Empower Your Cat – Point Your Camera Upwards

This week’s quick but awesome portrait is inspired by our friend Brian and his sister Dolly’s selfie last week. In her portrait, the camera is pointing upwards at Dolly’s face and she looks spectacularly fluffy and gracious.

Dolly’s portrait reminded me of something my online photography course tutor said:

  • Looking up at a portrait subject empowers them, pointing your camera down at your subject diminishes them.
Empower Your Cat take photograhs looking upwards
Toulouse – ISO 200 200 mm f/5 1/60

Looking Upwards at Your Cat

With Dolly’s portrait in mind, I thought I would try to take an upwards portrait myself by pointing the camera towards this week’s subject – Toulouse.

I had to zoom in and make a real effort to tilt my camera upwards, not just move it a little bit. Toulouse is lit by bright ambient natural light so I did not have to worry about dark shadows and I was pleased that I managed to focus on his eye and capture a lot of detail.

The photograph was processed as a RAW image in Affinity Photo. This allowed me to make some adjustments to his fur, after that a little lightening and his portrait was ready for the world to see.

Looking Up for a Cat Closeup

A wanted to show a second, slightly more dramatic shot of a cat face, to show you what you can do.

This is Tiny from the local cat cafe. Because of the angle of the shot who looks more like a giant than a petite tabby cat, but her eyes are in focus and with some gentle cropping at either side, her pretty face fills the frame and her eyes are sharp.

Tabby Cat looking upwards

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17 thoughts on “Empower Your Cat – Point Your Camera Upwards”

  1. Ah, yeah, doesn’t that make awesome shots? I discovered photographing from below when my dog couldn’t walk, and I would lay around with her in the grass. As I laid there watching her, I thought that could make some great photos. And it does.

  2. Your posts always encourage me to experiment and try different things with our pets. I bet taking a photo this way would really make Miss Pippen look like royalty with all of her fluff! I mean, she IS the queen of our house… Thanks for sharing and inspiring me once again.

  3. I love this photo! I never thought about empowering vs diminishing portraits, that is an interesting perspective & I do see it here. Toulouse looks so majestic in this photo!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  4. Nice empowering photo of Toulouse! These techniques are also using in filmmaking. Have you ever noticed shorter actors being filmed from below to make them look taller or equal height to a taller costar? These are clever tricks in photography and film. It’s nice to see how you executed these principles in your cat photos. Well done!

  5. Lovely photo! I like to take photos of my dogs at this angle too. I’m sure my neighbors think I’m crazy when they see me outside on the lawn, laying in the grass so I can get the perfect shot of my pups.


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