Thrilling 2023 Cat Writers Certificates!

Blue background with line drawings of two people holding cameras to their eyes

I want to update everyone on our successful submissions to the prestigious Cat Writers’ Association (CWA) awards and to mention some tremendous friends who also achieved success.

The Certificates took barely a week to reach us in New Zealand and here is the blog’s Certificate. They are beautifully printed on top quality heavy paper with a dazzling golden paw seal!

Receiving a Certificate is a very special moment and puts you in the running for a Muse® Medallion.

Dash Kitten Images

I am delighted to let you know that one of my images made the final cut in the ‘Single Image‘ category. You can see my photograph of Jack (below). I was also awarded a Certificate in the ‘Series‘ category for my set of photos about Miranda’s journey back to health after her arrow attack.

  • Miranda’s Certificate is special – Muse or not, I am proud the judges appreciated her journey.

Competition was fierce this year with 31 entries in the Single Image category and only 9 Certificates awarded. But, tough judging aside, I am thrilled to see so many people enter their images. This means cat photography is becoming a CWA category for bloggers to genuinely consider submitting their work to.

  • You don’t need to submit the perfect photo, you submit a photo that means something important to you. Yes, being sharp counts for something but personality, humour and a fun shot count for a lot too.
black and white portrait of a cat. Closeup.
A Senior Reflects

Dash Kitten Blog

The Blog got a Certificate of Excellence which is lovely, although I feel we can do so much more to help people learn about cat photography. The Let’s Talk About section is coming along….

Miranda Victrix Cat recovering from arrow attack sits on a wooden railing
Miranda Victrix (one of the series)

Praise For Blogging Colleagues

The quality of blog posts by CWA members continues to climb and some categories dazzle with their range of posts. Health, Behaviour and Welfare posts are an essential and critical tool in keeping the public up to date on cat issues; and the creative sumissions like stories, art and poems are thrilling to see.

I want to take a moment to spotlight some valued friends who you will know and applaud with me.

  • The Kitties Blue do brilliantly with their blog (Did you see Sawyer turned 7 this past week?) Periwinkle and Stinky also caught the judges’ attention. Those two are pure magic and their adventures are always fun to follow.
  • Melissa and Mudpie Melissa submitted a fantastic image of Mudpie. It is just SO gorgeous and a worthy Certificate honoree.
  • Sierra Koester mum to Tylan and Giovanni is the Editor of Purrseverance where Harvey’s story appears. She submitted some lovely cat articles.
  • Beverley Garland of I Love to Draw Cats is an artist whose skills I love. Beverley does breathtaking portraits and is scheduled to do one of our cats. She actually did a New Zealand cat before – check out the video! She is amazing!

Mono Awards Cat Photo Submission

Brown banner with faint image of a cat

Today’s selfie is of Miranda our arrow attack survivor. I am really pleased with it.

I am excited to be submitting Miranda’s image to the Mono Photography Awards for 2024! As an amateur, my submission ($17) costs much less than professional photographers. Professionals must gain half their annual income to be considered the level above ‘amateur’ and the competition is fierce.

I try to submit an image each year to the Monos when the ‘early bird pricing’ in active (ends July 7th) but as the winning images are not announced until January 2025 I won’t be holding my breath!

I received a Mono Awards Commended Certificate in 2020 for my portrait of Chenzou which was a big thrill. If I can do it, maybe you can take a look at your images and see if one of them is submission worthy. Seriously, this isn’t about perfection, it is about a special one-off image that might capture the judges attention.

“We are open to all points of view, all levels of expertise, and all ideas of black and white photography.

Mono Awards

Take a look at the Awards statement. It mentions all levels of expertise, that means if your cat photo is a little bit special (in black and white) you can enter. You do not need to be an expert. If you look at the ‘Professional’ category you will see how astonishing high level photographers can be.

A Cute Silver Tabby Portrait

Text and outline of a camera

Today’s showcase is a lovely cute silver tabby from Neko Ngeru Cat Cafe in Lower Hutt.

The cafe is thriving and is becoming a positive and fun meeting place with regular adoptions of their sweet and fun rescues. The cafe has proved so successful that they now have two evening openings so working folks can enjoy some feline downtime without waiting for the weekend.

silver tabby cat

This is Alfie. He has a specific need.

