Cat Photography Tips & Ideas

Cat photography is one of the most exciting and difficult types of pet photography. Besides taking a photo of a cat, you can also capture pictures of them with people and other pets.

The Internet is full of cat pictures. You will see them on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and other social networks. Let’s choose the best ideas and realize them!

23 Cat Photography Tips

Cats are exceptional models, their beauty and charm can’t leave a photographer indifferent. Cat photography can be rather fun, but cats are not the easiest models to work with. To take funny shots, I recommend you to follow the tips below.

1. Avoid Sudden Moves

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Cats photoshoot is quite different from what you are used to. Cats can’t stay frozen in one pose for a long time, so you need to be patient when working with them. If you come up too close quickly, they will run away, and you won’t be able to make a shot.

Give them some time to get used to you. Try to stay as close as possible to them for as long as you can. Be calm and predictable. Cats usually prefer hanging around specific areas, use it. Try attracting their attention with a new object, for instance, a cat bed. Stay close, observe their behavior and get to know them.

2. Have Your Camera Ready

cat photography hand strap

To be successful at cat photography, you need to be always ready to take a shot. Cats often strike funny poses, especially when they are falling asleep. To avoid missing these moments, keep your camera close at hand. A hand strap may be helpful. You can scare a cat with the noise when looking for a camera, so it is better to always keep it close. If you want to take outdoor photos, don’t forget to adjust the settings of your camera. Don’t miss the best shots because your camera is not ready.

3. Draw Attention

photo collage ideas christmas tree ornaments

Experienced photographers who specialize in pets photography have some recommendations to share. Use them to take the best photo of a cat. If you are planning to work alone, learn how to use your camera with one hand. The Auto mode allows you to take photos more quickly. Use your other hand to attract your cat’s attention. For instance, you may click your fingers.

cat photography attention

You can also toss a paper bag, and a cat will look towards you. Another solution is to use a special cat toy.

4. Take Advantage of Their Curiosity

cat photography toys

If you are also interested in horse photography, you need to understand that cats are more curious. Rustle leaves, crumple paper or try using an animal sounds ball to make a cat look towards the sound.

cat photography toys

Hang something on a cord and show this toy to a cat, moving it from one side to another. The cat will follow the object, and it may even try to catch it.

5. Get Down to Cat’s Level

cats level cat photography

The majority of people who are just starting with cats photography take pictures from their height. Beginners make the same mistake with dog photography, which prevents them from taking good photos. If you get down, you will take pictures that capture a cat’s personality better. To avoid catching a cold when you are sitting on the floor, try using this blanket.

cats level cat photography

If you want to take pictures of a hunting cat from the ground level, you need to capture a photo of a pet from a prey’s perspective, which will add some drama to your photos. To make this task easier, try using a special camera monitor.

6. Shoot Using Different Angles

cat photography angles

Staying at a cat’s eye-level allows you to get amazing pictures and look at the world like cats do. You can also use other ways to take a high-quality photo of a cat.

When shooting a cat from your eye-level downward, you can take nice high-angle pictures and emphasize the face and eyes of the pet. Be careful with the perspective. This angle may cause some distortion, and the image may turn out funny. If you are looking for the best lenses for cat photography, check out this Canon EF 17-40 f/4L USM lens that has a 93-degree angle.

cat photography angles

Cats often climb on trees and walls. To capture photos of them, you can take pictures from a low angle. You can also use a special cat tree.

7. Get Close to Your Subject

cat photography macro

You may find a lot of cat photography ideas on the Internet. If you are interested in macro photography, you need to come up very close to a cat to take photos. Don’t rush, avoid sudden moves, take a step towards the cat and then stop. Then, continue moving step by step, checking if the cat is fine with that. Take photos from a comfortable distance.

It is very important to move slowly, like the National Geographic guys do. To keep a distance from the pet, try using a telezoom lens for Canon or a camera for macro photography.

8. Focus on the Eyes

eyes cat photography

Cats have mesmerizing eyes. To take a great photo of a cat, make sure to focus on them.

eyes cat photography

The overall effect depends on the camera and its sensor size. A smartphone camera usually has a good depth of field, so it is easy to focus on the eyes. To get a shallower depth of field, use an SLR with a bigger sensor, like the Canon EOS Rebel, though it requires better technical skills. If you are taking a portrait from an angle, focus on the nearest eye, otherwise, a photo will look strange.

9. Funny Yawning

cat photography while yawning

You need some time to catch their yawning but it’s definitely worth it.

cat photography while yawning

You don’t have to be luck to do it but, usually, when cats wake up from a long nap, they yawn about 20-30 times.

10. Frame Your Subject

natural cat photography

To add depth to a picture when shooting outside, you need to frame your subject in the right way. It’s one of the most widely used cat photography ideas. For a better effect, use long grass, bushes and tree foliage.

natural cat photography

This technique is often used in wildlife photography. If you are shooting indoors, use a cozy hiding place that a cat likes or a comfortable towel cupboard.

11. A Matching Game about Cats and Their Owners

funny cat photography with their owners

Usually people say that dogs look like their owners but, surprisingly, cats have similar personality too.

funny cat photography with their owners

Hire a photographer or use a tripod for amazing photos of your cats. It’s better to wear the clothes in the same color.

