How to Set Up the Purrfect Cat Photo Shoot
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How to Set Up the Purrfect Cat Photo Shoot

Est. read time: 4 min.

Do you carry a picture of your cat in your wallet or on your cell phone? According to one survey, 37% of cat parents do. Chances are, even if you don't have a photo of your favorite feline with you at all times, there are probably one or two (at least!) on display around your home, or you may enjoy sharing snapshots of kitty's antics on social media (#caturday, anyone?).

Have you ever noticed, though, how hard it is to get that purrfect photo of your cat? For all of the adorable and funny things they do, cats are not the most cooperative photography subjects. They move or run away just as you are getting ready to take that amazing shot, or look in the other direction just when you were hoping to capture that priceless look on their face.

With a little purrsistence though, you can get great photos of your cat. You don't even need a lot of fancy equipment—today's smartphone cams are up to the task! Here are a few tips for setting up a successful cat photo shoot.

Setting the Stage

  • Keep it simple.  The best feline photographs usually don't feature props or other distracting objects in the background. You want that precious kitty of yours to be the main focus of the picture—and you want it to look natural! We all know something we set up just for them is often the thing they are LEAST interested in, so save the props for your human subjects.
  • Keep it calm.  Cats can sense stress, so if you want your kitty to relax for their cat photo shoot, choose a time when you are feeling calm. Keep your sense of humor, and get ready to have some fun with your cat and your camera!

The Technical Stuff

  • Natural light is best.  If indoors, choose a bright room, and position your cat near a window to take advantage of the lighting. Try to arrange your cat so that the sunlight falls on his face. This is especially important when photographing darker-colored felines. Unless you have professional equipment, it's usually best to avoid using a flash. Not only do many cats find the sudden, bright light irritating, you may also end up with a picture ruined by red eye, glowing green eyes, or one that washes out kitty's features.
  • Get down on your cat's level. You'll get much better pictures if you're at eye level with your cat, not looking down on him. If you're not in the mood to lie on the floor, you can always take kitty's picture while he's curled up in a chair, sitting on a windowsill, or perched on a mantle or bookcase--not that he'd ever climb the furniture!

Snapping the Picture

Olivia, by Kristen Levine Olivia by Kristen Levine

  • Consider your cat's personality.  Think of the fun or funny things that your cat does, and try to capture those. It will be much easier to photograph him doing what he does naturally, and pictures that reflect a kitty's personality are usually the ones that cat parents treasure.
  • Get kitty's attention. If you want your cat to look at the camera, get his attention with a feature or another moving object. Making an unexpected noise is another way to cat a cat's interest. Once he turns his head you may only have a couple seconds before he looks away again, so be ready to snap that picture!
  • Take lots of pictures. Don't expect to capture that purr-fect shot in only one or two tries. One of the advantages of digital photography is that you can easily keep going until you get what you want. Just keep pointing and shooting, and chances are that you'll end up with at least a couple of great photos. If your photo shoot goes on for a long time, make sure to take a few breaks to help your feline friend stay relaxed.

If you go into your cat photo shoot prepared, then you'll have a great time bonding with your cat, and you'll probably end up capturing some great memories too!

Guest post by Kristen Levine Pet Living, the place for stories, science & advice for living happier and healthier with pets.