Home Photography Ideas: Capture Studio-Worthy Cat Portraits

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Watch the video: Home Photography Ideas – Studio-Worthy Cat Portraits

When a cute cat walks into the room, it’s almost impossible to resist grabbing your camera to start filming.

However, you will often find that other people manage to get good photos on their smartphones while you struggle to compose the right photo in the dark living room settings.

Don’t worry, though – with just a little planning and forethought, you can dramatically improve your bottom line. With a few lights and some paper, you can get soft, playful, studio-like photos anywhere, whether you’re at home or at your local animal rescue center.

Having catnip and treats on hand can help compel your furry friends to pose for you. Of course, when it comes to pets, there are no guarantees – especially with cats!

It might take a while for them to get used to the setup – once they’re happy with you and your gear, you’ll have some great shots in no time. So here’s how to start pulling good hairy shots …

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Key ingredients for kitten portraits

01 Plain backdrop
A simple photographic background helps us control the light and makes our photos look clean and thoughtful, as we are drawn to the cat and its behavior.

02 Two lights
Two lights provide good light diffusion to ensure the backdrop and cat are evenly exposed.

03 String and toys
Have toys or string handy. Cats can create very interesting shapes with their bodies by jumping and twisting to play with the toys.

04 Adorable cat
To get a good shot, you have to have a good subject! Fortunately, cats are inherently photogenic – and they also have the added benefit of being cute.

How to make a cat portrait

01 Set burst mode

Cats will be moving around all the time while you’re shooting, so use the continuous high burst mode and make sure it’s set to the maximum frame rate. This is usually set via a dial on the top of your camera body, but if you can’t find it, just consult your camera manual.

02 Go for a long time

Wide angle lenses and proximity can create pretty distorted images where the cat appears to have a large head and a small body, like a kitten. Some cats will run away if they are agitated, so you will need a longer lens. Try a telephoto lens to get away from the animal.

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03 Position your lights

To get the best light scattering, simply use two lights set on the camera to the left and right, pointing at a 45 ° angle towards the cat and the backdrop. Choose ¼ power for shorter recycle times than full power.

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04 Set your exposure

There’s no ambient light in these setups, so use your camera’s maximum flash sync speed – ours was 1/200 sec. To keep the whole cat in focus, we used f / 8 at ISO 200, to give the photo a bit of exposure boost without introducing too much noise.

05 Black cats

Black cats can be difficult to expose because, left on their own, your camera will try to give them a medium tone (which is why you should learn how to use a light meter). If in doubt, use manual mode to make quick adjustments to get the right exposure every time.

06 Get down low

Crouching is fine if you are using a longer lens, but to go further you need to get at the cat’s eye level. Getting up to speed helps viewers identify with the cat. Lots of people take photos while looking from above, so be different and go downstairs.

06 Take different poses

The sitting poses and begging will make everyone ‘awww’, while the cats preparing to pounce or jump after a string with their bare teeth and claws are impressive. Ultimately, photograph the pose the cat offers you!

Read more:

Best backgrounds for photography: foldable backgrounds for the home studio
The best flash: the best strobe units for Canon, Nikon and more cameras
The best flash diffusers, softboxes and modifiers for your speed light


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