Dog photography learners and pet people of all kinds are welcome too. After successfully exploring cat and pet close-ups in April, I thought composition would be a good creative step to improve cat pictures.
Join me and check out five of the best composition tips for newbie photographers. These DSLR tips and tricks will inspire you to compose better, more amazing images.
Welcome to a new month and a new challenge for aspiring photographers of all kinds and a GIVEAWAY to celebrate Pet Parade 300!
Composing Cat Photographs
I am including a formal definition of composition from one of the many photography sites online. It helps you to get an idea of what the word means.
Your composition is mostly visual, but the intention behind your picture is an important part of the equation too. Make a conscious effort to frame your photograph with that intention or goal in mind.
Photo composing definition: Composing an image means arranging elements within it in a way that suits the core idea or goal of your work best. Arranging elements can be done by actually moving the objects or subjects. A good example for this case is portrait or still life.Photography Life
I am not including camera settings for cat photography. There is a lot to learn to build your photographic skills and becoming familiar with each element on its own allows you to focus on building that skill with confidence. Take a breath and let your ‘settings’ mentality go for a while.
Types of photographic composition
To research this post I started a list of composition types but the list grew and grew until I finally stopped at 30 different ideas. Whether you want to take product pictures for a blog or funny kitten pictures for social media, mastering 30 ways to compose your photograph is not the way to go.
Keep it simple.
You want to enjoy taking pictures even as you keep learning – right?
Six fun ways to compose cat pictures
For beginners looking for cat or kitten photography tips, some of the terms here might be unfamiliar, but they tell you what happens in photography quickly and clearly.
Check out our five great composition tips for cat photographers here:
- Leading lines and diagonals
- Frame within a frame
- Colour, pattern or texture combinations
I have included one or two images by professional cat photographers alongside my own pictures as, sometimes, they get the message across successfully, and they are so inspiring.
Leading Lines and Diagonals
A leading line or a diagonal allows the viewer an easy way to look into your picture and lets you guide their eye towards something specific. You can ask a
The branch in this picture is a strong diagonal and you wonder, is the kitten climbing up? Is the kitten on an adventure? Either way, you have your viewer’s attention and you have them wondering. Something like this would make a cute kittens wallpaper for your computer.
This photograph shows Dash Kitten dad Paul walking across a bridge in one of our local parks. The bridge leading lines
Frame within a Frame with Cat
The frame within a frame or ‘sub-framing’ technique allows you to focus on something very specific. It might be a cat framed in a window or your frame could be foliage you see your subject through.
I am including a video here that is really interesting. Although it focuses on humans, it shows how easy it is to recreate this type of shot. It’s a technique that does not require a lot of expensive lighting or equipment, I like that.
Framing can be lots of different things. I am including this fun ‘framed’ photo which is definitely not pet related.
Doesn’t this Halfpoint shot inspire you to try something fun with a pet product? Framing can be something moveable, and small and give your picture impact, or raise a smile.
Using a frame within a frame is a great way to lead your viewers’ eyes into a photo. This can add depth and context, as well as drawing their attention to a defined point.Expert Photography
You will have seen pictures of buildings reflected in rivers and lakes from tourism brochures, but here’s a different view of reflections. The use of reflections in your portraits and product shots can lead to some lovely effects.
Can you imagine taking a picture a cat’s reflected face looking out into a dusky evening or maybe or a product like our favourite Probonix posed in a mirror accompanied with a few graceful
Here’s something a little unusual in the reflection genre.
The cat is the centre of this portrait and is in sharp focus. This is the kind of quality we all aim to master, although this is a professionally staged photo shoot, there is a lot here to inspire.
The soft glow from a string of gentle lights (battery powered) looks lovely but you will notice that the lights don’t draw our attention away from the cat. They enhance the striking eyes. The background is pale and out of focus which allows the cat to stand out.
- Is reflection is worth exploring as a future challenge?
Colour, pattern or texture combinations
Textures are details that visually describe how something physically feels. Textures can be smooth, rough, and anything else your hand feels when it touches a surface.Expert Photography
I could not resist adding this image by
You can make your own textures too. Either by painting a textured background for a product or collecting natural things like shells and stones, or wood. Texture can also be the magnificent markings and fur of a cat. The picture of Dash as a kitten at the top of this post is another gentle exploration of texture.
This close-up of Betty is a favourite ‘texture’ photograph of mine. I was able to get quite close and she remained calm and comfortable. The clear shiny eye contrasts beautifully with her tabby fur.
Have you taken any that you love, or even ones that surprised you by coming it better than you expected?
Simplicity and the Cat Picture
Finally, simplicity is another great composition skill to learn.
If you know what your subject is, do your best to ensure you can take photographs without clutter in the background. Keep the focus is 100% on your subject.
Set yourself a mini challenge for this (or any) composition tip. My own aim here was to capture my cat’s character and try to compose the picture simply. The aim was an interestingly composed shot that filled the frame and tried to keep each portrait simpl
How much you know about your subject helps in deciding how you will approach your photo session. Work out when your pet is at its least active if your goal is a posed portrait; walks, garden or catio time will get you more active shots.
I challenged myself NOT TO CROP the following pictures after I took them.
The Intense Gaze of a Cat
This picture of Dot Kitten is thoughtful and contemplative. She is looking away from the light and there is so much interesting texture in her fur as it transitions from light to dark. There is a strong diagonal line made by Dot’s highlighted fur.
Dot has a habit of gazing with great intensity at things sometimes, and I tried to capture that attitude here.
Sienna Cat in Profile
Sienna, our tortoiseshell is a big fan of Mudpie at Melissa’s blog. She loves her cattitude and aspires to her collection of toys and Cat Lady Boxes.
I have tried to get in close and catch the thoughtful and caring cat who realised Dash could not see well and made sure she only played on the side of his good eye side so he could follow a ping pong ball as they played.
Chenzou No Ears
This goes against the rules I wrote about here, but I moved in as close as I could (with help from my Canon kit lens zoom) to capture Chenzou’s intense gaze and his whiskers. My whiskers are not as sharp as I expected but my focus was on his eyes so I am not too idappointed.
You can sense is that there is mischief afoot and ‘Uncle Chenzou’ will be happy to play with the younger rescue
Seeing Eye to Eye with Sage
You may have seen this picture in our recent post. I love it so much I am showing it as part of the composition series. It is not ‘just a close-up’ for me, it really captures the young and curious gaze of Sage the rescue cat.
I focused on her eyes consciously so the whiskers are not in focus but this is such a lovely picture I don’t mind. It also taught me that when you feel discouraged by a poor image always look back to a picture that was a win for you.
Thank you April Cat Photographers
Your favourite composition technique
Do you have a favourite composition technique that really works for you? In our composition tips for beginner cat photographers, I explored the first steps with you, but did you get
Let me know in the comments. I would love to share photographs (with credits/links) from fellow picture takers and bloggers.
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Picture Taker and Movie Maker
Marjorie creates smartphone movies and writes about her DSLR learning journey. Whether you want to learn for profit or the pleasure of showing off, she can help