12. Funny Cat Photo Perspectives

funny cat photography perspectives

Sometimes the angle is everything you need to take the funniest cat photo ever! This is a good idea to repeat to get a funny optical illusion.

13. Change Backgrounds

cat photography on a colorful background

If you’re going to take cat photos at the studio, have at least 2-3 different and colorful backgrounds. Use a color wheel to choose a perfect matching color to your cat’s fur.

cat photography on a colorful background

Be careful with studio lights and don’t let your cat scratch and gnaw the background not to get poisoned.

14. Try Manual Mode + Auto ISO

manual mode cat photography

If your camera has only an Automatic mode, skip this part. However, it might be useful to try out different camera settings for cat photography. If you have a Manual mode and an Auto ISO feature, you can take more eye-catching pictures.

Experienced professionals and inspired amateurs tend to use the Aperture priority mode (Av/A) keeping the ISO at a low value to minimize noise and get the best animal photobombs. A camera will adjust the shutter speed automatically, so you don’t need to worry about any exposure issues.

If you select a Manual mode with Auto ISO, you will be able to control the aperture and shutter speeds. The ISO will be selected by the camera.

15. Apply Continuous Drive Mode

cat photography drive mode

When your cat is playing with a toy, leaping, running in the garden or climbing up a tree, it might be difficult to catch these moments with your camera using single-shot mode. To be on the safe side, use these tips on photography series and switch to the continuous drive or burst mode.

cat photography drive mode

When using a continuous high-speed mode, you can get a lot of shots. You will need to sort them out and find the best ones. To make this task easier, I recommend using photo organizing software.

16. Play with Shutter Speed

cat photography shutter speed

If you are serious about professional cat photography, use a shutter priority mode that is also known as Tv or S. I don’t recommend using the shutter speed lower than 1/125 or 1/250s. Cats are quick, so take photos at the shutter speeds of 1/1000s to catch them playing and get sharp photos.

Decent light conditions are very important, so you can purchase a lighting kit to improve them. In poor-lighting conditions, your task will be more difficult.

If you choose fast shutter speeds, your camera will use low aperture values. However, if ISO values are high (more than 6400), it might be difficult to take clear and crisp images.

17. Use Right Aperture Settings

cat photography aperture settings

If you are interested in wildlife photography, try using an aperture mode. It is known as Av or A. Be careful with low apertures, such as f1.8 – f2.2. If the depth of field is too narrow, it can result in a blurry image when a cat is moving.

Select the most appropriate aperture and depth of field to keep all the important details in focus. When using high apertures, you should opt for low shutter speeds. If a pet is moving, you may try increasing the ISO.

18. Choose the Right Lighting

cat photography studio lighting

If you are serious about cat photography, lighting is important. Cats have a special reflective layer in the back of their eyes. It allows them to see better at night. When you aim a camera at them, a flash will cause a blue reflection if you are working with a kitten and a green one if you are taking photos of a grown-up cat.

cat photography studio lighting

To avoid this effect, try holding a flashgun away from the camera and use a softbox.

The latest digital cameras deliver a decent ISO performance, which allows you to take good photos and minimize noise even in poor lighting conditions.

19. Play with Focus Light

cat photography

Light, color and contrast are the main principles of how your camera is able to focus on a kitten.

cat photo

To emphasize its eyes, don’t use a flash to scare your pet, it’s better to use continues lighting.

20. Try Sunlight Shooting

cat photography sunlight shooting

Shooting a cat outside when the sun is low allows you to get very nice results. The sunlight falling on a cat’s fur will make your photos especially beautiful. Shoot towards the sun and use a LED flash for a more impressive result. Because of bright daylight, the flash won’t cause the green-eye effect. It also allows you to avoid underexposure issues.

21. Be Careful with the Flash

cat photography reflector board

In poor light conditions, you need to use the flash. You should be careful with it, as cats don’t like sudden bursts of light.

If you are taking photos of a kitten, the flash may even damage their sensitive eyes. To avoid using a flash, try opening the aperture of the camera, setting the shutter speed to the lowest value, and increasing the ISO level to boost light sensitivity. For this purpose, you can also use reflector boards.

Another way to solve this issue is to use a LED light. Start with low intensity and raise it as soon as a pet gets used to it.

22. Select a Lens that Meets Your Needs

cat photography lenses

85-130 mm portrait lenses are considered to be the best lenses for cat photography. They allow you to keep a distance from a subject. To take ultra-close photos, you can also use a macro lens, for example, the Tamron 90mm.

To take a full-body photo of a cat, you can use a reportage type lens, like the Rikinon 35mm.

With a long telephoto lens, you can take photos from a longer distance and use any background, as it has a narrower field of view. Indoors, use a shorter lens as it allows you to take sharp photos even in poor light.

23. Be Open-Minded About the Results

creative cat photography

Cat photography might be challenging. You can make your pet strike a pose by using these creative photography tips. Stray cats usually ignore you and misbehave. You need to be open-minded and take photos of whatever a cat is doing. The result may surprise you.

If your pictures require additional processing, try using this animal photo editor.

Cat Photo Editing Freebies

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