how to photograph cats

Cat Photography: Pet Photography Tips and Camera Settings for Better Cat Portraits

‘Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened’ ~ Anatole France

They say, the experience of loving and caring for an animal awakens a deep and essential part of our being, enriching our lives in ways that are difficult to describe. I didn’t realise this until I met my friend’s pet, the cute kitten ‘Cheeku’!

Pets are great companions with whom we can converse and share our feelings – they love us unconditionally, don’t judge us, teach us life skills like empathy & responsibility, engage us in their playful activities, forming a special bond that lasts forever.

Let’s understand the pet photography tips & tricks and camera settings that’ll help you capture great photos of your cat!

Give Your Pet Space and Time

While cats appreciate attention, they also value their personal space, showcasing a charming mix of independence and warmth. It’s a good idea to feed the cat before the photoshoot so that they feel energetic. Let the owner of the pet be present during the photoshoot which’ll boost the pet’s mood. Befriend them so that they feel comfortable being photographed.

Use Props and Toys

Engage the cat with toys and props. This way, they won’t be aware that they’re being photographed and will help you capture their mood, personality and interests.

cat photography

Camera Settings – Aperture: F5, Shutter Speed: 1/100s, ISO 6400, Focal length: 116mm

Go for Natural Light and Focus on the Eyes to Take Good Close-ups

While photographing indoors at day time, keep your windows open to allow natural light in which’ll help in capturing the cat’s fur and colors. Get down to the cat’s eye level for more intimate and engaging photos. Ensure sharp focus on the cat’s eyes for a captivating and expressive photograph. And use zoom lens/telephoto lens as it’ll allow you to take great close-ups from far, without disturbing the cat. 

how to photograph cats

Camera Settings – Aperture: F5, Shutter Speed: 1/80s, ISO 6400, Focal length: 135mm

Be Patient and Capture Playful Shots

Let someone play with the cat as it’ll help you capture their playful behavior and add character to your photos. Be patient to photograph moments that’ll allow the cat’s personality to shine. And use fast shutter speed to freeze the action of the cat.

cat photography tips

Camera Settings – Aperture: F4, Shutter Speed: 1/100s, ISO 6400, Focal length: 55mm

Use Simple Backgrounds and Composition Techniques

Go for a simple background to keep the focus on the cat and minimize distractions. Use composition techniques to capture better cat photos. In this photo, I’ve used Centred Composition to capture the cat’s reflection on the floor.

pet photography

Camera Settings – Aperture: F4.5, Shutter Speed: 1/60s, ISO 6400, Focal length: 74mm

Capture Candid Moments

Try and document candid moments when the cat is at ease for genuine and heartwarming shots.

cat portrait

Camera Settings – Aperture: F4.5, Shutter Speed: 1/60s, ISO 6400, Focal length: 84mm

Once you’re done with the photoshoot of the cat, you can do post-processing using Lightroom to enhance the photos with subtle edits for a polished and professional look.

When you do photography: Remember the 5E’s – Explore, Experiment, Experience, Enjoy & Express to develop your own style as a photographer.

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Did this blog help you with any ideas to improve your pet photography? For more useful photography tips, examples, ideas & inspiration, please subscribe below to receive notifications of new blog posts by email.