Textile Ruins - 2014
Sacha - 2014
with cooler weather comes simple pleasure - 2014
Apparently, the last time I was at the WA coast, my wife took this photo.
Sacha - 2014
Tuned Out - 2014
odd visitors - 2014
well worn - 2014
Sunrise @ Looking Glass Falls - 2014
(Early Cat Saturday, I’m going Backpacking) - Sacha - 2011
Freedom isn’t free - Kuwait, 2012
3 JULY 2014
Sacha - 2011
So, like many others, I just read about Apple ceasing to develop Aperture any further. Any advice for a decent replacement? I really don’t want to get into Adobe’s monthly payment shenanigans. I’m more angry about NiK and VSCO plug ins that I spent good money on.
So, I’ve had some people ask about some techniques to taking pet portraits. First off, I’m honored that someone would think enough of my photography to ask this of me, secondly I’d like to warn you that mileage may vary. Unless your cat plays fetch like a dog, follows you around all day and will come when called, most of this may not apply to you at all. Yes, I understand that I just described exactly 2% of the domesticated cat population or maybe just Sacha.
I always suggest working at the cat’s eye level and using natural light as much as possible. It makes them more comfortable and you’ll usually get much better photos. The Cats will look more natural. Ok, so onto the topic and the cat pictures. Because we all know that the vast majority of what I type will be ignored and skimmed over….
I’ve had the best luck when I start a kitten off early with the camera. If you introduce a large, oddly shaped object that makes funny noises to cats later in life they’re usually somewhat suspicious. Sacha luckily was interested in the camera or at least trying to figure out why I kept shoving it in her face. She was young at this point and really wasn’t motivated enough to run away.
Ok, maybe your cat isn’t a kitten anymore and you still want to take some photos that don’t look like you’re chasing them with a camera. There’s always toys. You can try situating yourself within range of your cat and holding (not shaking) his or her favorite toy over or near the camera. It’s really hard to get a cat to look into the lens, trust me, so you’ll probably end up with a lot of photos similar to this at first.
Be careful not to get too close or your camera becomes the cat toy.
Another thing you need to keep in mind is that cats aren’t going to pose for you in perfect backgrounds. Don’t sweat it, sometimes you trick them into at least being near something useful. For this shot I took advantage of Sacha’s love of new things and set up a folding table about 6 feet from our bookshelf. Far enough that I could defocus the background, but still have something that looked pleasing back there.
Here’s another example when I caught her in the new crib we had just built for our daughter.
Cats are more likely to stick around if you find them somewhere they already like to be. Boxes work great for this most of the time, Sacha just has a thing for beds or high places with limited access. Which leads us to a tactic I like to use. Which is to catch her sleeping somewhere with good light (cats love the sun, so this is pretty easy) and make just enough noise that she wakes up, but not enough to scare her. Usually a few clicks or a quiet whistle works fine.
If your cat likes to lay on the floor, well you really don’t have a choice. You’ve got to get down there with her. I love that my 70D has an articulating screen, it helps a good bit
If this pose looks familiar, yes… it is the “pet my belly so I can maul you to death” pose.
With a good bit of practice and patience your cat may or may not decide that they actually like the camera and begin to start playing along. When that happens, you’ll start being able to actually frame shots and get nice sharp images. Don’t sweat perfection, take lots of shots instead. Work on moving yourself around in such a way to take best advantage of the light without making your cat think you’re trying to stalk them. Hopefully you’ll even start getting them to look into the lens on occasion.
And if that doesn’t work out for you. There’s always the find them where they are and find a way to get light to them…
… or just copious amounts of tuna.
That’s a quick and dirty, short take on photographing your cats. If you have any other questions on the matter, feel free to send your questions to my inbox!