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International Cat Day: How To Photograph Cats

Cats. They sleep 15 hours a day. They are curious, intuitive, and affectionate, all with a spicy dose of narcissism. Cats are indeed the embodiment of being unbothered, and we absolutely love them for it.

Dog people probably don’t yet understand our bond with cats, but cat people out there know just how unique these animals are. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that they’re gorgeous creatures.

This International Cat Day, let’s dust off our cameras and immortalize these magnificent beings with photography. Here are some tips and tricks on how to photograph cats:

1. Getting a cat’s attention

For starters, we have to get the cat's attention. Anyone who has ever interacted with cats knows that they lose interest quickly. That's why it's so important to have a few tricks up your sleeve to get and retain their attention.

While the trick of opening up a can of tuna captures the full attention of a cat, it might rile up the cat too much, and it's harder for them to stay calm and relaxed. Instead, use props like toys, paper bags, boxes, catnip, or treats to make the job easier.

Some have even resorted to using cat audio clips to maximize the span of attention they're giving you. You can find these on YouTube.

2. Follow their schedule

Cats do what they want when they want. They’re independent, sassy little creatures that have a way of demanding respect, which means they aren’t always in the mood for a photoshoot session. And us? Well, we have to go with their pace.

Cats sleep a lot. You can’t expect a cat to be up and ready at any time and shove a camera in its face. Snap some photos of the cat snuggled up and cozy until it is well rested and starts getting active.

Anyhow, the opportunities to capture good photos of them are few and far between, so be sure to have your camera at an arm’s reach and your finger on the shutter.

3. Use continuous shooting mode or burst mode

The continuous shooting mode, also known as burst mode, is the perfect tool for taking shots of any situation where there is movement. It allows you to take multiple photographs in a short time frame, and it works perfectly on cats.

Cats are quick, and their movements are unpredictable. Within a few seconds, the feline could strike an exciting pose with their favorite toy or leap from one kitchen cabinet to another. If you’re not ready, you might’ve just missed the cool action shot.

A quick tip is to pay close attention to the cat and have your finger on the shutter. Hit the shutter whenever it looks like the cat is about to do something interesting. Sure, you’d have to vet through more unusable photos to find a great shot – but you know what they say: You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince.

It’s also good to note that most cameras and phones have this feature.

4. Focus on the eyes

The eyes are the window to the soul. Cats have some of the most unique eyes in the world, and a photo focused sharply on their eyes would make a visually stunning image—a bold statement shot.

The colors in cat eyes range from yellow with specks of amber to dichromatic eyes, a rare combination of two distinct colors in each eye. Whatever eye color your cat has, they’re a gleaming spectacle of their own when you look at the intricate undertones and patterns of the iris.

5. Take them to the great outdoors

Despite having such a wild nature, with their feisty little hunting skills, many domesticated cats spend most if not a massive chunk of their time indoors. If your cat isn’t easily startled by busy surroundings, is quick to flee, and loves the outdoors, consider taking them out for a change of scenery.

6. Work with multiple focal lengths

Yes, we know their whiskers and paws are adorable. We also fully understand the temptations to indulge in taking close-ups shots of cats to maximize focus on their cuteness. To switch things up, try working with multiple focal lengths.

Have a mixture of medium close-up shots and wide-angle shots that can show their surroundings and extreme close-up shots of their paws, interesting color markings, or scars that show their purr-sonalities.

7. Get creative with different angles and approaches

Once you've gotten the hang of observing your cat's behaviors and how they interact with the camera, it's time to play around with different angles and approaches to get compelling results. For example, get the camera down to the cat's level. Doing so can allow you to look at the world from the cat's perspective.

Cats love being on the high ground for a great overview of their surroundings. You could place the camera at a lower angle and tilt it up towards a cat for a low-angle shot. As a photographer, you can tell a story about a cat's strong personality with this change in perspective.

Happy International Cat Day!

Time spent with a cat is never wasted, so grab your cats for a quick photoshoot for keepsakes and celebrate with some fishy treats.

From photos of kittens basking in the sun to a silly Maine Coon relaxing on the bathroom floor, 123RF offers a cat photo for every occasion – whether it's for social media, your latest blogs, or your business website.

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