Don’t worry, it’s NOT medical – he simply needs a playmate for company. A single cat household would not be beneficial to him. He is a bit tentative but the cafe knows that trust and patience will make his personality shine as he is comfortable around people at the cafe.

silver tabby cat

“I have been in the café for a while. I’m taking my time to find a new home because I have a condition. I need a play mate in the same house. I still do not trust humans 100%.

Neko Ngeru FB
silver tabby cat

iPhone Portrait Mode with Black Cat

Text and outline of a smartphone.

Sometimes I just have time to grab my iPhone as my camera is too far away for me to plan and grab a shot, so, when I discovered ‘portrait’ mode for cat photography I knew I had found something you really need to try.

This portrait of Taz is a real success. You will have no trouble taking a shot like this. The ambient light is bright and it lights up his fur’s highlights (important with a black cat).

I did not make any adjustments to my smartphone before I took this photo. But, if it had been sunnier or a bit too later in the day, I might have considered changing the exposure a little bit.

  • Always remember – light is the cat photographer’s best friend
black cat sat on a rug draped on a bannister

Smartphones have a better ability to cope with lower light than you think. You can try a cat photo when the light is not perfect because you have nothing to lose and may end up with a cool photo like Taz. Not sure of the light? Still try the shot.

Smartphone Exposure

Your smartphone will have an option to change it’s exposure. You can usually navigate to the exposure settings from your camera screen but, if you are not sure, check the company’s website. This will have all the basic information you need. You can also use an app like Snapseed to add a gentle touch of extra light.

Most iPhone cameras have a series of options specifically meant to change your cat portrait in different ways. Some are subtle, others add more drama. I admit that I have never used High Key Light Mono sucessfully, but if you have let me know.

iPhone Portrait Options

  1. Natural Light Nos. 1 – 3 are ways to make slight/subtle adjustments.
  2. Studio Light
  3. Contour Light
  4. Stage Light – isolates your subject with a dark background
  5. Stage Light Mono – same but black and white
  6. High Key Light Mono – increases overexposure

‘Not A Cat’ use of Portrait Mode

The ‘Stage Light’ option under iPhone Portrait mode darkens the area around your subject dramatically. It works like a spotlight, lighting a performer and surrounding them with darkness on a theatre stage.

For a change, I wanted to show you the option used on something other than a cat as I was really pleased with the results I got here.

This lamp is similar to the salt lamps you can find, although the ‘stones’ here are rough glass and there is a bright LED bulb inside which radiates no heat at all (the lamp is really heavy even though it is quite small).

Glowing lamp with white and wlue stones resting in a doily surrounded by darkness

The lamp seemed a fantastic subject to try Portrait mode ‘Stage Light’ on. What do you think?

Remember that your smartphone is getting better all the time. So, much as you might love your DSLR/mirrorless camera or compact camera, don’t be afraid to explore with your smartphone too!

A Silver Tabby Climbs Upwards

Camera outline on a brown background

Today’s selection of selfies comes from a recent visit to Neko Ngeru Cat Cafe, in Lower Hutt, New Zealand. They are not perfect but they capture an event that made lots of people laugh.

Meet Alfie the handsome silver tabby currently up for adoption at Neko Ngeru. There have been expressions of interest so Alfie’s good looks have caught the attention of a few potential adopters. With the arrival of new cats and the risk Alfie might leave soon I grabbed a chance to take some fun photos (including a sweet portrait).

Silver Tabby climbing upwards

Alfie, as you can see here is quite fearless. He sprang up the super tall scratch post with energy and determination and was nearly at the top when I grabbed my camera. You can just see a corner of the ceiling top right of this photograph.

Silver Tabby climbing upwards

Alfie then tried to pivot and leap into the cat box you can see on the right of the photo. He got his head in, and then……

After a moment……

Silver Tabby climbing upwards

He got a bit stuck and cafe owner Richelle, ever vigilant for cat safety, loaned him a pair of helping hands to get him across and into the box!

If you are looking at Alfie’s rear paws, yes he is just out of kittenhood and, looking at his substantial paws, he will grow up to be a fine large cat one day.

Silver Tabby climbing upwards

For now, here is the sweet silver tabby given the monochrome treatment. Isn’t he just an absolute sweetheart?

