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.
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.
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!
Marjorie is a motorbike riding blogger and award winning cat photographer who believes that everyone can create impressive cat photographs and fun movies with the camera they carry.
She is a Professional Member of the Cat Writers Association, Kuykendall Image Award winner and published photographer at the Guardian newspaper.