Blog van het beeldbureau Imageselect
Cats are one of the most photographed animals. Pictures of their expressive eyes, soft paws, silky shiny fur - all this can fascinate and captivate. Following the spirit of the times, we have come to the fact that cats often appear in the lenses of our cameras. What cats? Small, big, ours, neighbor, wild, literally all of them! What do we love about cats? Their independence, expression, and ingenuity. Even cat owners are not fully aware of what they are capable of.
Cats are one of the most graceful objects to be photographed - let's look at the internet, for example. It's scary to think what would happen if all the pictures, memes, and videos depicting our pets while playing, sleeping, caressing… could be exchanged endlessly. Although we see such pictures almost every day, it is extremely difficult to find an excellent photo of a cat.
Some of us, however, would like to photograph a cat star, so we will try to introduce you to the methods of working with a cat and a camera. The problem with photographing animals is that such models are often arbitrary, impatient, mobile, stubborn, and even contradictory. Here are 10 tips to get the perfect picture of your cat anyway!
Create a motive in your head
Before you start taking pictures, think about what you would like to express with them. Do you want to take a portrait of your cat? Or maybe you'd rather be photographed in the middle of wild fun as it climbs and jumps? The background is somewhere outside or on the home sofa? Sometimes it helps to look at photos on the Internet, for example, cute cat pictures on our website - they will provide inspiration. However, don't try to recreate any photos 1 to 1 - it usually ends with a complete flop. After all, every cat is different and unique - so should its photography be.
To find the perfect photo theme for your pet, first think about what makes it different. Maybe some interesting pattern on the hair? Maybe there is something it loves to do? Is it still small and crazy? Maybe a dynamic photo with a favorite toy or a photo of a kitten looking into the lens with interest? The photos of kittens also come out very well when you can compare their size to the size of another item. Perhaps your cat is a born hunter who can spend the whole day in the garden hunting for small animals? Try to photograph it just like that, during the frolics.
You will get a great photo of your pet thanks to the same techniques that are used to photograph other wild animals - limitless patience, flexible approach to light and exposure time, awareness of the animal's feelings, and above all, lots of shots!
Tips to make a good pet picture
Simply pointing the camera at the subject is not enough to take a good cat photo. What can you do to make your result better?
Regardless of what theme you choose and what background you choose, the animal should be at the center of the photo. Restless surroundings with people, cars, too patterned wallpaper or curtains - all this will distract from the main protagonist of the photo. If you are taking photos at home, choose a rather plain background, such as a plain wall with no ornaments, or a wooden floor or plain colored tiles. You can also prepare the background for your photos yourself, for example by painting cardboard or polystyrene in the color of your choice. Also, single-colored pillows and blankets can be used to arrange the scenery. It is also important that the background contrasts with the color of your pet.
Good lighting and sunlight as much are the basis of good photography. If you don't have a photo light kit, place your cat for your photo as close to the large window as possible, or move outside right away. To avoid unwanted shadows in cat pictures, do not place your back to the light source, but slightly sideways. When the cat looks straight out of the window, the photos often show a white spot of light on the pet's face, which is usually an interesting effect, desirable for portrait photos. Don't use flash! It can scare the cat and make it run away.
Photo under processing
You may want to impress Instagram with photos with the hashtag #nofilter, but it cannot be denied that some photos become real gems only after applying a filter or adding another effect. Let's be honest: the professional photos from magazine covers are retouched notoriously. Thanks to photo manipulation programs or appropriate phone applications, you can make your pet look even more beautiful in the photo than in reality too. Try different effects until you come across one that makes your photo special.
Practice makes perfect
Whether it's in sports, music, painting, or cat photography: to really be good at something, the only talent is not enough. Every professional has to practice a lot!
So grab your camera and try new poses, modes, and perspectives.
Tips for cat’s “posing”
Cat Portrait: Foreground sharp, unfocused background
You can also try the trick with a blurred background and a sharpened pet's face. Professionals set their cameras to A or AV Aperture Priority, as low as possible. At f2.8 or f3.2 the aperture is wide open so the depth of field is smaller. So the background is slightly blurred and the foreground is sharpened. Focus primarily on the eyes of your pet - animal portraits are convincing above all with sharp, expressive eyes that immediately catch the eye of the viewer.
Cat in motion: The frame is fast but still
A photograph of a cat in motion can be especially charming while it runs or bounces happily. To prevent your picture from blurring, set to "sport" mode. You can also try out a series of photos - thanks to this option, you will not miss any original, apart from your pet playing at its best. Naturally, after the photo shoot, you will have to spend some time selecting the photos.
The lens is at the cat's eye level
Pictures of cats are more natural when they reflect their true proportions. Photos taken from the upper point are much less convincing in advance because they usually distract attention from the actual intended effect with distorted proportions. What does this mean for the photographer? The lens should be at your pet’s eye level.