How to photograph a cat so that the photo touches not only you
How to photograph a cat so that the photo touches not only you

Almost everyone who has a cat, sooner or later points the camera at his pet. As a result, social media feeds are filled with pictures of cats of all breeds and in all poses. However, these are mostly boring photos of not very good quality. Of course, for you, your cat is the cutest and most beautiful, you love him from mustache to tail. But to get your photos admired by your followers, try to approach your pet photography more professionally. A few basic tips are in this article.

How to photograph a cat so that the photo touches not only you
How to photograph a cat so that the photo touches not only you

Taking a picture of a cat is a natural and irresistible desire. After all, these are, first of all, very graceful animals, and the variety of breeds, colors makes each cat unique.


True, successful and even more original pictures are obtained quite rarely. On the one hand, cats are always photogenic, on the other hand, they are quite mobile. Even during sleep, they can twitch their ear or tail. Therefore, it is very difficult to catch the right pose. But, as with any other subject of photography, you can get better pictures by following the rules in the first place.

Let's start by building a composition

Rule of thirds

You have to mentally divide the picture into nine equal parts with two vertical and two horizontal lines. The main objects of the photograph should be located along the lines obtained and at their intersection.


Violating the most important rule of composition - the rule of thirds - and placing an object in the center of the frame is not forbidden when you want to emphasize the symmetry of the object. With cats, these pictures can turn out to be very beautiful: they often take suitable poses while resting.


The cat should not blend in with the background (unless, of course, this is an artistic idea). Therefore, choose a background for shooting that contrasts with the color of the skin. Classic combinations: ginger cat on blue or green, white on black, black on red. Pay attention to the fact that the background color emphasizes the color of the cat's eyes. A white window sill or wallpaper of a neutral color without a pattern is perfect as a background at home.

Shooting point

To avoid perspective distortion, you should generally shoot the subject at its level. In the case of a cat, this is the level of its eyes. Therefore, either lower yourself (on the floor, grass), or lift the cat (for example, on a chair or a ladder). Given the cats' love of the highlands, this won't be difficult. You can also shoot the cat from the bottom up as it climbs trees or shelves.


Cats in general do not have very expressive facial expressions, but they have very beautiful, attention-grabbing eyes. Therefore, you must always focus on the eyes. Note the difference in pupil shapes, shades, and conditions in different breeds and under different lighting conditions. By the way, if you want the narrow pupil to dilate, grab the cat's attention with something rustling. At the time of the attack, the pupil dilates almost to its maximum.

Frame composition

Photos are usually quite successful if you just take a close-up of the cat. Of course, you need to make sure that there are no "cropped" ears, tails and paws. You can also place one or two objects in the frame, for example, a classic ball of thread or a vase with a flower. But there should not be too many items so that the focus remains on the hero of the photo shoot.


Let's move on to the technical aspects of shooting


The slow shutter speeds required when shooting in low light are only suitable for sleeping cats. It is better to shoot vigorous cats actively moving their skin, whiskers, ears in good natural light. Ideally - on the street in the morning or in the evening ("golden hours") or on the balcony, where the cat will enjoy basking in the sun: the model's "smile" is guaranteed.


Use the flash to a minimum. In any case, this applies to the built-in flash of the camera. First, too harsh lighting will be unpleasant for the cat. Secondly, the color of the skin may be distorted, and the eyes will turn out with glare. Better to do without a flash at all, or - in extreme cases - use a diffuser. The ideal option is an external flash that will not hit the forehead.

Shooting mode

Shooting cats is closest to portrait photography, so the camera mode for portrait or aperture priority is the most appropriate mode. The wider the aperture, the more the background will be blurred - with a non-uniform background this can give good results. Sports mode or fast shutter speed settings are great for capturing a cat in motion.

White balance

Even with a well-chosen background, try to check if possible if the camera reproduces colors correctly. White spots should appear white. So take a couple of test shots and adjust the white balance manually. As a last resort, if the color cannot be reproduced correctly, try converting the image to b / w.


If you want to take a photo in low light, you still don't need to resort to using a flash. Better to increase the ISO. But it's not easy to avoid image noise here, so take photos with different ISO settings in order to choose the best later.


A telephoto lens will be very useful in a photo shoot with a cat on the street. With it, you will be able to maintain a sufficient distance so that the cat relaxes and the pictures come out natural. And a telephoto lens with built-in image stabilization provides blur-free shooting at slower shutter speeds.


Plot ideas and little tricks

  • Find interesting stories by capturing different moments in a cat's life : sleep, lunch, play, hunting, washing. Give the cat new things: let it indulge, and you will have an interesting photo session. Wear a nice collar or clothing if you will.
  • If you are photographing your pet, you should not only shoot in classic poses. Try to convey its special features. After all, you probably sometimes tell your friends about them, so show them! If you are filming someone else's cat, ask the owner about her character.
  • Pay attention to studying the characteristics of different breeds. For example, in the case of the British, it is worth emphasizing their massiveness and arrogant look. Cornish Rexes have a very graceful physique, so they are usually filmed in curved poses. Accentuate the beauty of the Angora cat's tail, the profile of the Siamese-Oriental cats.
  • Always be careful outside as cats tend to panic over harsh noises or dogs. It is better to shoot the animal in a fenced-in area, because you do not want to lose your pet. Do not force the cat up the tree: an uncomfortable posture and a frightened look will give out an unsuccessful setting. Let the cat get comfortable and it will take interesting poses by itself.
  • Kittens are great models. Their attention is easy to attract: they are addicted to every little thing. Give them any item and they will explore, play. As a rule, kittens are not yet afraid of other animals. But there is also a peculiarity - the baby gets tired very quickly, so you need to take pictures quickly, without delaying the setting of the frame.
  • Especially interesting, albeit more complex, will turn out to be photo shoots of cats with other animals: other cats, dogs, guinea pigs - or with children. Here, however, it will take a little more patience, because all the participants in the photo session will have to get used to each other.
  • Experiment with macro. Photos of nose, whiskers, teeth, eyes, ears, paw pads can be very interesting. Just don't get carried away: a few of these pictures will be enough.

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