Many of us are cat lovers. These little felines have beauty and personality that make them great photography models.
I used to live in a town full of cats. As a photographer, this meant I photographed many cats and learnt a great about cat photography. I ended up taking cat photos almost every day.
Cat photography is a fun and interesting niche of pet photography. Here you have my best tips to improve your cat photography.
Use a Semi-Automatic Shooting Mode
Unless they are sleeping, cats can be fast and unpredictable. It’s good to be ready to shoot fast and shooting with a semi-automatic mode can really help you to speed up.
Aperture mode (called Av or A in most of the cameras) is the favourite among wildlife photographers. Be aware of using really low apertures though. You might unintentionally set the depth of field to be too narrow. That can ruin your cat photo (if the cat moves, it will be out of focus).
You need to choose which aperture will be best to keep everything important in the image in focus. To compensate for higher apertures, you will need to use slower shutter speeds. This is not always the best option when the animal is moving.
Shutter priority mode is another helpful option.
With this one, you choose the shutter speed. With cats, it is usually good not to go under 1/125 or 1/250 seconds. Your camera will then adjust the aperture to get a well-exposed photo.
This might be a good approach when you are working under good light conditions. But with low light conditions (dark environments, dusk, etc.), things get a bit more complicated.
When pushing the camera to use really fast shutter speeds with low lighting, it will select really low aperture values. You will also need to use such high ISO values that you might end up with a really grainy, out-of-focus photo.
Shoot Using Different Angles
Cats are not the tallest animals. Photographing cats from your eye-level downward you can get really nice high angle photos.
This perspective emphasises the face and eyes of the cat. Pay attention because it can cause a bit to the photo, so it might give a comic touch to the image.
Cats are pretty good with heights. They like climbing on trees, walls and any other tall structures. You can emphasise this behaviour by taking photos from a low angle (pointing the camera up).
If you go down to the cat’s eye-level, you can take really nice photos. As you are at the cat’s height, you are also looking at the world like they do.
Use Continuous Shooting Mode
Cats can be unpredictable, so getting that amazing cat photograph can be quite hard. You can increase your chances of catching a good moment by using the continuous shooting mode. This is also called Burst mode or continuous high-speed mode. Most cameras these days have it.
It will allow you to take several images in quick succession. Try to read the cat’s behaviour, when you think it is about to act, start to take pictures.
You will end up with quite a few photos, so it will take time to sort through them and find the best shots. But your chances of getting the best shots will increase!
The number of photos and how to activate it depend on your camera model, so I recommend going through your camera manual. Just make sure it once you don’t need it. Shooting all the time in continuous mode will fill-up your memory cards really fast!