Tips for Photographing the World’s Cutest Cats: YOURS!

By on 3-27-2012 in Uncategorized

Tips for Photographing the World’s Cutest Cats: YOURS!

Ever look at cute pics of cats online or in cat food advertisements and think (out loud, to the rolled eyes of those who just don’t get it): “But my cat’s cuter. Mine is WAY cuter!” That’s not just parental bias. Maybe yours ARE cuter, prettier, more charismatic, have more interesting features, whatever. But folks don’t always agree on how to best show that in pictures.

A jumping cat trying to catch some food.

cute computer catAccording to the Digital SLR guide, it’s important to ALWAYS be ready with your camera in order to catch them DOING something:

If your cats are like mine, they spend much of their time asleep on the bed, couch, or an article of clothing where they can deposit a pile of fur. Since a photo of a cat with its head buried in its tail isn’t going to make for a stunning photo, you have to wait until they are up and about. Once the cat is active, you pretty much have to trail around the house like a cat paparazzo, camera in hand. The opportunities for good photos are going to be few and far between so you have to be prepared. Cats won’t wait around for you to get a decent shot and they SURE won’t repeat any behavior just for your benefit. Once the moment’s lost, it’s gone forever.That’s why my first tip on how to photograph cats is this: once the cat is up and about, be ready to photograph.
While I agree that action shots can make up a significant portion of one’s cat’s cuteness CATalog, they are not the be-all end-all of capturing your kitteh on film. Yes, cats do spend most of their day sleeping, but creatures as beautiful as cats always look elegant and beautiful in sleep. The photo also serves to show the atmosphere in which kitty likes to sleep. They sleep where they want to; isn’t that a fantastic compliment on your taste in couches, beds, and…desks? So take a picture! Catch them being cute!

Aww…both super cute pics — showing that cats look fabulous no matter what they’re doing. Note that the backgrounds are totally different, but feline gorgeousness transcends all scenery, in this photographer’s opinion. Now that you know what to look for, how do you capture it? Jerry Rice of Ritz Camera advises:

I would suggest that 35mm cameras, either rangefinder or single lens reflex, would be ideal for photographing cats. But certainly medium format cameras can be successfully used. And would you believe that the late and great Edward Weston photographed his many very active cats with an 8×10 view camera? Not in studio setups, mind you, but roaming around his house and yard. To show you the level of Weston’s art, he was the recipient of the first Guggenheim Fellowship awarded to any photographer! Incidentally, he made a book of photographs about his cats — “The Cats of Wildcat Hill.” It’s out of print now, unfortunately.

If you do use artificial light — electronic flash, floodlights, etc. — be careful about “red eye” — actually, with cats and other pets it’s a variant — “green eye.” These conditions are caused by having the light source to close to the camera and having the light reflect off the back of the cat’s eyeballs. Raise your light source and move it away from the camera, and probably everything will be all right in most cases. Also, turn on a few room lights as well.

© NYI Student Querida Lu Ahn Funck And now to the final NYI Guideline — simplifying the picture by eliminating the unnecessary and retaining the necessary. The cat is such an elegant creature that you can make wonderful photographs with nothing in them except the cat. You don’t need to “gild the lily”, so to speak. The cat’s often just enough. But don’t overlook the other possibilities of cats with people, with other animals, with interesting surroundings, etc.

I would like to add that red eye can also be fixed onscreen quite easily when using a digital camera. Don’t let concern over red eye stop you from snapping pic after pic of unfettered cuteness.

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to sign up to my site for more felininity!

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