How to Get the Best Picture of Your Cat
Your cat is an exceptional creature… and you should know. As a member of her household staff, you've enjoyed countless opportunities to bask in her greatness every day. So of course you want to capture her timeless beauty and unique personality in photos to share with the rest of the world.
If only she would cooperate.
There's no record of a cat compiling a photo album (much less bothering to master a camera), so you can assume that taking really great cat photos is much more important to you than it is to her. And you'd likely be right.
This doesn't mean, however, that you should give up on your cat's modeling career. It just means that in order to catch her at her best, you need to be a bit more, well… creative.
PORTRAIT OF A CAT
The best place to photograph your cat is in her natural environment. Cats are naturally suspicious, and since she's inclined to assume that you're up to something anyway, taking her to a place she doesn't know will tip her off immediately. So unless a photo of a bristling creature with saucer-sized eyes is your goal, stick to places where she feels comfortable.
The same rule applies to lighting. Avoid a flash if at all possible - cats don't like them, and you'll see it in their eyes. That glowing-eye demon look? It's not only caused by light hitting the backs of her eyes; you're seeing a healthy amount of anger there. So instead of flash, try using a camera with a high ISO rating (more sensitive exposure), or a camera with a sports mode or low-light setting.
FLEXIBILITY IS A VIRTUE
If you want to get up close and personal, get on your cat's level. Be willing to stretch out on the floor, or get on your tiptoes… whatever gets you eye-to-eye with your cat. A camera extender can be a great way to get your camera to hard-to-reach hiding places, like under beds or on top of bookshelves. So even if your cat is camera-shy, you can still grab the occasional shot (of something other than her tail as she escapes).
That being said, be careful about suddenly sticking a camera in your cat's face. If you want to get close, sometimes you have to get sneaky. Think about what makes your cat stealthy - for starters, she doesn't wear shoes. So ditch yours, put your camera in shooting position, and creep in like a cat on the hunt (but for a perfect photo instead of an icky mouse). Of course, also bear in mind that a photo snapped after a sneak attack may not yield the most relaxed-looking cat. If her radar is just too sensitive, consider a zoom lens to help you cover the distance.
WHAT'S IT WORTH TO YOU?
Finally, remember that although cats are usually not enthusiastic photo subjects, they have been known to succumb to bribery. So never underestimate the power of a treat to get your cat's attention - at least long enough to snap a photo of that engaged expression you adore. A favorite toy can have the same effect. Get her to play, and you might even be able to capture a great action shot or two (at least until she realizes she's fallen for your photo ploy and returns to sitting with her back to you).
With these tips (and a little luck), you'll be able to photographically preserve the qualities that make your cat the endearing, entertaining and unpredictable companion you've come to love. Better yet, you'll be able to share them with everyone you know. After all, who are you to deny them a glimpse of your cat's greatness?
- Becker M. Vetstreet.com. "5 Ways to Take Great Photos of Your Cat." <http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/5-ways-to-take-great-photos-of-your-cat>
- Catster. "10 Tips or Getting Great Photos of Your Cat." <http://www.catster.com/cat-pictures/take-great-cat-photos>