Alfie the silver tabby

BTW. In case you are wondering who ‘Roz’ on the box is, she is a delightful tuxedo youngster who I might feature next time.

Old Cat Photo Discovery

Faint Cat on a coloured background

I found an old flash drive with lots of images and information on it. I hope to add to this post over coming months as I unearth some of the fun ones. Today I’d love to share an image of Harvey from 2015.

Regular readers will know how much Harvey means to the family and to me. He was (and remains) a regular attendee at Twitter’s #Nipclub as HarveyButtonNZ. You can see in this photograph he still has his ear tips. Isn’t he the most handsome of cats?

Let’s Talk About Under Exposure

Blue banner of photography gifts for cat lovers

An underexposed photo can be a real problem for beginners, whether you use a DSLR/Mirrorless camera or a smartphone. But don’t worry there are some easy ways to fight back and make sure you don’t let the darkness steal your photos.

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Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Not sure what ‘underexposure’ is? Underexposure refers to when an image is too dark, according to the technical rules of what is considered to be correct exposure, ie, darker than what you remember the original scene to be.


There are two ways to fight back against underexposure in your cat photos and make sure you capture a good shot. Check out my underexposed photo fixes!

First, if you can learn just a bit about your camera settings on your DSLR/Mirrorless camera or smartphone you can dramatically reduce the number of underexposed images you take.

Second. For images already on your smartphone, or computer editing can make an instant and dramatic difference. Both work and both are valid means of improving the outcome of an underexposed photo.

Underexposed Sample

Smartphone Exposure Adjustments

Open your underexposed cat photograph in your favourite smartphone app.

You may have a regulat iPhone or Android app you use but if you need a few ideas try Pixlr or the impressively featured Android app (only $3.99) Camera Zoom FX Premium or you could try my favourite app, Snapseed. iPhones and Android ‘phones all have basic photo editing functions for exposure, cropping and filters.

Look for the Exposure or Brightness tools in your smartphone’s menu. The app will lighten your whole image which may be exactly what you need.

Smartphone Extra Tips

If you still need to make more detailed photo adjustments some editing apps have separate sliders for Highlights, Shadows, and Black tones, see if you have these.

  • Highlights: This brightens the brightest parts of your photo. Great for lightening a gloomy sky or bringing out details in sunlit fur.
  • Shadows: This brightens the darker areas and doesn’t affect your highlights. It is perfect for revealing details in dark corners or under a tree.
  • Blacks: This adjusts the darkest tones in your image. Use it carefully to avoid losing detail in shadows, but it can be helpful for adding a bit of depth.

Then save your image as a separate copy. If you do this you can try different adjustments to see which treatment works best for your photo.

Basic Editing Tools (iPhone)

BONUS TIP: There’s a fine line between brightening and blowing out your photo which loses important details. Blowing out means white areas are very bright and you lose all your details.

Explore DSLR Camera Settings

To avoid future dark captures you can learn how your camera reacts to different types of light so you can change the settings ahead of your photo shoot. If time is limited, you can also use Automatic or a mode like Aperture Priority (Av/A) or Shutter Priority (S/Tv) where the camera helps you out.

Aperture Priority is my go-to mode for cat photos and with this I avoid a lot of dark disappointing images.

Using the camera’s modes like Av/A and S/Tv is a great way to learn about exposure for beginners. Try using a mode then check and see which settings the camera thought were best. If the image was a success make a note the settings then use these yourself next time. (Av – Canon A – Nikon)

Super quick reminder. The larger your camera’s aperture, for example f1.8 – the more light you are letting in. The smaller the aperture such as f22, the less light reaches into your camera. I know f-stops are confusing. I coped by remembering f1.8 is huge and F22 is really small without trying to understanding the science behind it.

Use Your DSLR/Mirrorless Menu or Mode Dial

Computer Editing Ideas

If you have computer software like Paintshop Pro, GIMP, Affinity Photo, or Photoshop Elements you can download your images and adjust them with a larger range of tools and even a gentle touch of AI.

  • If you don’t have a good brand of software, Fotor is a free online editor with the chance to upgrade to an impressive range of tools (you join and get free credits). It worked well with my image of Toulouse as you can see here.

