Beginner Cat Photo Skills

Create A Stunning Tortoiseshell Cat Portrait

This is a portrait of Sienna the tortoiseshell cat and it is also a tribute to Binga at Sparklecat a wonderful tortie who would have been 21 this year. Let me give you some quick tips on where to focus your attention and when to shoot your own stunning tortoiseshell cat portrait.

Sienna was adopted as a four-month-old kitten and is now one of our elder ‘statescats’ in the family although you would not realise it to look at her. She is lively, fun-loving and a real daddy’s girl.

How To Get A Good Portrait

I have used two simple tricks to help you get a nice portrait.

Look at the light. To enhance the lovely colours in tortoiseshell fur aim for a softer light with plenty of brightness. This means choosing your time of day with care.

Portrait of Sienna The Tortoiseshell  Cat
Sienna – ISO 200 121 mm f5.6 1/640

My sample cat portrait of Sienna was taken on a late afternoon when the light is softer. Even though it’s winter here in New Zealand (August), the temperature is warm enough to be a British spring which means some outside posing time. The light is bright enough to bring out the different tones in Sienna’s tortoishell fur. Check your own tortie for beautiful fur colour touches.

  • When you try an outdoor or catio portrait, try photographing earlier or later in the day so you can achieve a nice gentle light. This time of day will still keep some of the brightness that brings out fur colour.

If you have to shoot around midday take extra care. You will get strong sharp shadows and unless you are aiming for this kind of extreme cat photo drama, you might want to wait if you can move your photoshoot to a shadier area. Moving to the shade will still give you plenty of light and you won’t need to increase your exposure too much, so it is worth experimenting.

Sienna The Tortie - the Look
Sienna ISO 22 f 5.6 1/125

With a smartphone, your camera will often make the small adjustments you need to get the correct exposure so never be afraid to grab your phone to take a lovely tortie photo.

A Filter For The Portrait of Sienna The Tortoiseshell

For the top of the two sample photographs here I am using a new sharpening filter this week. It is a tool that I had not had much success with before. It is called the High Pass filter.

I tried again (as I encourage you to two if things don’t work out the first time!) and it has made a real difference this time. I have written about the High Pass filter in another post to show you what I mean. Like many adjustments, it may not look like much on its own but subtle adjustments can be the most effective and do the most good. It is one of a series of sharpening measures the post covers.

Have a good and fun week and see if you can find out about High Pass filters in your own photo software!

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16 thoughts on “Create A Stunning Tortoiseshell Cat Portrait”

  1. I can’t wait to read your post about sharpening! I have a Photoshop-like app on my desktop and I can’t figure it out! Now that I have a kitten, I’m lucky to get one non-blurry photo in 100! Torties rule!

  2. Beautiful portrait of Sienna!
    The Delta variant is surging where I live, in an area with a low rate of vaccination. The hospitals are full and that’s hazardous to those who are older and have health conditions and might need the hospital for other other reasons, as well as those who need to be there due to Covid.

  3. How lovely, the most beauteous Sienna! All her furs are just glowing!

    Stupid evil covid mess is making life horrible for all of us who work in health care, the Delta variant seems to be surging around here too and it seems only a matter of time before we get another wave right in my workplace like in November of 2020…they are allowing visitors to come in at all hours and they walk all around with their families, and we are letting residents go on family outings as well…vaccinated or not, this can only make for a bad outcome down the road.

    • It is but sensible people will prevail. We are losing too many good ppeple and we need to get a grip on this stuff.

  4. We sure love you Sienna you are a beauty! Great way to show the new filter.
    What is with those stupid’s who are anti-vax.

    • It’s frustrating and sad Angel Timmy. We need to protect the vulnerable – it’s about them not us – right?

  5. Sienna is so beautiful. We love the portrait you took of her! I will look forward to reading about that sharpening filter. 🙂

    COVID is on the rise again here, too. Just terrible.

  6. Sienna is so pretty and that is a wonderful portrait! The evil Covid is getting bad here again too.

  7. That is a lovely portrait of Sienna.
    Covid is rising fast hear also, and with all restrictions lifted and only an advisory to wear masks in inside places, it can only end badly.

    • Frustrating. If everyone put others first instead of ‘me, myself and I’ the world would be a safe place. We all do our best, we fight this by staying safe, wearing masks and avoiding unsafe areas.


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