Are you stuck at home, or limited in what you can do? Maybe you are beginning to feel a bit quarantine crazy? I can’t get you outside but I can give you a few cat photo ideas for lockdown, and distract your mind from the world’s worries about masking-up and inoculations with some easy feline photography projects.
None of these mini projects is hard and none of them has a time limit. The intention is to keep up your creative spirits as a cat loving photographer of any standard. Maybe you will learn a new skill but its not essential. So, get your camera and try one or two fun photo projects with your cats.
I will be adding more photos as I am mid-project as I am working through two of the projects myself. I hope the samples help you get an idea of what you can achieve though.
Your Cat In A Different Light
The first of my cat photo ideas for lockdown lets you work with what you have. Light. Take a series of cat portraits over a period of time, maybe days or weeks. Try different times of the day too – evening sunshine, indoor light or even garden snow.
The kind of portrait you will get depends on your cat’s character but try to capture them doing ordinary things like walking across the floor, looking out of a window, napping in a cosy spot for a closeup. You will find yourself watching your cat in a new way and seeing how they move, sit and look at you.
TIP: Try to support your camera, especially if you use digital zoom on a compact or smartphone, as this magnifies wobble, and aim at a clear composition. This lovely photograph of Cafe Cats, Connor and Tiger Lily was cropped to focus on their sweet faces.
You might need to check the light settings your camera has, but don’t put yourself under pressure, have fun. Too dark? Raise the ISO a bit – try 400, then 800. Too light? Lower it or try exploring your exposure settings.
Experiment with settings for daylight using the AWB (White Balance) setting or button. There are simple settings for sunshine, cloudy days, fluorescent lights, nighttime or flash. This is usually an AWB button or icon – check your manual or online. If you are like me you will take a few ‘orange’ interiors before you realise White Balance can be useful!
- If looking at ‘camera settings’ makes you want to hide under the sofa find Auto and just make a start. Camera confidence is not part of anyone’s genetic make up – everyone learns step by step. What does the ad say? ‘JUST DO IT’!
One Walk/Room Quarantine Photo Challenge
I read about counting the number of steps you take between photos in a print camera magazine and it’s a great idea of the cat photo ideas for lockdown folks who want to keep busy and moving. The number of steps you take depends on where you can walk.
Shots on a Short Walk
Limited by the amount of time you want to be out? Or if you don’t want to go out at all, start small with a close to home photo challenge. In a house, try 10 steps, look around and think about your surroundings. Is there a cat in view? Able to get out for a walk? Maybe 30, 50 steps or even 100 between shots.
I am adding some prompts to start you off:
- Stand in the middle of your chosen room or location and look around you. Inside you might ask what mark has your cat made on your life? Anything from the frayed edge of a cat bed (texture) so the loving chewed cat toy (real life!) is fair game for inventive shots. Outside, you see the world we and our cats live in.
- Does your cat have a favourite indoor or garden spot? Can you see any partly hidden cat toys? Take photos of toys, your cat’s Bird TV view.
- Get down at ground level and take photos from cat height. Show how your cat sees the counter, table or sofa.
- Take close-ups of your cat if the accept you getting close. Eye, nose, markings, fur texture.
Try A Technique or Style New To You
If you are most comfortable taking colour pictures, or simple shots of your cat, use your quarantine home time to try new techniques. Remember this is all about learning new things but no judgement and no stress. Not sure you like one technique? Try another.
I have some ideas here and share some inspiring links:
- Try black and white photography. Monochrome encourages you to look in a different way and can make your cat look amazing. I did not think black and white did much until I started taking photos, then I won a major prize for a black and white photo and began to respect the style much more.
- Use a different mode if you have a DSLR – AV (Nikon A) is great for action shots and check how you might change your settings.
- Take a portrait. If it is something you have never done check out the superb photos of New Zealand photographer Jo Moore. Her showcase will inspire you with its poses, character studies and inspiring quality.
- Add a filter to an image and see it transformed into something amazing.
- Find one setting you don’t know and try it.
Edit Your Cat Photos
If you don’t want to take photos, or the time isn’t right, you can work with the images you already have. Edit photos. Explore your editing program or app. Look at any menus and filters you are unfamiliar with such as Filters, Effects, Layers. Then give yourself permission to play and do silly things.
- Discover what the clone tool or inpainting brush do in your photo program.
- Find out how to straighten photos so the horizon is level.
- Explore contrast, white balance, saturation and sharpening tools through online videos and tutorials.
- I found a free Lightroom course (if you already subscribe to Adobe)
- Affinity Photo has a free course to boost your basic skills.
- Explore online photo editors like Lunapic and see how your digital photos can be transfor
Organise Your Photos Too
If you feel in an organising mood, take time to review the photographs on your hard drive or external drive. Organise the photos and remove any photos you don’t want to keep. Feel virtuous and be able to find any photo you want – fast!
I am currently working on the steps project myself and hope to report on it in a future post. In the meantime, happy quarantine creating. Whatever your camera, you can use it to have a lot of fun!