Secrets of Cat Photography Revealed (Part the First)

Two things have inspired me to write this post. First, I promised the info to Michaele at least six months ago (whoops – sorry, Michaele!). Second, I regularly get emails and comments asking me how I manage to always get good cat photos.

Ha. I get plenty of pictures like this:

and this:

Can’t spot the cat in the above photo? That’s because the cat left the shot while I was taking it…

I have an Olympus Stylus 810, which is an 8 megapixel point and shoot camera. It has 3x optical zoom, macro and super macro modes, and lots of other spiffy features that I rarely use. For the extremely basic photo resizing and editing I do, I use FxFoto. FxFoto is free, although I do have the paid version, which offers more features and doesn’t have an annoying nag screen.

Probably the number one secret of cat photography is to take lots of pictures. Lots and lots and lots of pictures. The more pictures you take, the better the chances you’ll get a keeper.

Number two is to use a camera with sports mode. Cats are busy creatures who care nothing about you trying to take their picture – sports mode increases your chance of getting a non-blurry shot.

A lot of people probably get decent pictures like this, in which the cat part of the picture is perfectly fine, but there’s a lot of distracting non-cat stuff in the picture:

Simply cropping and resizing that picture produces this:

Much better. Here’s a similar shot, only taken much closer to the subject so cropping isn’t required:

Here’s virtually the same shot taken without a flash, which produces a slightly different effect (such as fully open kitty eyes!):

For natural light pictures, I recommend a small tripod (the one I have is about 4″ tall) and a sleepy cat who isn’t moving around too much! The picture above was taken with the camera balanced on a pillow on the ottoman.

Here’s another example of an ok shot with too much non-cat stuff in it (I cannot believe I’m showing you my messy unmade bed!).

And the same shot cropped and resized (plus the messy bed isn’t quite as noticeable):

Can you even stand the cuteness of Mayhem watching snowflakes fall?!!

Sometime in the indeterminate future I’ll show you a few more simple tricks for improving your cat photography in Secrets of Cat Photography Revealed (Part the Second).