Cats are adorable, have all kinds of personalities, and are always picture perfect. It’s not surprising that cat photography is so popular!
If you want to get better at photographing cats, there are two things you must be aware of: what to do and what to avoid. In this article, I’ll focus on the latter. Knowing common mistakes will save you a lot of time and help you quickly find your creative strengths.
While taking photos from above can result in beautiful pictures, it shouldn’t be the only perspective you use. For example, instead of taking photos from above, get down on your cat’s level to focus on its eyes, expressions, and other details. These are things you would miss if you were simply taking photos while standing above your cat.
In addition to playing with different angles, shoot through objects. If your cat is standing behind a stool, cover part of your lens with the stool and shoot through the gaps. This will create an interesting foreground, frame your picture, and emphasise your cat’s features.
Nighttime or indoor photography can seem like an intimidating genre because of camera noise and the lack of natural light. Fortunately, you don’t need to worry about these things too much – your camera probably has enough tools to help you take beautiful nighttime portraits of your cat. Manual focus, ISO, and colour temperature will all help you take amazing nighttime photos.
When working in a space with a limited amount of light, use manual focus to avoid focusing on the wrong objects. Don’t be afraid of increasing your ISO number, as it will help you take sharper photos. If the lights in your location are too warm or cold, manually change your camera’s colour temperature.
Cat photography isn’t just about classic cat portraits. Observe your cat and focus on tiny details and quirks that make it special.
Experiment with different photography techniques as you do this. Try freelensing, panning, and zooming in.
Some photographers avoid auto focus because it feels “lazy,” while others avoid manual focus because it doesn’t give them sharp results. Both of these standpoints are understandable, but they can really limit you on a creative level.
If you use auto focus all the time, you won’t have full creative control over your images. You might find it hard to focus on a specific detail, especially if your composition has a lot of distracting elements. If you use manual focus all the time, you might miss out on special moments. You also won’t be able to efficiently sharpen your candid photography skills.
When it comes to cats, using both focusing techniques is important. When your cat is running around, you can use auto focus to quickly capture unexpected poses and expressions. When your cat is calmly resting, you can use manual focus to capture details that appeal to you.
If you consider yourself a creative photographer who enjoys experimenting with unusual ideas, you can freely express yourself through cat photography. You don’t have to limit yourself by strictly taking photos of your cat and not including anything else in your compositions.
If you like taking portraits, take photos of yourself holding your cat. If you want to get better at conceptual photography, make your cat portraits surreal by editing them in Photoshop. Feel free to combine as many photography genres as you want.
Cats are incredible little models that deserve to be photographed in all kinds of ways.
Now that you’re aware of the most common cat photography mistakes, you can take your cat snapshots to the next level. Even if you’re not going to show off your work on Instagram, you’ll have enough skills to take amazing photos of cats anywhere and at any time.