As a photographer, you can certainly guess that the art of cat photography has its secrets. If you already take good pictures with cats, read the following article and learn how to improve your skills.
All of the following tips require your attention because even a tiny detail can make a big difference in a photo. You’ll become a true guru of cute pet photography with a few simple tips.
Be ready to shoot at any moment
It seems like an obvious recommendation, but in real life, we often miss good shots because we do not have a camera at hand. Things are much more complicated with photographing cats. They are quite fast and brisk animals that do not repeat the same action several times. If you do not have time to take a photo of a certain pose, it is not a fact that the cat will take the same position again.
Always be prepared:
- Choose the settings you need for your particular light situation and keep your camera handy.
- If you want to check the image on the screen to make adjustments, do it quickly.
- Don’t get distracted by looking at all the pictures. It may happen that when you lift your head from the screen, the cat is not there anymore!
Don’t take a flash (especially for kittens)
If the lighting leaves much to be desired, you may want to consider using a flash. Keep in mind that cats don’t like sudden bright light and it often scares them away. And in the case of pictures of kittens, you may even damage their delicate eyes.
Instead of flashing, open the aperture of your camera, reduce the shutter speed and increase the ISO to increase the light sensitivity. Another good solution is to use an LED light that won’t annoy them or make the cat run away. You can start with LED light at a very low intensity and gradually increase it as the animals get used to it.
You can also use photo editing tools. For example, Luminar Neo counts the depth of a photo and creates a precise depth map to spread the light spatially across a 2D picture.
Use a semi-automatic mode
When cats are awake, they move quite quickly and unpredictably. It’s a good idea to prepare for a quick shoot here, and semi-automatic mode is ideal. Aperture mode (called Av or A in most cameras) is popular among wildlife and nature photographers. However, don’t forget to use very low apertures.
To balance out a higher aperture, you’ll have to use a longer shutter speed. This is not always the best option when the animal is in motion. You can increase the ISO instead. Shutter priority mode (often called Tv or S, it depends on the camera) is another useful option. In this mode, you choose the shutter speed. When shooting cats, you usually don’t want a shutter speed of less than 1/125 or 1/250 of a second. The camera will then adjust the aperture to get a well-exposed picture.
Also, try continuous shooting mode
Cats are rather unpredictable creatures, so it’s rare to get the perfect picture the first time. You’ll greatly increase your chances of capturing the right second if you use a special continuous (burst) shooting mode. In some camera models, this mode is called continuous high-speed mode. An option like this will allow you to take several pictures at once in very quick succession. Trace the cat’s behavior and when it is about to act, go ahead and take the picture.
As a result, you’ll have quite a few images. It will take time to organize and sort the photos and find the best option, but it’s worth it. This mode fills the memory card very quickly, so don’t forget to delete unnecessary files.
Get closer to your subject
If you choose a close-up shot, the cat will fill most of the frame and you won’t see much of the surroundings. For such shots, you will need to get very close to the cat. Depending on the feline, you may have to be quiet and approach it very slowly. Take a small step toward the cat and stop. Make sure the animal is not going to run away. If not, take a second small step, stop again and observe if the cat does not mind your presence. Repeat until you reach a suitable distance for a better picture. Remember that a bad shot can always be corrected a little. Check out the free photo editing software for PC on Skulum’s blog.
Don’t make any sudden movements and don’t go from standing to kneeling too quickly. The trick is to move slowly and gently. Another good solution is to stay away from the animal and use a tele zoom. Keep in mind that the longer the focal length, the longer the shutter speed. This is because longer focal lengths increase the effects of camera shake.
Another peculiarity is that in portrait photography it is recommended to focus on the eyes of the model. The eyes express emotions, and we are naturally drawn to them. This applies to cat photography as well. Cats have incredibly enigmatic and gorgeous eyes. If you make them sharp, they will look amazing.