Monday, February 22, 2016

Taking better photos of cats


It’s not easy, is it? Getting decent photos of our kitties is more difficult than getting good photos of people, at least for me. Kitties don’t always quietly pose. They turn their heads at the last minute. They decide the photo shoot is over and walk out of the room. 

But over the years, I’ve learned a few things that make it a little easier to get better photos of my cats.

Connor turning his head at the last minute.

Take a lot of pictures. 
This is one of my mantras. Take many more photos of your cat or cats than you will ever “use” for a family album, Facebook, your blog, etc. 

You are probably going to have a number of blurred photos because your kitty moved at the last minute. And if I had a penny for every time I ended up taking a photo of my cat’s back or tail, I’d be a rich woman. If you take 20 photos, you might end up with one or two really clear, engaging photos. But it’s worth it. And in our digital world, you’re not wasting film.

This was reinforced with me when I worked as a newspaper reporter. It was a small weekly paper, so I did double duty as photographer. I learned to take multiple photos even of groups of people posing for a picture because invariably someone on the front row would have his or her eyes closed in some of the pictures.

I decided to keep a photo of Chase Bird leaving the room. I took this photo is 2014. 

Have the camera at hand. 
Your kitties are doing something really cute or you want to catch that look on her face as she gazes out the window. But you have to go to the closet and haul out your camera. By then, well, kitty has gone on to other things.

I usually have my phone nearby. And I keep my camera on the dining table in the living room for easy access.

Connor deciding he didn't want a portrait taken.

Get on their level if possible. 
It’s easier on my knees if I stand and take photos looking down. But I end up with much better photos if I get down on the floor with the cats and take straight on or angled shots. It means I do a lot of crawling around, and my joints make all kinds of noises when I finally get up. But I get better pictures and enjoy spending up close and personal time with my kitties.

I took this picture of Chase Bird in 2014. I missed his face.
But I like how the texture and colors of his fur show up.

Don’t delete all the “bad” photos. 
Even if it’s not a perfect picture, it’s a picture that captures a moment in your cat’s life. I have pictures that I wouldn’t necessarily share with anyone else. But looking at them brings back memories of my kitties.

Blurry, yes. Not a great picture at all. But I took this picture about a month after we
adopted Abbey. Chase Bird still wasn't having much to do with the
new whippersnapper at that time. This picture makes me smile.

Don’t stress out.
Sometimes I don’t have my camera, or my cats won’t stay still long enough to get a clear photo. But I finally realized that even if I couldn’t get a picture of the moment, I could enjoy the moment. I could be there with my cats with no distractions. And isn’t that the most important thing, to enjoy all the moments we have with our kitties? 


  1. I could never take a clear photo of my cat. That was a total disaster as he never stood still and was like hating camera.

  2. Those are very good tips! Love the photos too :)

    Purrs xx
    Athena and Marie

  3. Those are very good tips! Love the photos too :)

    Purrs xx
    Athena and Marie

  4. Great post, Tina! I've had a lot of the same issues and for me the overshooting tip is the most effective! And yes, keep a few bad photos -- sometimes they bring back a great memory.

    Lizzie is not a good poser but Gypsy was great -- and here was the secret. He knew two words that always made him look up -- Fancy Feast! So early on, he learned what when I said that it meant food or a treat (he later learned trick or treat). And he'd look up with that great, wide-eyed, "really?! for me!" look in his eyes! Early on he was rewarded; later on that became his cue -- and a signal for dinner sometimes, too!

  5. great info...true for a lot of situations!! i can take 200 pictures of birds and get only a few good ones, you just have to keep clicking. i find the auto picture function works well, when the camera just keeps clicking (i don't really know what that's called) but it is a picture of two squares on the top of the camera!!! i use that feature a lot!!!

  6. It can be hard because they move a lot, especially with something like a cell phone camera.

  7. MOL MOL you must have been at our house. Mom takes photos all the time. I've become accustomed to the sound of the velcro as mom opens the camera case.
    Great info too
    Hugs madi

  8. Great tips! And bloopers can be used for the Lazy Pit Bull's blooper blog hop every month :)

  9. All so totally true! Our Mom believe one of a hundred *might* be good enough for her so she takes a lot of photos. And that's our clue to make that as difficult as possible! It's only fair!

  10. Good tips! The mom does most of these. She has thousands of photos of us...and probably only 1/10 are any good.

  11. Ah, yes...I have many photos that promised to be beautiful or contemplative or adorable, then wound up with nothing but a tail or a back in them!

    I work for a catalog company (in your own home state!) that sells, among other things, pet products. A couple of years ago I did a blog post on one of our best cat models, Parker. Take a look – you might find his story interesting, and I also included some of the attributes photographers look for in a potential feline model (as you can imagine, finding a good cat model is challenging, so when we get one we tend to bring him or her back again and again!).

    Parker's story:'s-story.aspx#.Vsun3SkS0w3

  12. All great tips! Animals are never easy to photograph. I try to capture images when my cats are not very active.

  13. good advice, I often prefer the unfocused photos the best and have a few framed :-). I'm convinced they wait just until the last minute to move, then they leave giggling.