BONUS TIP: If your photo is still a bit dark after adjusting exposure, try increasing the “Contrast” slider. This will make the lights lighter and the darks darker.

Exposure Tips Summary

Smartphones really rock the low light captures much more than they used to so try for any shot. You might be really happy with the results.

Don’t overdo your editing. Remember that if you are not totally happy with a cat photo, you may only need to make a small exposure adjustment and you will transform your image not a lot of fussy work.

For beginners using DSLR/Mirrorless cameras; making friends with Av/A and S/Tv modes and two basic f-stops to build your skills. I love Aperture Priority when I feel anxious about settings, it works so often.

We are not experts but learning all the time so have fun exploring and you will take away the dark in no time.

Did you know ISO is another way to help your photo look a bit brighter? Discover ISO basics

Teddy the Tuxedo Cat: A Photo Journey

Pale blue banner with pale circuitry graphic

I have written in a couple of times about Teddy and his journey to us, and I thought I would do a series of portraits, similar to the ones that won me a Muse® Medallion for Sam the foster cat. Teddy, our cat with a tuxedo, is a photogenic cat and can look cute or serious.

The image collection is more variable in quality as, at the time I began to take photos, half my mind was worried about his health and wellbeing, and the other half worried about carrying a camera and making him nervous. I have taken some lovely portraits this year and I know you will enjoy seeing the photograps and the quick slideshow.

  • Tuxedo on the ground rolling in the sunshine
  • Tuxedo cat watching birds, while he is sat on a wall
  • Tuxedo sat in the sunshine
  • Portrait of a tuxedo cat sat by a window looking to our left.
    Cute Teddy Pose
  • Tuxedo cat watches an empty path.
  • Tuxedo on the ground rolling in the sunshine

The first photograph was a rather unfocused smartphone shot but as I tell everyone taking photographs of your cat; a blurry shot that captures a moment is as important as the pinsharp shot you spend hours working towards. The family were just gaining his confidence when I took the first shot and in this picture you can see how thin Teddy is. There is a lot of light between his body and the wall he is stood on.

Teddy began by eating about four sachets of Whiskas a day, he likes Fancy Feast and raw now! He would not come any closer than this spot which is two metres (almost six feet) off the ground and for so long I despaired of grabbing him and bringing him inside.

Portrait of a thin tuxedo cat stood on a wall looking down.
Smartphone Snapshot

After about four months as summer started to cool and the rains set in, we became concerned about Teddy’s future. He had begun to move further down the sloping wall so we waited until he reached a point where I picked him off th wall and literally walked into the house and into our spare bedroom.

Teddy stayed in this safe haven for the next two months and, no he did not want to leave! No bolting out when the door opened, no frantic howling to be let out. He scratched at the carpet near the door but we think this was because he was on his own and wanted to reach us.

Teddy was approximately four years old and had not been neutered. He is in good health and now has his first inoculations (with the booster when he goes in for his snip surgery in two weeks time). He is otherwise in good health and will also be chipped when he is under anaesthetic.

Dash Kitten

During thus time, mid September, I was able to capture this lovely portrait with it’s shallow depth of field, using portrait mode on my smartphone. Your own phone is a great place to start with portraits. No extra expense but if you love the results you will have the chance to create canvas prints or cards because the quality of usually good enough.

Portrait of a tuxedo cat napping in a window bed
Smartphone Portrait mode

The next portrait shows a more confident Teddy and this one was taken with my DSLR camera. Again not perfect but a valuable record of his growing confidence and his willingness to fit in. He was eventually let out of the bedroom during the daytime (supervised) so he could find his place within the Dash Kitten family.

Was Teddy A Lost Cat?

Needless to say we had circulated images of Teddy extensively on social media to make sure he was not a lost pet. Facebook has local lost and found pets groups for most areas of New Zealand.

However, we thought that for him to reach the age of four and not be neutered he must have been abandoned. As you know an unneutered tom can create all kinds of trouble and smells. We had expected the worst before his surgery but Teddy did not spray once when he was inside he has never sprayed.

