have gone horribly wrong. Well, believe it or not, there are actually do’s and don’ts of cat photography, or “pawtography” if you will (and I will). You might guess, and you would be correct, that cat photography tips are similar to actual photography tips and are also applicable to dogs, but since you are dealing with a subject that doesn’t always take the best direction, there are actually a few suggestions out there that can help you catch a photo of your little buddy that’s perfect for your Facebook, Instagram, Christmas card, or the empty frame in your office.
Before we get started, let’s talk cameras. I am not a camera person — I use my iPhone for all my photos. The one thing that’s true across the board for any pet photography is that the photo ops happen at the most random times. I don’t always have time to go and get an actual camera, but my phone is usually close by. So though these tips will work for cameras of all kinds, know that I am writing the from the perspective of an avid iPhone user!
1. Be patient.
Cats can sleep from 16 to 20 hours a day depending on their age and health. Sometimes when you want them to playful and be cute, they just aren’t interested. This is especially a problem when trying to capture indoor cats on film. However, you can get some great shots of your cat yawning right when they wake up if the timing is right! Otherwisecheck back with them at 3:00 a.m. when they are doing wind-sprints in your living room.
2. Use props.
Props, meaning toys, boxes, string, tissue paper, hats (yes hats) or anything that will engage a cat’s natural curiosity. My cat Jules is kind of a show off, so he is easier to shoot than my shy tabby, Gigi. Case in point:
3. Be ready.
If you find a time when your cat is being playful, drop everything (within reason — like, not your child, or a pot of stew) and play with them if you want to get a good shot. If that means chasing Mr. Whiskers around, dragging a string around your house, or even using a laser pointer, then by all means, get to playing. The activity will most likely lead to a bonafide framer.
Bonus tip: wear your fitbit while you run around your house and when you’re done you’ll find that not only did you get a great photo opp, you also burned a few extra calories. I call it #catladycardio. Trademark pending.
4. Use filters.
Because, come on, even Barbie looks better with a filter. So will your cat.
This one won’t be hard for you cat lovers out there. Sometimes the best shots come when your cat is tuckered out after a long day of well, sleeping, and he just wants to curl up next to his favorite human… you. The best way to do it is to either have a friend or your partner snap the shot, or just take a selfie. But be sure not to drop your phone on kitty’s head. They don’t like that very much, trust me.
6. Take lots of shots.
The iPhone burst feature works well in these situations. If you don’t know about burst, it’s a feature on the iPhone camera that allows you to take a ton of pictures in a row very rapidly, making it great for action shots or timing that aforementioned perfect yawn. But, be forewarned — sometimes you just get a lot of pictures of a blur, or even worse you get a ton of pictures of your cat just sitting there and then someone grabs your phone to look at a picture of say, your nephew, and then they see you have 47 pictures of your cat doing nothing and it’s a little awkward.
7. Use natural lighting.
Cats love to sunbathe, and if you can catch them in good lighting, it definitely makes it an amazing shot. My tabby looks gorgeous catching some rays:
8. Share your cat with the world!
The whole point of trying to get a good picture of your fur-baby is to post it! Don’t keep the magic all to yourself. People might say they get tired of seeing cat pictures and videos on the Internet, but it’s clearly not true. Or, if you’re like me, and you can’t stop yourself from overposting, create an Instagram just for your cat and his fans.
9. Have fun with it!
At the end of the day, don’t take it too seriously. Getting a great photo of any subject can be frustrating and time consuming, and with cats, you can multiply that frustration my ten. So if it gets to a point where you aren’t having fun with it anymore, shuck the camera and try again tomorrow. It’s not like you’re going to make any money off your cat anyway, right?
Happy snapping! If you get any shots you love be sure to share them on the Bark Meow Facebook page!
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