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How to take heartwarming photos with your cat

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Taya Ivanova
  By Taya Ivanova
How to take heartwarming photos with your cat www.sleeklens.com

We’ve all attempted to take a sweet photo with our pet at one point or another. Such attempts are often fruitless, especially when cats are involved. Taking photos of them, let alone with them, is akin to running a marathon on an unpleasantly humid day (covered in scratches). The secret to taking interesting photos with your cat involves patience, observation, and creativity. The tips below will help you understand your cat and your camera better. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to take unique and heartwarming photos with your beloved pet.

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Prepare your camera beforehand

It’s important to understand your own camera before you attempt to capture your cat’s personality. Plan your shoot at least a day before you have it. Consider the following:

  • Time of day
    Unless you’re planning to use a studio, the time of day is of extreme importance during the shooting process. The darker it is, the higher your ISO number should be. The best lighting conditions are during golden hour (if you’re photographing outdoors) or at noon (if you’re indoors).
  • Focus
    Are you going to be close to the camera or quite a distance away from it? Knowing where you’ll stand with your cat (so that both of you fit into the frame) will prevent you from having a confusing, unsuccessful shoot. Make sure your camera’s aperture is small enough to avoid blurring important parts of your composition. (A large aperture might create photos in which only your cat’s nose is in focus, for example.)
  • Prepare a distraction
    Collect a few of your cat’s favourite toys and treats. Attaching its favourite possessions next to your camera will allow it to feel more comfortable and will encourage it to pay more attention to your camera. You could also ask someone your cat is familiar wih to help you distract it. Some cameras have a blinking timer light perfect for capturing a cat’s attention. If you feel like experimenting, see what your cat finds interesting and look in the same directions; this will add a great touch of spontaneity to your images.

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Know where you’re going to shoot

Is your cat familiar with the spot where you’re planning to take photos? Taking it to a place which it doesn’t know well might result in panic, scratches, and a failed shoot. Consider your cat’s favourite places and take photos there. Even if they might not be the most picturesque locations, you’ll get a great experience which won’t stress anyone out. With time, your cat will be comfortable enough in your arms (and in front of your camera) to explore other locations.

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Make sure your cat is comfortable and happy

If you own rambunctious kittens, play with them a few minutes before your shoot to avoid restlessness. If you have older cats, make sure they’re content and full. Photographing cats soon after they’ve woken up will prevent them from getting too excited and allow them to be calm enough for your shoot. Unlike us humans, cats look photogenic even after a long nap, so makeup or skin (fur) retouching shouldn’t be a worry at all. Furthermore, remember to have some food nearby so your cat knows that its hard work will pay off. Reward it with a small treats every few minutes to encourage its enthusiasm. In addition to treats, keep toys and a bed nearby to make your cat feel safe.

Experiment

If posed photos don’t interest you, embrace spontaneity instead. As mentioned previously, you should familiarize yourself with the settings in your camera before your shoot. Make sure the focus, aperture, and shutter speed are perfect for the lighting conditions you’ll be working with. Once you’re happy with the settings, position your camera and interact with your cat. Play with it, reward it, and accept its unpredictable nature. The results will be unique and perfect for memory-keeping.

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The more you shoot, the more your cat will enjoy the photo-taking process. When it feels more comfortable in your camera’s presence, feel free to experiment with different times of day, light patterns, etc. Here are a few ideas: a silhouette of you holding your cat at night, a double exposure, a simple casual photo in the kitchen with backlight illuminating the room.

If a shoot doesn’t go the way you expect it to, try again later. Don’t allow yourself to give up easily. Photographs of any kind, especially ones with your pet, are worth the hard work and determination because of the wonderful memories they keep for us.

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Taya Ivanova
I'm an admirer of nature, a photographer, and a curious reader. Writing about photography and helping others improve is a growing passion of mine. My constant wish is to inspire others to be creatively fearless and endlessly curious. "Always dream bigger is my advice to you, because you can have whatever your heart desires" - Ashley Graham

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