Portrait of a tuxedo cat sat in a window
Window Portrait of Teddy – (DSLR) ISO 3200 f 4.5 1/400

As time has gone on, Teddy had gained confidence, and found his ‘level’ within the family heirarchy. His favourite toy is Dash’s old circular ball toy similar to the Play and Scratch from Catit. Dash loved it because the ball never rolled out of his reach, he was partially sighted, and it fascinates Teddy.

Tuxedo cat watches an empty path.
Teddy Watching – DSLR ISO 200 f6.3 1/800

After many months, Teddy was able to go outside. This time, however, you can just see the blue cat collar he is wearing and he is newly microchipped. [PLEASE chip your cat or dog!) Teddy looks quietly confident outside and he takes great pleasure from following us round the garde. When we come back inside, he does too. He rarely stays outside long and never after dark, he loves our company.

Portrait of a tuxedo cat sat in dappled shade under a tree
Teddy with Flowers – ISO 200 mm f5.6 1/320
Tuxedo cat basking in the sunshine rolling over
Teddy being Silly – ISO 200 135 mm f6.3 1/800

A Happy Tuxedo Home At Last

Fast forward-ish at Teddy’s ambling pace and we find him in a place he made his own, a large plant pot! This is one of my favourite phographs of a cat ever. Home, in a place he loves.

This is a New Zealand native tree called a Karamu. It is a small tree of the Coprosma family. The tree grows well in our garden and I hope to plant this one outside next spring. This photo appeared earlier on the blog.

Cat laid in a plant pot looking to the left
Posing in ‘My’ Plant Pot – ISO 400 55mm f6.3 1/320

Do you agree with me that this is one happy tuxedo cat who has found a safe haven and does not mind being a cat model in the slightest? A rather special one with a fondness for plant pots.

Other Photo Posts You Might Enjoy:

Arrow No Match for Tough Kitty Miranda

faint tuxedo cat on blue background

I have assembled a series of images that show the journey of Miranda, our tuxedo cat. She went from near fatal arrow injury to a position of growing strength and confidence after her arrow attack on 21st September 2023. I call her Mirna Victix (a female victor) The vet called her tough, and we feel we have to agree. Our resilient cat is a lucky survivor of an evil deed.

I have not shown the image of Miranda with the arrow from the crossbow in place as this would distress everyone far too much. The aim of this post (and little photo/video snippet) is to record her journey towards recovery and health. The series is a combination of smartphone and DSLR images because sometimes one was what I was holding at the time! It tells a story though and this is what matters.

The Dramatic Start

  • There are no images I can display of the headlong panicked rush trip to the After Hours surgery.

The first image shows Miranda wrapped in blankets on her way to our local vet surgery from the After Hours Emergency Vet Surgery.

The emergency service is based at Ngauranga Gorge on the road out of Wellington. She is heavily sedated and, thankfully the arrow wounds have been stitched up and she has been gently cleaned.

Back of a cat showing healing injury cut.

Miranda was quiet all the way to our local vet surgery where she was transferred to the kitten incubator to raise her temperature and see if she would be well enough to be taken home. Our local vet gave Miranda a thorough examination and read the extensive notes from Dr. Sally at the emergency vets.

closeup of a cat face looking at the camera

Recovery and Home

Miranda was pronounced recovered enough to be brought home at the end of a day at our local vets and she was fitted with a locally made protective collar to prevent her nibbling at her stitches. Below you can see the shaved area where her hair was removed. I know she was grumpty but, for us as panicked pet parents, seeing her looking so cute lifted our spirits a little.

Cat wearing a buster collar to prevent scratching of an injury on her shoulder

After a week of recovery with her collar on, Miranda was allowed to have it removed and she celebrated with some small pieces of smoked New Zealand salmon. We were able to send this cat photo to the emergency vets who were pleased with her progress. You can see the shaved patches from her surgery on her front paws. They look so pale and dramatic.

tuxedo cat licking her lips

As Miranda gained her strength she was able to climb on to the sofa and permitted us to give her a snuggle. The image below is one of those terrible photos I always tell you to keep, no matter how blurry it is. It is a precious memory of Miranda on the road to recovery. Her eyes still look slightly spaced out as she had a patch of Fentanyl attached to her tail as a slow release painkiller.

Getting Better!

