Every once in a while, you get a picture of your cats that’s just so purrfect, you can hardly believe you managed to get the shot. After I took the photo above, I literally danced around the room with joy.
Everything lined up just right. I had noticed the girls sitting very close together out of the corner of my eyes. I quietly snuck to my office to grab the camera, and equally quietly snuck back to where they were sitting, hoping that they wouldn’t hear me. Frequently, when I try to photograph them together, one or the other will walk toward me when they see me coming with the camera. This time, everything was perfectly aligned: the camera was in focus, they both looked at me at the same time, and I managed to get the shot in before one of them moved.
I’m not an expert photographer, but over the years of photographing cats I’ve learned a few things, and I thought I’d share some tips and tricks for getting good photos.
Avoid using flash if at all possible
Cats’ retinas have a special reflective layer called the tapetum lucidum, which acts almost like a reflective mirror at the back of their eyes. The “evil eyes” look you get in so many flash photographs is caused by the light bouncing off their retinas. If you have to use flash, try to take the photo at a slight angle so the flash doesn’t go off directly in the eye. (If cats had their say, humans would never use flash!).
Take lots of photos
For every good shot I get, I take at least 10 or 20 not so good ones.
Always have your camera close by and charged
How many times does your cat do something cute, but your camera is in the other room. I was so lucky with the photo above that I had time to get the camera and didn’t miss the shot!
Sometimes, cats just aren’t in the mood to have their picture taken.
Use your cat’s daily cycle to your advantage
Take pictures of your cat when she’s just waking up and isn’t too active yet.
Use toys, treats, or sound to get your cat to look at the camera
When I had my picture taken with Amber by a professional photographer, the photographer’s assistant stood behind the photographer and squeezed toys with squeakers over her head to get Amber to look up.
Use the zoom feature on your camera
Use the zoom rather than getting too close to your cat, if you can. I’ve found that challenging, because both Allegra and Ruby react to the sound of the zoom and inevitably approach me and the camera to get a closer look. It makes for great photos of cat noses!
Experiment with different camera settings
Even if you use a point and shoot camera, experiment with the different settings. For example, I found that when taking photos in bright light, I need to sometimes set the flash manually, otherwise, my two dark torties will look washed out. By playing with different settings, you may be able to avoid using flash a lot more than you thought.
Edit, edit, edit
Most of your photos will probably need a little editing. You don’t need Photoshop, there are plenty of inexpensive or even free online photo editors. My favorite one is PicMonkey, it comes in both a free and paid version.
Do you have any tips and tricks you use to get great photos of your cats? Please share them in a comment.