Miranda slowly gained strength. She has been allowed to walk around the house to gain mobility and, on this day jumped up on to my chair, then my sewing table to help me finish a block of the month quilt from Quilters Lane (an online quilting store here in New Zealand). If you look beside Miranda you can see the swatches of quilt fabric on a printed sheet.

Cat looking t the camera beside a pile of books

This fun photographs show our little survivor is gaining more strength and confidence by the day. She is at the top of our favourite cat tree the Monkee Tree, which is made here in New Zealand. The platforms are quite wide so she is able to sit comfortably and look down at me!

Tuxedo cat at the top of a cat tree looking down at the photographer

Miranda Today

Our girl is recovering. She is a bit weak in one leg but confident enough to climb the low trees in the garden and enjoy a walk through the grass. Here you can still see the fur that is growing back on her front right leg and the shaved area on her back is looking slightly blacker! The dreadful wounds she suffered have healed and almost disappeared into her fur!

I hope you enjoy these images of Miranda enjoying Spring.

cat walks towards the camera through green grass

Fun and Easy Colour-Popping for Cat Photos

Outline of a computer screen on a plain background

Cat lovers with a passion for taking their own cat photos understand the joy of capturing their friends’ distinct personalities. However, sometimes the resulting images may not quite match our expectations. If you are looking for a fun and creative challenge, allow me to introduce a captivating project that will not only enhance your photo editing skills but also impress your friends.

  • Let me show you how to colour pop your cat!
  • It’s a splash of eye catching colour and cool magic anyone can try.

In this post, I’ll explore how to colour pop your cat photos like a pro. From choosing the right photo to using editing software and adjusting brightness and saturation levels, I’ll cover everything you need to know to create purrfectly vibrant cat photos.

I know they will be sure to make your friends and followers stop scrolling and double-tap on Instagram, so grab your camera, your cat buddy, and let’s get started with a quick video overview and instructions!

Before you say ‘Sure! I can do this ‘instantly’ with a smartphone app, look for where the creative and heartfelt input is from you, the cat lover? This fun technique is more than a couple of screen tippity-taps, it lets you to step back from a busy day, relax, learn something new and create your own wonderful cat art.

Why Colour Popping is Perfect for Cat Photos

Colour popping is a popular photo editing technique that involves adjusting the saturation and contrast of a photo to make the colours appear more vibrant and eye-catching. When you isolate those colours, using a monochrome layer, they pop brilliantly! Check out Toulouse here against a black and white fence.

Tabby cat looking upwards at a fence

This project is perfect for cat images because it can bring out the unique colours of your cat’s eyes, a bright cat collar or a special toy. It will also work on an image you scan into your computer, allowing you to make use of the unique vintage colours.

Examples of Colour Popped Cat Photos

Before we dive into the details of this project and how to colour pop your cat photos, let’s take a look at some examples of what a colour popped cat photo can look like.

Another example might be is a photo of a tabby cat lounging in the sun. This imag was taken in wider landscape format that suits his stretch pose. By colour popping the tints of blue, along with the orange and yellow hues in the fur, Toulouse appears to be glowing in the sunlight.

These examples show jthe difference colour popping can make in a cat photo. With this fun technique, you can bring out the unique colours and personality of your cat buddy.

Choosing the Right Software for Colour Popping

When choosing your software for colour popping, look for one that has the ability to adjust the saturation and contrast of the photo. These are the two basic tools that you will need to use to achieve the colour popping effect and you will find them iin most software. For the budget conscious, free software like the popular GIMP program has all the basic features you will need.

Start Your Colour Pop Project

Now that we’ve seen some examples of colour popped cat photos and the fun you can create, let’s get started with the editing process. I have created a numbered list so you can get an idea of the steps involved. Then I go into a bit more detail that will be all you will need, especially if you watch the video at the top of this post too.

  1. Choose your cat photo
  2. Open it in your software
  3. Adjust the Saturation and Contrast
  4. Duplicate your photo (layer 2)
  5. Turn layer 2 black and white
  6. Grab the eraser tool
  7. Chose which areas of layer 2 you want to remove.
  8. Remember you can use undo for mistakes.
  9. Save your cat photo.
Tabby Cat Stretching on the ground
Tabby Cat on a plain background

The First Step is to Choose the Right Cat Photo.

Look for a photo that has a clear subject, good lighting, and interesting colours. The better the quality of the original photo, the easier it might be to edit. The image does not have to be perfect though. I found that my slightly blurry smartphone photograph of Toulouse playing with his pencil worked well.

Open the image in the photo editing software of your choice. I am using Affinity Photo but there are lots of software options available, from free programs like GIMP and Paint.NET to more advanced programs like Paint Shop Pro and Lightroom. Use one you feel comfortable with.

Adjust the Saturation and Contrast

Once you have your photo open in your editing software, the first step is to adjust your saturation and contrast. These make your colours glow. Let me explain what saturation and contrast are, in case you are not sure.

  • Saturation refers to the intensity of the colour in the photo, while Contrast refers to the difference between the light and dark areas of the photo.

Look for a slider or control that allows you to increase or decrease your saturation level. Start by increasing the saturation slightly, and then adjust it until the colours in the photo appear more vibrant. How saturated you want them to be is your choice. I pushed the intensity of the colours to maximum for the pencil photograph of Toulouse to the pencil glows.

To adjust the contrast, look for a slider or control that allows you to increase or decrease the contrast level. Adjusting the contrast can help to bring out the details in the darker and lighter areas of the photo, making the colours appear more intense.

Duplicate Your Photo

You will now work with your duplicate image which you might call layer 2. This is the top layer, the one you will turn to black and white. The video screenshot shows this selection in action.

How you turn this layer to black and white depends on your software. In Affinity Photo you activate an ‘adjustment’ layer and here are a few of the more popular software options.

  • There are several ideas in GIMP
  • Photoshop tip Select Window > Adjustments. Click the Black & White icon in the Adjustments panel that opens. Choose Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Black & White.
  • Black and white in Paint Shop Pro.
  • If you see the word desaturation or greyscale, this is the same as turning a photo black and white. You are removing colour.

Once your image has been turned to monochrome (another word for a single colour) you can move on to the next step.

Use the Eraser Tool to Colour Pop

You will have two layers open in your photo editor for the next step. One brightly coloured image and on top of this, a black and white version. Making sure you have the black and white layer highlighted (click on the image to choose it) then select your Eraser Tool.

  • The icon looks like the small eraser (aka rubber in England) you might have used at school. It will be on the left-hand side of your editing screen.

Click on the Eraser tool to activate it

Then take a moment to check how large the tool’s stroke width is before you start work on your image. Make a practice mark then undo (Cmd Z/Ctrl Z). Your software will offer you options to adjust the width of the stroke so choose something you are happy to work with. Then select an area of your cat photo to try out a few strokes to reveal the colour underneath.

Working carefully, remove the colour from the black and white layer. In the videoyou will see that I keep it simple and remove the layer over two small areas. You choose how much of the layer you will remove. It all depends on your photo, and what you want to do with it.

Save your Colour Popped Photo

Once you are happy with the results of your project; save your image. Decide if your colour popped photo will be shared online, which needs low resolution, or printed off as a card, poster or canvas print which will need a much higher resolution.

Your software should give you the choice of different saving options. This example from Affinity Photo gives you an idea of the kind of options you will find.

Saving an image at high quality will ensure a printed copy will be more successful, and medium or low works for online sharing or posting on a blog or social media.

Creative Ways to Use Colour Popped Cat Photos

Once you have mastered this particular technique of colour popping, there are many ways you can use your new skills to create beautiful and eye-catching photos of your cats. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Create a collage of colour popped cat photos and print it on a canvas to hang on your wall.
  • Use colour popped cat photos to create a unique and eye-catching social media post.
  • Create a colour popped photo book of your cat’s adventures and share it with friends and family.
  • Use colour popped cat photos to create a personalised greeting card for a friend or family member.

The possibilities are endless, and with your new skills in colour popping, you can create beautiful and unique photos that capture the personality and essence of your feline friend.


Colour popping is a simple and effective way to make your cat photos pop with vibrant colour and stand out online. With this one simple technique, you can bring out the unique colours and personality of your feline friend in a way that is sure to capture the attention of everyone.

Need help? Check the video or email me!Maybe I ned to do a mini course for this as well as Snapseed.

You can even explore the more advanced techniques for colour popping online later but, for now, take a look at the how-to video here and then jump to to make your own cat look spectacular!

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